The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 12th January 2017
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery
A story of intrigue and revenge, perfect for fans of Jane Eyreand Fingersmith and The Miniaturist.
On top of the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of the barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester.
When Annaleigh, a foundling who has fled her home in London, finds herself at the remote house, in service to the Twentymans, she discovers all is not as it seems behind closed doors.
Isolated and lonely, Annaleigh is increasingly drawn to her master. And as their relationship intensifies, she soon realises that her movements are being controlled and her life is no longer her own. Slowly she is drawn into a web of intrigue and darkness, and soon she must face her fears if she is to save herself.
“The Vanishing” is my first book by Sophia Tobin but I am sure it won’t be the last! This novel has first caught my eye on Twitter, when I spotted the most gorgeous proofs with a key attached to them, and when one of them arrived at my doorstep I was more than over – excited. Yes. That’s me. I know, I know, like a child at Christmas. Forgive me, but when it comes to books I am just like this.
So now. This book. “The Vanishing”. Dark, tense, thought – provoking, full of suspense historical fiction. And while it did manage to hold me interested, I had some issues with it. The book was divided into three parts and for me personally it was the third and last one that kept me mostly glued to the pages. The first two were very descriptive and were like a long introduction to this what’s going to happen. Than the characters. I had a feeling that I really don’t know them as much as I’d like. They felt a little too underdeveloped, too superficial. The main character, Annaleigh, she just felt so cold and emotionless. But she was also strong – minded and she was not afraid to fight for the things she believed in. She was a servant but she also knew different life and you could have say that she’s never been like a perfect servant, even being a perfect servant! She had her proud and will. She made me feel desperate with the number of times she wanted to left but still, she didn’t. It just makes you want to tell her: see? Your own fault. I know, of course I know it was not as easy as it is now, women didn’t have many choices then, but really, I though that when she says she wants to leave one more time than it will be also my sign to leave. The book. Fortunately, it didn’t happen and I kept reading (not going to tell you if she’s left or stopped talking about it, oh no!).
I am, however, not too sure what was the role of the male characters in this story, to be honest. Oh sure, of course, I know but they all just felt so flat, not too well rounded and I missed some more expressiveness in their personalities.
I also couldn’t clock this attraction between Annalegih and Marcus Twentyman, and the blurb speaks about intensifying relationship – what relationship? It was not a relationship, guys! I’ve no idea what kind of things did Annaleigh imagine and why. And the end. I am really confused about the end because it made me think, and? The point?
I really liked the writing style, and the way the story was written, and I really appreciated how the author added so many phrases characteristics to those times. She could brilliantly describe the desolate landscape of the moors in Yorkshire and it, already at the beginning, set the tone of this story – gloom and bleak, totally appropriate to the drama that was developing before our eyes. The sense of isolation and loneliness was palpable through the pages, and this was one of the main players in this book, to be honest, and the dark atmosphere surrounding the house and its inhabitants jumped out of the pages.
Overall, it was a good book, and even though it didn’t have me on my tenterhooks I was not disappointed! “The Vanishing” was atmospheric, touching and also a shocking book. I loved how symbolic the title of the novel is and how many different meanings of vanishing there were in it. A tale of love and hate, revenge and… yes, madness that made for a really great read for those few winter evenings and I’m truly happy that I was able to read it. There was a certain beauty to it and the writing style was really exceptional.