Monday, January 18, 2021

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor - Review

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor

By: Abigail Wilson

Expected Publication: January 26th 2021 by Thomas Nelson

336 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Christian Fiction

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--Disappearances, strange activities in the night, and secret organizations abound in this mysterious Regency romance.

Haunted by the assault she’s kept hidden over the past four years, Charity Halliwell finally has a chance to return home to the quaint village she left more than five years before and the happy life she wants so badly to reclaim. All she needs is good conversation with her old friend and an opportunity to find a governess position, and she can leave the fear and guilt behind. But the family who agrees to her yearlong visit turns out to be a far cry from the one she thought she knew, particularly when her friend disappears and the one man she made certain would not be at the house is forced to return. How can she possibly heal and claim her independence when day in, day out she must face the only gentleman who ever held a piece of her heart?

Piers Cavanagh was branded a coward when he failed to show up for a duel he arranged. He had his reasons, of course, but disclosing them would hurt far more than continuing life as an outcast. And worse, with the mysterious departure of his sister, the strange nightly occurrences in the ruins of an old abbey, and the uncomfortable whispers of a secret organization, Piers must overcome his aversion to society and work with the last person he ever thought he would get the chance to speak to again—the girl whose heart he had no choice but to break.

I don't typically read a lot of Mystery books. I don't necessarily dislike them, but I just don't typically seek them out. My brain is the type that can't help but try to read into every piece of a story and so I often find myself disappointed that I figured something out too quickly or that there isn't enough information given to be able to figure the twists out. That being said, I read Abigail Wilson's prior book, Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey, and thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I knew I wanted to check out other books by her.

The thing with Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey that worked so well for me was that the mystery felt second in importance to the romance building between the two main characters. And for me, relationships are always more important. However, in The Vanishing at Loxby Manor I felt the opposite was true. The relationship between Charity and Piers was definitely second to solving the mystery of Piers' sister's disappearance. Thankfully, the relationship-building was present enough that it didn't feel like an afterthought, but I also didn't feel like the relationship between these two was the driving force behind the novel.

Piers and Charity have history. They grew up together, and five years before the majority of the story takes place, they'd begun a romance. But things happened rather quickly it seems. Charity's parents took her and left the area, and Piers was branded a coward when he didn't show up for a duel. From there their lives take them in different directions which leaves them both dealing with a lot of shame they each think they cannot personally overcome, much less condemn another person to experience beside them. Piers and Charity are the only two who think Seline's disappearance is more than meets the eye. And they team up to investigate. Being together so frequently causes them to experience the familiarity and the butterflies they once felt.

I don't want to discuss the actual mystery too much since so much of the plot revolved around it. I will say that I didn't put things together until probably later than I should have, yet still before the truth was revealed. Even what I did have pieced together didn't fully make sense to me until the end. I didn't feel particularly impressed or particularly disappointed by this as I might under other circumstances.

Favorite quotes:

-" can be a tricky thing, my dear. Sometimes it clouds our vision, when other times it allows us to see."

-"I'm not certain anyone can go back, not really. It's more about finding a way to go on, to move forward, to trust God will take something bad that has happened and work it for good."

I can easily say that I enjoy The Vanishing at Loxby Manor. I wanted to keep reading and did read a large portion in one day. However, I would say that this falls into the category of mystery and plot first and then relationships second. I always, always prefer relationships to come first in importance. I enjoyed it, but it didn't spur me on to find other mysteries that are similar. Although, I do still plan to read more by Abigail Wilson. Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey would still be my favorite of the two I've read by her thus far. The Vanishing at Loxby Manor gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read The Vanishing at Loxby Manor? What did you think? Let me know!

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