The Temple House Vanishing (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Boarding school intrigue has served as the fodder for a lot of great novels and The Temple House Vanishing has earned its spot on the list. Parallel stories unfold in the leadup to a girl’s disappearance from the elite Temple House school and a journalist’s quest to uncover the truth of what happened to her twenty five years later. Donohue’s use of the two different times is expertly executed and both conclusions are right where they ought to be.

I’d hesitate to call it a thriller, exactly, but it is absolutely a page-turner with all the trappings of a great Gothic novel—a winding road leads to a crumbling mansion perched atop a cliff overlooking the North Sea, a heavy mist rolls in each night, there are nuns who may or may not be benevolent and the legacy students are an aristocracy not to be taken lightly.    

I read this book in two sittings and was actually disappointed that it is Donohue’s debut because I couldn’t immediately dive into something else she had written."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books

— From Lucinda Recommends!


The New York Times Best Thrillers of 2021
"Steamily atmospheric . . . A twisted Gothic tale, emotional in its language and febrile in its atmosphere, and it will appeal to readers who love to hear about obsession, repression . . . and poetic justice.”
—The New York Times Book Review

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.

An Irish Bestseller and finalist for the Irish Book Awards Newcomer of the Year


About the Author

Rachel Donohue lives in Dublin, Ireland, where she works in communication and media relations. In 2017 she won the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year Award for her short fiction. The Temple House Vanishing is her first novel.

Praise For…

“Steamily atmospheric . . . A twisted Gothic tale, emotional in its language and febrile in its atmosphere, and it will appeal to readers who love to hear about obsession, repression, over-the-top teaching in the pre-#MeToo era — and poetic justice.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“With shades of everything from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Frost in May to Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Secret History, this is subtle, intriguing and very well written.”
The Guardian

The Temple House Vanishing is Rachel Donohue’s first novel, but she nails the angst and spookiness like a pro. Her gloriously moody story is full of the kinds of twisted turns that happen when jealousy and passion run wild. If you liked Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, don’t let this lush, gothic tale pass you by.”
Apple Best Books of the Month – July 2021

“The creeping pace, melancholic tone, and full-bodied characters create a perfect snapshot of desperate youth amid oppressive tradition. This stands among the best of the current modern gothic trend.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Atmospheric and suspenseful, this will be appreciated by fans of Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa.”

"Evocative and mysterious . . . Sublime writing."
Sunday Independent

"Rachel Donohue's Gothic-tinged mysteryThe Temple House Vanishing will keep you guessing until the last page."

“In an atmosphere where the cacophony of teenage hormones blares amid a community of nuns who have directed their passion toward the religious life, Donohue adds to the sense of shambolic emotions at play with skillful pacing.
Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Donohue is a master of clean, sharp prose and has a hugely impressive ability to create layers of atmosphere or ratchet up tension in a couple of beguilingly simple sentences."
The Irish Times

"Atmospheric, creepy, tense, and utterly absorbing . . . Loved this."
Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

“Rachel Donohue is an enchanting writer. Her words seem, at first, innocent and straightforward, but then it becomes apparent that they are doing mischievous things. As Mr. Lavalle, a central character in her impressive debut The Temple House Vanishing, points out: ‘It’s important to remember that here, nothing is ever as it seems.’”  
The Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
“Donohue is a master of clean, sharp prose, and has a hugely impressive ability to create layers of atmosphere or ratchet up tension in a couple of beguilingly simple sentences.” 
 The Irish Times

“This brooding tale of obsessive love, teenage jealousy and hidden desire has a dark charm all of its own…While the unsettling atmosphere is enough to keep the pages turning, Donohue also does a fine job of holding parts of her story back. When the shocking solution is finally revealed, it is in the sort of circumstances that all but force the reader to return to the beginning to marvel at how the trail was laid.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9781643750279
ISBN-10: 1643750275
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Pages: 304
Language: English