The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Part gothic and very much a horror story, The End of Temperance Dare is rich in atmosphere and setting. I had a few things figured out early into the story. Some of it was a complete surprise. This is a slightly creepy story that won't make you want to keep the lights on, but it does a stellar job at making you want to keep reading.
Eleanor "Norrie" Harper is at a turning point. Her career as a reporter ends, and she's ready for a change. She applies for the job of director at a local artist's retreat and never expects she'll get the job. Somehow, she does and heads to the former sanatorium to get situated before the next batch of artists arrive.
On Norrie's very first day, the matriarch of Cliffside Manor commits suicide. She leaves Norrie a mysterious note saying it's up to Norrie to solve the mystery. This brings out her investigative reporter side. With the help of some of the staff and participants in the retreat, can Norrie figure out the secrets of Cliffside Manor?
I loved the lakeside and wooded setting. I felt drawn to the foggy shoreline, the roaring fire meant to warm up the guests in the old, drafty manor, and the dinners where I could almost taste the wine they all shared. The writing drew me in.
The setting in The End of Temperance Dare keeps it from being a true gothic. Almost everything takes place in the modern day. There are snippets of past situations, but they don't last too long. That's why I'd say this is more horror than gothic, but there's also romance and mystery wound into the mix. It's a great read and another excellent addition to Lake Union's already impressive library.