The Fate of Mercy Alban [NOOK Book]

Overview

Grace Alban has spent more than twenty years avoiding her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter back, she finds more is haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.

Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a...
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The Fate of Mercy Alban

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Overview

Grace Alban has spent more than twenty years avoiding her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter back, she finds more is haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.

Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years. Her mother intended to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died--could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? Grace soon realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the mansion's secret passages.

With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive--Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of Webb’s well-received debut, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, may feel let down by her similar-in-outline sophomore effort, about a legendary curse that haunts the powerful Alban family’s mansion by Lake Superior. When divorced mother Grace Alban returns to the mansion after her mother’s death, she finds letters revealing her mother’s affair with famous writer David Coleville, who committed suicide during the same 1956 solstice party from which Grace’s aunt, Fate Alban, disappeared. While searching for a lost Coleville novel she believes will clarify the past, Grace is imperiled by the mansion’s malevolent presences, an obsessed journalist and an emotionally disturbed woman who may be Fate. Hidden passageways, magical spell books, resurrections from the dead, sudden disappearances, secret births: amid a welter of gothic staples, the central ghost story concerning Fate and her mysterious twin, Mercy, gets lost. Grace, her love interest, and the privileged world she revisits are pleasant but generic, as is the rediscovered manuscript described as literary genius. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
In 1956, a summer solstice party at the Alban family's elegant manor ends abruptly with the suicide of a renowned writer and the disappearance of Mercy Alban. The family closes ranks, and the secrets of that night lie hidden. In the decline of old age, Adele Alban has decided to break the silence and reveal what she remembers about that night to a journalist. Before she can do so, however, she also disappears, only to be found in the garden, dead. Her daughter Grace Alban had left the ancestral home on the shores of Lake Superior 20 years ago, escaping the waters that had murderously claimed the lives of her brothers and the guilt surrounding her father's suicide in those same waters. Recently divorced and with her teenage daughter, Amity, in tow, Grace is quickly engaged by funeral arrangements, a task made less mournful by the attractive Reverend Matthew Parker. Soon, Grace discovers a cache of old love letters. Written to Adele, the letters not only reveal a secret love affair, but also tell of a lost novel about life at Alban House the summer before the tragic party. More sinisterly, the letters suggest that the very wood constructing Alban House is bespelled and the family witched. And when a frightening and possibly mad woman crashes the funeral, accompanied by the reporter Adele had intended to meet, the curse of the Alban family can no longer be ignored. Webb (The Tale of Halcyon Crane, 2010) plots a tale rife with dark family secrets, hidden passageways, love, intrigue and witchcraft. Yet, the telling of the tale falls flat. Supernatural entities do invade the Albans' lives, but the tale lacks a sustained gothic atmosphere of evil forces gathering and conspiring. Less haunted house than detective story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401342890
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 25,917
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Wendy Webb's first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, was the 2011 winner of the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction, and an IndieNext Pick from the Independent Booksellers Association, a Midwest Connections Pick from the Midwest Booksellers Association and a Great Lakes, Great Reads Pick from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. She lives in northern Minnesota with her spouse, photographer Steve Burmeister, and their Alaskan Malamute, Molly. She is at work on her next novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5/5 I've always loved creaky old houses and dusty attics - I

    3.5/5
    I've always loved creaky old houses and dusty attics - I sit and wonder about who once lived there and what their life was like.

    Wendy Webb gives free rein to her imagination in her latest book The Fate of Mercy Alban.

    When her mother dies, Grace Alban and her daughter Amity return to the family estate on Lake Superior. The faithful family staff are still in situ - Jane, her husband and a driver. They've been there from the beginning - bearing witness to the lives of the wealthy and influential Alban family. And they've been there for the tragedies too - the family seems to have more than their share of heartbreak. Is is just bad luck or is there some truth behind the whispers of a family curse? "...accidents, death, scandal, and even murder have taken place in the house over the years."

    Grace herself has stayed away for over twenty years- a response to a tragedy that is slowly unveiled over many chapters. While sorting through her mother's papers, she comes across a packet of letters that challenge everything she thought she knew about her parents - and revives her interest in a night that the Alban family has kept shrouded in mystery for decades. But some secrets don't want to see the light of day......

    Webb has crafted a modern take on a classic genre - the Gothic ghost story. Family secrets, haunted houses, family curses with a little witchcraft thrown in as well. Webb's plotting is intricate and keeps us guessing with many red herrings and switchbacks on the way. For me, The Fate of Mercy Alban was plot driven. I was much more interested in where Webb was going to take her story than the characters. Although all the right elements are in place, I didn't really ever engage with Grace.

    I enjoyed the book within a book technique that allowed us to learn secrets of the past along with Grace.

    This was a fun read for me, not overly scary, but definitely entertaining. I really like the cover art and once you read the book, you realize the title is quite clever as well. What did I love the most? The house - I want to explore all those hidden passages and back staircases to unused rooms.......Also chosen as a February 2013 Indie Next Li

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013

    I LOVED this book! Such wonderful story telling! I could SEE wh

    I LOVED this book! Such wonderful story telling! I could SEE what was happening.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Excellent!  Plot moves quickly, characters are interesting and w

    Excellent!  Plot moves quickly, characters are interesting and well written, good plot twists.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was the first book I read from Wendy Webb and finished it w

    This was the first book I read from Wendy Webb and finished it withing two days loved it that after I was finished I went out and bought The Tale of Halcyon Crane loved that book also now waiting on her new one the Vanishing 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    I loved this story and felt it was well written, good character

    I loved this story and felt it was well written, good character development, and a lot of twist and turns. you'll find yourself saying, "I didn't see that one coming!" The way the house is used as a character is wonderful. You can SEE, FEEL, and EXPERIENCE Alban House. The stories of love won and lost, fear, strong women, and things that go bump in the night. You'll not want to put it down until you're done!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2013

    Wonderful story! Great mystery, a bit of romance, and a creaky

    Wonderful story! Great mystery, a bit of romance, and a creaky old house with hidden passageways! What more could you want on a chilly winter afternoon?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the setting - the spooky old house on the shores of Lake S

    Loved the setting - the spooky old house on the shores of Lake Superior,
    steeped in family secrets, tragedies, and mystery. Liked the idea of a novel
    within a novel.

    And yet... there were many elements that didn't tie together. In the summer of
    '56, there was a full staff to maintain Alban House and the 15 acre grounds.
    Granted in the current time period there isn't an entire family living there, just
    Adele, and later, Grace and Amity (couldn't decide if I liked the names or they
    annoyed me), but the house is now open for tours. Yet the only house staff for
    all 40 rooms of this mansion is ONE elderly housekeeper - who also prepares
    all the meals?

    Grace was impossible for me to understand or like. Her relationship with her
    teen hot-and-cold daughter rang very lifelike, but with her mother... I could
    understand, somewhat, why Grace hadn't been back "home" in years, but it's
    left unclear as to whether she and her mother visited elsewhere. Did Adele
    (who seemed to be a fairly "together" character in spite of all the tragedy and
    losses in her life) come out to stay for a few weeks when baby Amity was born,
    as one might expect? Did they talk once a week/once a month via phone or
    Skype (it's mentioned that ADELE has a laptop)? It's all very unclear as to what
    the relationship was, so although Grace was weeping through the funeral, etc.,
    I wasn't feeling it. I also couldn't buy her blossoming relationship with the
    always-handy  local minister; it felt like there was ZERO chemistry between
    them.

    The Celtic witchcraft element... irksome.  Seems like all too often when writers
    want to make something scary/demonic, they toss in witchcraft, spells,
    pentacles, rituals under the moon, etc., without having any real understanding
    of or respect for alternative religious beliefs.

    There were nice twists and turns with the plot, and the villain was suitably scary.
    If the same things bug or trigger you as annoyed me, you probably won't LOVE
    it, but it's still a decent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Loved it!!!

    I found it hard to put this book down but it had me looking over my shoulder while reading it alone in my apartment. Great detail but not overly detailed which is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to some books. This is my new favorite book. Creepy, creepy, creepy!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Recommend

    enjoyed this,quick and easy suspensefull

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    Loved it

    This was really entertaining. I love spooky stories and this fit the bill. I loved the twists.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Disappointed

    A bit juvenile

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Great book

    This was an awesome read, really hard to put down. It was a good ghost story, mixed with romance, and eerie family secrets. I could not put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2013

    hard to put down!

    hard to put down!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2013

    YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!! I was enthralled by the first page ti

    YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!! I was enthralled by the first page till the last. I didn't want to put it down!! The ending was jaw dropping and mind blowing!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2013

    Mostly ok - I give it a 2 1/2 star rating

    This was a very interesting book - in spots! I would get into the story and then hit a flat spot - very off putting! Toward the end the author was trying to tie everything up and it was a confusing muddle! Having said that, I would try another book by this author in the hopes that it wouldn't be such an up and down book, because the parts that were good were very good.

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  • Posted April 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Nice story in the Gothic tradition. Reminded me of old Victoria

    Nice story in the Gothic tradition. Reminded me of old Victoria Holt novels. Beautifully bound, nice art and texture to feel. Lots of twists to the story which held my interest through most of the book, though felt slow at times. Some of the author’s language seems a bit trite. But good personification to the house. I almost felt as much empathy as I did the character. Creepy and entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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