A story of second chances and secrets, this mysterious Regency romance will transport you to 19th-century England as one young lady reunites with her childhood love to find his missing sister.
Her friend is missing.
After five years abroad, Charity Halliwell finally returns to Loxby Manor, the home of dear friends—and her lost love. No longer a young girl, she is now haunted by a painful secret and the demise of her dreams. Instead of the healing and happiness she hopes to find, she encounters a darkness lurking in the shadows of the once-familiar house. When her friend, Seline, disappears the very night of her arrival, Charity is determined to uncover the truth.
Her only hope is the man who broke her heart.
Branded a coward, Piers Cavanaugh has lived the last five years as an outcast far from his family home. When his sister presumably elopes with a stable hand, Piers joins forces with an unlikely partner—the one woman he thought he’d never see again. Together they launch an investigation that leads to strange nightly meetings in the ruins of an old abbey and disturbing whispers of a secret organization. The more they learn, the more desperate the situation becomes.
The house seems determined to keep its secrets.
As they struggle to piece together the clues, Charity and Piers also endeavor to rebuild their friendship. One cryptic letter changed everything between them. To find happiness they will have to overcome the grief and shame keeping them apart. But first they must discover why Seline vanished and confront the growing fear that she may never return.
Settle in, because once you start The Vanishing at Loxby Manor, you won’t be able to put it down.
I rolled my eyes a bit when I first met Charity. Here we go. Another “traumatized” female character who jumps at every shadow and bursts into tears.
But Charity wasn’t like that. Yes, she was slow to trust, and could get spooked easily. But it was realistic—it actually took into consideration what actual people who have been through her kind of trauma are like, and recognized that there are as many reactions to trauma as there are personalities and people. While the author acknowledged the struggle this brought Charity, she also gave Charity her strengths, too.
This mystery was so well done. I had no idea who had done it. Everyone could have been suspects. (And they were until proven otherwise.) Good characters had dark sides. Bad characters had good sides. It also had a very interesting premise—the idea of the secret societies that did, in fact, exist in that time period is rarely, if ever, explored in historical fiction.
Selina’s mother was an especially intriguing character to me. One moment, she ruthlessly defended her family’s “honor” with no thought to her children. The next, she was coming to confide in Charity. And the next she was almost motherly. Very much a three-dimensional character and an interesting addition to the story.
The back cover is a bit misleading when it says Piers broke her heart. He really didn't--the trauma Charity faced separated the two of them.
All in all, a clever Regency mystery that takes a very specific form of trauma and handles it sympathetically.
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