The Vanishing (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

    The world has not been kind to Julia Bishop as of late. Her brilliant Wall Street strategist husband turned out to be the "Bernie Madoff of the Mid-West" and before killing himself managed to bankrupt not just he and Julia, but also everyone they knew. Simply put, Julia wants nothing more than to disappear.  This is exactly what she is offered when she meets Adrian Sinclair.  Adrian's mother, who before performing a disappearing act of her own was a world famous author, is aging and in need of a companion.  Adrian believes Julia is just the person for the job and Julia has little reason to argue and every reason to take the offer. She soon finds herself living in the Sinclair family estate of Havenwood where there is something more going on than "a bump in the night."  As mysterious as the house's history is, even more mysterious is how and why Julia was chosen to be Mrs. Sinclair's companion.  Perhaps it wasn't the happy coincidence she believed it to be after all.

— Matt

What a fun read! A little mystery, a few ghosts, overlapping lives and memories, there is so much happening in this book it should never leave you bored. Julia Bishop is going through a rough patch... to put it lightly. About three months prior to the beginning of our story her late husband is outed as being the "mid-western Bernie Madoff" and after ruining the lives of everyone around them he takes his own life leaving Julia to pick up the pieces. Deep in her well of depression she is surprised when a strange man arrives at her door offering her a job and a new life. With nothing left to lose she is taken away to a remote mansion in northern Minnesota and starts anew as the companion to the famous horror authoress, Amaris Sinclair, one of Julia's literary heroes.
Upon arrival at her new haven in the woods, aptly named Havenwood, Julia finds herself overrun with deja vu and creepy coincidences. Is this all just a side effect from coming off her medication or is there something more sinister at work at the mansion?
With a cast of characters you are dying to love but not sure if you're supposed to, this is a light yet enthralling mystery that blends the old with the new seamlessly and wonderfully.

— From Chelsea


Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired . . . and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.

About the Author

Wendy Webb's first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, was the 2011 winner of the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction, and an IndieNext Pick from the Independent Booksellers' Association, a Midwest Connections Pick from the Midwest Booksellers Association and a Great Lakes, Great Reads Pick from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. Her second novel, The Fate of Mercy Alban, was also a Midwest Connections Pick and IndieNext Pick. Wendy is the editor of Duluth-Superior Magazine, celebrating the area she features in her gothic thrillers. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and her beloved Alaskan Malamutes. Visit her at, and on Facebook/WendyWebbAuthor.

Praise For…

"A deliciously complex blend of psychological suspense and ghost story, THE VANISHING is pitch-perfect on every note, from its mansion setting in the pine-scented northern wilderness, to the secrets and specters lurking around every corner."—Erin Hart, author of The Book of Killowen

"A brisk thriller tinged with gothic elements.... Careening through séances and ghostly encounters leaves the reader breathless."—Kirkus Reviews

"Webb once again mines the secrets of an old mansion for an effective contemporary supernatural thriller."—Publishers Weekly

"Webb expertly builds suspense and offers a thought-provoking tease in the final pages."—Booklist

"The haunting twists and turns of THE VANISHING left me as breathless as the beautiful setting of Havenwood itself. Reminiscent of the classics The Haunting of Hill House and Rebecca, this novel grabbed me on the first page and didn't let go. A comelling, frightening, deeply satisfying tale that is as rich in setting as it is in storytelling."—Suzanne Palmieri, author of The Witch of Little Italy

"[The] opening line of Wendy Webb's contemporary Gothic thriller, THE VANISHING, pays homage to DuMaurier's classic [Rebecca]. But Webb infuses her narrator, Julia Bishop, with modern sensibilities, and manipulates the genre's melodrama skillfully."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

Product Details
ISBN: 9781401341947
ISBN-10: 1401341942
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: January 21st, 2014
Pages: 304
Language: English
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