4.24.2022

finished reading

This is an atmospheric, gothic story--it's about the obsession with first love and teenage expectation of love.  It's set at a Catholic school that has two types of students: legacy and scholarship.  The legacy girls look at the scholarship girls as a sociological experiment.  Louisa is the new hot-shot scholarship student, shunned by the legacy girls but befriended by the enigmatic Victoria.  Louisa and Victoria are drawn to the young, handsome bohemian art teacher and each develops a special relationship with him.

There is a dual narrative: Louisa's perspective from 1990 and the journalist who's investigating the mysterious disappearances of both Louisa and Mr. Lavelle.  The journalist becomes enmeshed in the fascinating case and searches for the truth.

I admit I got bogged down in some of the more descriptive passages.  It is not a fast-paced page-turner, but a literary thriller.

From the publisher:
Louisa is the new scholarship student at Temple House, a drafty, imposing cliffside boarding school full of girls as chilly as the mansion itself. There is one other outsider, an intense and compelling student provocateur named Victoria, and the two girls form a fierce bond. But their friendship is soon unsettled by a young art teacher, Mr. Lavelle, whose charismatic presence ignites tension and obsession in the cloistered world of the school.

Then one day, Louisa and Mr. Lavelle vanish without a trace, never to be found. Now, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the disappearance, one journalist—a woman who grew up on the same street as Louisa—delves into the past, determined to uncover the truth. She finds stories of jealousy and revenge, power and class. But might she find Louisa and Mr. Lavelle, too?

Told in alternating points of view, The Temple House Vanishing is tense, atmospheric, and page-turning . . . with a shocking, ingenious conclusion.

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