Tag Archives | Wendy Webb

Winter Chill — Six Novels That Will Make You Shiver (In A Good Way)

Today’s post by our co-founder, Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

There’s nothing like a little spine-tingling chill in the dead of winter– and we don’t mean from the temperature. Today we’re sharing a handful of new novels that are chillingly fun. Grab a cup of something hot and light a fire in the fireplace. You’ll need them if you curl up with these books!

The Ghost of the Mary CelesteTHE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE by Valerie Martin

A captivating, atmospheric return to historical fiction that is every bit as convincing and engrossing as Martin’s landmark Mary Reilly.

In 1872 the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo was intact and there was no sign of struggle, but the crew was gone. They were never found.

This maritime mystery lies at the center of an intricate narrative branching through the highest levels of late-nineteenth-century literary society. While on a voyage to Africa, a rather hard-up and unproven young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle hears of the Mary Celeste and decides to write an outlandish short story about what took place. This story causes quite a sensation back in the United States, particularly between sought-after Philadelphia spiritualist medium Violet Petra and a rational-minded journalist named Phoebe Grant, who is seeking to expose Petra as a fraud. Then there is the family of the Mary Celeste‘s captain, a family linked to the sea for generations and marked repeatedly by tragedy. Each member of this ensemble cast holds a critical piece to the puzzle of the Mary Celeste.

These three elements—a ship found sailing without a crew, a famous writer on the verge of enormous success, and the rise of an unorthodox and heretical religious fervor—converge in unexpected ways, in diaries, in letters, in safe harbors and rough seas. In a haunted, death-obsessed age, a ghost ship appearing in the mist is by turns a provocative mystery, an inspiration to creativity, and a tragic story of the disappearance of a family and of a bond between husband and wife that, for one moment, transcends the impenetrable barrier of death.


The Orphan ChoirTHE ORPHAN CHOIR by Sophie Hannah

A mother with an empty nest is being haunted by a ghostly children’s choir. Are they giving her an important message that only she can hear, or are their motives more sinister?

Louise Beeston is being haunted.

Louise has no reason left to stay in the city. She can’t see her son, Joseph, who is away at boarding school, where he performs in a prestigious boys’ choir. Her troublesome neighbor has begun blasting choral music at all hours of the night—and to make matters worse, she’s the only one who can hear it.

Hoping to find some peace, Louise convinces her husband, Stuart, to buy them a country house in an idyllic, sun-dappled gated community called Swallowfield. But it seems that the haunting melodies of the choir have followed her there. Could it be that her city neighbor has trailed her to Swallowfield, just to play an elaborate, malicious prank? Is there really a ghostly chorus playing outside her door? And why won’t they stop? Growing desperate, she begins to worry about her mental health.

Against the pleas and growing disquiet of her husband, Louise starts to suspect that this sinister choir is not only real but a warning. But of what? And how can it be, when no one else can hear it?

In The Orphan Choir, Sophie Hannah brings us along on a darkly suspenseful investigation of obsession, loss, and the malevolent forces that threaten to break apart a loving family.


Winter PeopleTHE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon

The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.


The Deepest SecretTHE DEEPEST SECRET by Carla Buckley

Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception. Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night. For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.

Until the night the unthinkable happens. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that this family is not the only one on the quiet cul-de-sac that is more complicated than it appears. And as Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control—and some secrets that not even love can conceal.

Deeply moving and stunningly suspenseful, The Deepest Secret is a novel of rare power—a story about hope and forgiveness, about the terrifying ways our lives can spin out of control and the unexpected sacrifices that may save us.


The Vanishing THE VANISHING by Wendy Webb

Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired . . . and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs’ enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her “too-good-to-be-true” position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.


Mercy SnowMERCY SNOW by Tiffany Baker

In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake.

June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant ne’er-do-wells who live on a decrepit and cursed property, have brought her–and the town–nothing but grief.

June will do anything to cover up a dark secret she discovers after the crash, one that threatens to upend her picture-perfect life, even if it means driving the Snow family out of town. But she has never gone up against a force as fierce as the young Mercy Snow. Mercy is determined to protect her rebellious brother, whom the town blames for the accident, despite his innocence. And she has a secret of her own. When an old skeleton is discovered not far from the crash, it beckons Mercy to solve a mystery buried deep within the town’s past.

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Tell Me Something True: A Visit With Wendy Webb

Today’s post by Wendy Webb, author of THE FATE OF MERCY ALBAN | @WendyKWebb

We’ve got a copy of The Fate of Mercy Alban up for grabs today. As usual, leaving a comment on this post will enter you in the drawing.

Update: the winner of this giveaway is karenk. She has been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered and check back soon for more great giveaways!

There’s just something about walking through a big, old house that sets my imagination on fire. I start thinking about what might have happened there, the secrets and scandals buried within its walls, the ghosts that might be lurking in its dark corners.

My new novel, The Fate of Mercy Alban, was inspired by a tour I took of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota. Built by the rich and powerful Congdon family in the 1800s, Glensheen sits on the shores of Lake Superior and still is the most magnificent home in the city. It also happens to be haunted. Decades ago, Congdon daughter Marjorie and her husband killed Marjorie’s mother and her maid in the home, and rumor has it that their restless spirits remain.

The Fate of Mercy Alban is not their story — the Congdon murders are a well-known tale not in need of retelling. No, my novel is the story of the Albans, who live in a home similar to Glensheen and who have their own secrets and scandals, murders and mystery.

Their story started to swirl around in my mind as I stood on Glensheen’s patio one summer afternoon and gazed out over the lawn, Lake Superior glittering just beyond it. I could almost see a gala party taking place there long ago — women in flowing dresses, men in summer suits, children playing croquet, servants in black circulating with trays of drinks and hors d’oeuvres, lively music wafting through the air.

And then, being the type of writer I am, I imagined a scream as someone discovered a body near the fountain on the lawn. What happened? Who died there, and why? A story started to take shape in my mind about that party, so long ago. And The Fate of Mercy Alban began.

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