Audiobook Review: THE FATE OF MERCY ALBAN by Wendy Webb

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Format: Audio; 8 CDs (9 hrs.)
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Released: February 5, 2013
Source: Borrowed from the library

From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.

Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother’s unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more 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, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the secret passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending 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? 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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THE FATE OF MERCY ALBAN was an eerie contemporary Gothic with all the right elements: a creepy old mansion, dark family secrets, deadly curses, a mysterious death, a ghostly woman in white, and a dash of romance.

The Alban family has been cursed since building the estate on the shore of Lake Superior in the mid-1800s. Tragedy after tragedy has befallen the family. Is it caused by a malevolent spirit in the house? Or is it the house itself? No one is certain. Grace Alban left 20 years earlier to escape the past, but she finds herself back at Alban House after the death of her mother, possibly another victim of the curse.

Questions about the death of a man and the sudden disappearance of Grace’s aunt in 1956 resurface when Grace finds old love letters written to her mother. These letters give clues to what went on behind the walls of Alban house all those years ago. Grace also discovers that someone – or something – has been sneaking around the secret passageways recently. It seems the evil presence is back, and it has targeted Grace and her daughter, Amity.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story to listen to. Some of the mystery I had figured out, but there were still surprises along the way. The plot was suspenseful and moved quickly for most of the book. Some of the things the characters did (or didn’t do) seemed unusual or far-fetched, but I was okay with it, as it worked for the story as a whole. I loved the eerie atmosphere the author created, and the mysterious mansion was an intriguing character on its own. The very last page left me saying, “Ooo!” Maybe there will be a sequel at some point. I’m hoping the story of the Alban family isn’t over yet…

Rating: 3¾ Stars

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