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The Fate of Mercy Alban

The Fate of Mercy Alban

4.3 46
by Wendy Webb

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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.



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.

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.

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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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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The Fate of Mercy Alban 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
lindagshaffer More than 1 year ago
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?
Twink More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and I could not put it down. I only read mysteries and true crime books (plus Harry Potter ;) ) And this one definitely kept me on my toes. I liked the mix of supernatural and just regular family mystery . The setting of the small town and mansion on the hill helped give it a nice creepy factor that helped give a nice backdrop to the rest of the story. This is the second Wendy Webb book I've read in a month...I will be starting the next one in a few minutes. If you want a book you can't put down then get The Fate of Mercy Alban- You wont be disappointed. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good story , did not want to put book down , will check on other Wendy Webb books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept my attention from the very beginning. I didn't want to stop reading it. If you like a good mystery, I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit juvenile
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book! Such wonderful story telling! I could SEE what was happening.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent!  Plot moves quickly, characters are interesting and well written, good plot twists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this novel. I began reading Wendy Webb's novels backwards, starting with her most recent one. I liked this one even better. I found the vision of an old mansion with secret passageways intriguing.? This is a novel that is fast paced and, though there are several story lines, they are tied together well. This one was hard to put down! I thought I had it figured out a couple of times, but it kept me guessing. There are still a couple of unanswered questions (very beginning and end), but maybe that will tie into a sequel. It's a great read for a cold and stormy day!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful spooky tale. Easy to read with twists and turns. Everything came together in the end perfectly . Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Nice ghost story feel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, 1st time I ever read this author and will go and buy her other books . U won't be wasting your money if u purchsse!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Refreshing to read a new author and then plan to read the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A decent ghost story, though the ending was a little rushed. I enjoy mysteries with a paranormal flair but find it annoying when the author points out the questions she'd like the reader to consider. Who could have shut the door? It could be so-and-so, but no, we were together the whole time! It comes off very Young Adult, as if the author wants to make sure you are paying attention. Overall though, I did power through several chapters to the detriment of my housework, which says something about how engaging a mystery Wendy Webb has created.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have this book. It is terrific and I can't wait for Wendy to write the next book. There has to be a follow-up to this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Must read! Leaves you wanting more from Wendy Webb.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like creepy ghost and witch stories, you will love this book! I was enthtalled up to the last page!