The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin

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The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: An atmospheric yet disappointing novel set during the Regency Period in the desolate Yorkshire moors. If you enjoy gothic, historical fiction then you may find something in this that you like, but sadly the story and the characters fell short for me with this one.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 400 Date: January 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471151606

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1814. In the middle of the Yorkshire Moors in an isolated spot lies White Windows, a house shadowed in mystery and intrigue. Living in this desolate household is Marcus Twentyman, a hard drinking and complicated man and his sister, the hardened widow Hester. Brought to White Windows is Annaleigh, a young runaway from London who has come to Yorkshire to be the new housekeeper to the Twentymans with the hope of leaving her painful past behind her. At first, Annaleigh believes she may have found sanctuary but soon realises she has become entangled in a web of conspiracy and danger, leaving her trapped and more alone than ever.

The premise of this book sounded amazing – a gothic, historical story set in the wild Yorkshire moors. The whole narrative has Bronte sisters written all over it, and there are definitely elements inspired by Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in the story, with a hint of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn in there too. These are all some of my favourite books and authors so naturally when the blurb described this book as suitable for lovers of the Bronte sisters, I was of course drawn to it. Sadly, it didn't live up to my expectations and although I completed this novel very quickly, I was left cold and disappointed at the end of it.

The foundation of this story sounds incredible and it's exactly the kind of novel I love to cosy up with and read on a cold winter's night, and I'm sure many others will too. If historic, gothic tales interest you then you may enjoy this more than I did, but for me however, it seemed to take a nose dive after the first 100 or so pages. It isn't badly written by any means; it is easy reading and the pacing is good too, so in that respect it's a good book; however for me the problem lay with the characters and the plot. It begins perfectly fine; a young girl travelling from London to begin her new life and she is carrying some mystery with her so already I was interested in where it was going. However, once the shadows inside White Windows began to shift and you piece together what's happening, I started to lose interest. I didn't see the story going where it did, so it wasn't a predicable plot but I just didn't like where it went and by the end I was left thinking, 'what was the point?'

There were times where I felt uncomfortable whilst I was reading. I can't go in to detail without ruining the plot, but I was shocked at how lacking in morals some of the characters were. There are many unlikeable characters in the story and a lot of them seem to have no understanding of right or wrong and nor do they seem to care. I felt confused and annoyed during several points, and although the novel gently draws attention to mental illness and other important themes, I struggled to believe that so many of the characters would act the way they did and let such terrible things happen at their own hands. The novel started so promisingly only for me to feel frustrated and disappointed as I turned the final page. Certain books stay with you for days after you complete them and The Vanishing did that for me, sadly just for the wrong reasons.

A book that I think perfectly manages dark secrets and mystery is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or if you've yet to experience the Yorkshire Moors from a classic perspective then I recommend the wonderful Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Both of these books left me feeling satisfied and sad to leave behind, unfortunately unlike The Vanishing.

Buy The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin at

Buy The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin at


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