320 pages ~ ★★★★☆ ~ Netgalley eARC
When Lydia wins a scholarship to the exclusive Temple House school for sixth form, she’s automatically out of place, a token student, there to make it look as though the school is accepting of students from outside its typical social circles. In art class she meets Victoria, a favourite of twenty-five year old Art teacher Mr Lavelle, a completely non-typical character in a school run by nuns and a favourite of many of the girls. Lydia and Victoria quickly form a strong friendship despite their differences outside the school however after just one term after Lydia joins the school both her and Mr Lavelle disappear on the same evening, the police case has never been officially closed though no new information has been put forward for a long time.
We switch perspectives between Lydia in 1990 and a journalist in 2015 who lived across the road from Lydia as a child. For the 25th anniversary of her disappearance the journalist of trying to get in touch with as many people as possible for a series of articles which could uncover a missing piece, including Victoria who has historically been very tight-lipped on the whole experience.
What was captured really well were the intense feelings of teenagers that I’m sure we all experienced at one point, at just sixteen Victoria particularly is convinced that she’s experiencing a love that nobody could possibly comprehend and everyone must be jealous of; Lydia who feels abandoned by her mother latches onto her new friend completely and quickly; imagining what their adult lives could be like once she’d left Temple House.
This became quite addictive, I read it over three days and kept changing my mind as to what had actually happened to the girls. At one point I was convinced by a theory of switched lives to cover up privileged family shame but maybe that was a bit far fetched. I find with most books like this the ending lets it down slightly, and I wasn’t a massive fan of the epilogue in this but I thought the ending tied everything up well and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Temple House Vanishing is being released today and you can currently pre-order for Kindle∆ or in Hardback∆ ; thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy this in exchange for an honest review.