Review: The Temple House Vanishing

Title: The Temple House Vanishing
Author: Rachel Donohue
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: July 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

An Irish Bestseller and finalist for the Irish Book Awards Newcomer of the Year

Louisa is the new scholarship student at Temple House, a drafty, imposing cliffside boarding school full of girls as chilly as the mansion itself. There is one other outsider, an intense and compelling student provocateur named Victoria, and the two girls form a fierce bond. But their friendship is soon unsettled by a young art teacher, Mr. Lavelle, whose charismatic presence ignites tension and obsession in the cloistered world of the school.

Then one day, Louisa and Mr. Lavelle vanish without a trace, never to be found. Now, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the disappearance, one journalist—a woman who grew up on the same street as Louisa—delves into the past, determined to uncover the truth. She finds stories of jealousy and revenge, power and class. But might she find Louisa and Mr. Lavelle, too?

Told in alternating points of view, The Temple House Vanishing is tense, atmospheric, and page-turning . . . with a shocking, ingenious conclusion.


Louisa was a scholarship student at Temple House, a Catholic boarding school on the edge of a cliff. She became friends with Victoria, an intriguing girl who had a close relationship with their art teacher Mr. Lavelle. One day, Louisa and Mr. Lavelle vanished without a trace. The school soon closed and the case was never solved. Now, 25 years after they disappeared, a journalist begins her own investigation into what really happened to Louisa and Mr. Lavelle.

This was a slow burn thriller. It was told through alternating perspectives, from the journalist in the present and Louisa in the past. This provided an outsider view of the investigation and Louisa’s firsthand account of what happened in the months leading up to her death. Though it wasn’t fast paced, it was an unpredictable story in this format.

The writing was very descriptive. The settings were all described in detail, so I felt like I was right there with the characters. Boarding schools are one of my favourite settings in books. Temple House was the perfect, spooky setting for this story.

The Temple House Vanishing is an evocative thriller.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Have you read The Temple House Vanishing? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

One thought on “Review: The Temple House Vanishing”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: