Thursday, December 28, 2017

Disappointing Gothic Thriller Gets Downright Ridiculous

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Eleanor Harper should be ecstatic about her new job as director of Cliffside Manor, an old TB sanitorium turned artists' retreat.  After working as a crime reporter for a city newspaper, she should feel nothing but relief at the prospect of living on the calm shores of Lake Superior and spending her days with benign artists too preoccupied with their own work to cause trouble.  So, why does she feel so unsettled by Cliffside Manor?  Why the sense of foreboding she just can't shake?

The more time Eleanor spends at Cliffside, the more she learns about the home's disturbing history.  When strange, inexplicable things start happening there, she's not even that surprised.  As each of the fellows residing at the manor identifies personal connections to Cliffside, Eleanor grows increasingly alarmed.  Could her predecessor have selected these specific people to be at Cliffside at this specific time?  Why would she do such a thing?  With more than one sinister force at play, Eleanor must find out what is really going on at Cliffside before it's too late for them all.

I love me a shivery Gothic tale, especially one set in a creepy old mansion.  The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb, therefore, seemed just the ticket.  While the tale is eerie, it suffers from a clumsily-structured plot, tell-y prose, and characters who lack any depth at all.  Our heroine has no real personality, making her a boring narrator.  Why not one, but two, men fall instantly, madly in love with her I have no idea.  Despite these issues, the first 2/3 of the story isn't that bad; the last 1/3, though, gets downright ridiculous.  As cringe-worthy as it is, I did finish the novel.  I guess that says something, but honestly, The End of Temperance Dare just did not do it for me at all.  I should have skipped it altogether.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a lot of The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and scary images

To the FTC, with love:  To tell you the truth, I'm not sure how I acquired this one.  Hm.

8 comments:

  1. It sounds like it could have had promise. Probably something I would have picked up without your warning.

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    1. THE GHOST ORCHID by Carol Goodman had a similar setting/plot and I liked that one. This one had good bones, for sure. The execution just needed work.

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  2. What a disappointment! I never know if I should finish a book when it really isn't working for me. More and more I find myself ditching the book.

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    Replies
    1. Right? I should have ditched this one, but I did want to know how it would end.

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  3. I'm sorry. That always sucks when an ending ruins a book for you. :/

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    Replies
    1. Well, the rest of the book wasn't that great either, but the ending was TERRIBLE!

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  4. Ooh...thanks for the warning on this one. I'm usually a big fan of Gothic tales, but I don't think I'd like this one.

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    Replies
    1. Me, too! It had a great, creepy setup, it just wasn't executed very well. I hate that!

      Delete

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