The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue

4 Stars from me

This darkly atmospheric tale is in Temple House  boarding school for girls – run by some rather lacklustre nuns. In 1990 Louisa gains a scholarship but is deemed inferior by the richer students. Think Mallory Towers but make it more of an R rating! Ripe for the picking she soon latches onto Victoria, the only girl to truly offer her friendship, and fangirls over the male art teacher Mr Lavelle.

Questions abound when Mr Lavelle and Victoria disappear…

25 years later and we join the story as told by Louisa and a journalist – layers of history are unveiled in a bid to find the truth.

Beautifully descriptive, this story is essentially a dark mystery, a cold case in a way, but it is full of acutely observed tales of the falsehood of friendships, teenage angst and raging hormones, deceit, the dreadful ways in which some people behave towards others and an obsessive quest for the truth.

Blurb: Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

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