Book Review: The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

by - 5:55:00 PM

Title: The End of Temperance Dare
Author: Wendy Webb
Pages: 336
Genre: Adult Mystery
Release Date: 06 June 2017

From Goodreads: "When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.

But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows—including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks—she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows—and herself—from sinister forces."

Thank you to Ashley Vanicek and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

The End of Temperance Dare opened strong, leaving a creepy and uneasy feeling with the reader, progressed at a mild pace with a few scares here and there, and ends on an alright note. This was definitely a book that gave me the creeps at a few points and I really enjoyed the writing style that the author presented. All in all, this was a successful read that has piqued my interest in more of Wendy Webb's writing!

Plot:
Eleanor Harper has always been drawn to Cliffside Manor though she was never sure why. After years of being a crime reporter, Eleanor suddenly has the opportunity to become to director of an artists' retreat that is held at Cliffside and hopes that it will be a peaceful change from her previous job. But from the very first time she steps foot on the grounds, she feels an impending sense of dread and realizes that there is more to the manor than meets the eye. As the fellows begin to arrive, Eleanor realizes that her predecessor may have chosen the new group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the mysteries of the manor begin to unravel, Eleanor must fight to save not only the fellows but herself as well from more than just things that go bump in the night.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere that this book had! It left me feeling uneasy and constantly looking over my shoulder and that was a feeling I actually enjoyed. While I do feel that the middle portion of the book unfolded somewhat slowly, I think that it worked for the direction that the story went. The ending wasn't something I was expecting, and it felt like it all happened really fast, but overall I did enjoy this book more than I thought I was going to. It starts off with a creepy opening that really sets the tone for the entire book and it only goes up from there. I enjoyed following Eleanor as she tries to solve the mystery of the group of fellows and why they're all there as well as uncovering the secrets that Cliffside Manor holds. There were so many moments in this book that got me spooked and I just think that the author did a fantastic job setting up the creepy things that happened throughout the story. The End of Temperance Dare flows really well, despite my feeling that the middle slowed down a bit, and gives you a very well rounded story. There were several twists that I honestly did not see coming and I loved finding out everything at the same pace that Eleanor did. I did have a few reservations about some things that were addressed in the story, one being the literal instant attraction she has to one of the fellows and another involving how things were explained towards the end, but I did enjoy the story overall.

Characters:
There was certainly a large cast of characters in this book, but each character felt very unique and well written. I liked Eleanor and how her previous job as a crime reporter aided her in her new job at Cliffside, allowing her to use her investigative skills to help her solve the mystery behind what was happening at the manor. What I liked most about her was her unnatural connection to the manor and I was almost as eager as she was to find out why she felt so connected to this place. I also really enjoyed the manor as a character. It seems odd to say that a building was a character, but I personally felt that it had so much history that it was able to stand on its own as a character. As for the fellows and other manor residents, they were all written very well and stood out amongst each other quite easily, but I wasn't as crazy about them as I was about Eleanor and the manor. Again, each of the characters was enjoyable to read about and I liked them all well enough, but Eleanor really stood out to me the most (I mean, she is the main character) and then the manor just had this thing about it that I was really drawn to.

Writing:
I know I've mentioned it before, but this book had such a creepy feeling all throughout. This was my first experience with Wendy Webb and I was really satisfied with her writing. It draws you in slowly but keeps you hooked with the way she's able to create a feeling of dread and unease that makes you wonder why you're feeling that way. I won't say I was scared, but rather had a constant "someone is standing over your shoulder watching you" feeling as I read. It kept me going, kept me wondering about all of the things that were happening at the manor and to Eleanor. This was a book that I hadn't intended to finish so quickly, but found myself unable to put it down once it was in my hands. If you're looking for a story to send chills slowly up your spine, pick up a Wendy Webb book.

All in all, this was just the book I needed when I didn't know I needed it. It was creepy and held my interest until I was completely finished with the story. The End of Temperance Dare has grabbed me and pulled me into the writing of Wendy Webb and I can't wait to see what other creepy tales she has to tell. Thank you again to Lake Union Publishing for sending me a copy of this book and be sure to pick it up when it releases on 06 June 2017!

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