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The Fate of Mercy Alban

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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  3,352 ratings  ·  619 reviews
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
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Hachette Books (first published 2013)
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35th out of 399 books — 884 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mutantreptile
Character 1: "I know everything that's going on! You will understand everything...but first I have to wash my hair. "

Character 2: "I want to find out because my family is in danger, but we don't know why. All answers are apparently in this old manuscript, but I can't read this if the minister isn't here so I can flutter my eyelashes at him!"

Swiss Doctor: "You're in danger, but I can't tell you why because I have other patients to see."

And no one says anything because they are always too busy doi
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Mandy
Well....I have some serious issues with this book.

I wanted to love it. I really did. But I feel like it aimed too high. It wanted to be serious literature, when really, it's nothing more than a mass market paperback in disguise. A cosy mystery dressed up as a ghost story.

Problems I had...

1. The romance is so, so contrived, and one of a hundred things that was simply unbelievable. It starts abruptly, and the end up in bed together relatively quickly, even though he's a minister...really? Has the
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Barb
May 25, 2013 Barb rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: gluttons for punishment
I'm amazed by the favorable reviews of this book. I'm disappointed that I was lured by M. J. Rose's quote "If Sarah Waters and Stephen King had a love child, it would be Wendy Webb!" I'm going to try very hard in the future to disregard author quotes promoting books. I've known for years that many of them are friends who travel in the same circles and are happy to write up a nice blurb for a fellow author's latest book. I'm offended on behalf of Sarah Waters and Stephen King by the comparison of ...more
Karen
It was a dark Friday night when I started The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb. I would have easily finished it that one night if it wasn’t so scary that I really wanted to pull a Joey and throw it in my freezer. Since it was a library book and also since I am a grown up, I decided just to put it down until the morning. I did have some chance to read it in the morning but due to a friend pulling me out of my reading cave for some social time I was forced to finish reading it that night- a night ...more
Louise Behrendt
I am stumped as to why this book has received an average of four stars. This was a very average "ghost story" that seemed to be set in a house that sure seemed like the Congdon Mansion in Duluth. One star for that. Plus it seemed like the family was loosely based on Congdons themselves,no stranger to occasional murder and arson. One star for that, equalling two. Beyond that, I really wanted to like this book by a local author who seems to like to write these spooky/mystery/big old house on the G ...more
Kelly
One and a half stars is my true rating because I alternated between not liking it and thinking it was ok. I really, really wanted to like this book. Clearly it was based on the history of the Glensheen Mansion which I have visited a few times so I found that aspect intriguing. It hinted at ghosts and mysterious pasts and writers, all good elements in my favorite kind of spooky read. I kept with it only because I wanted to know what the ultimate outcome was.


Ultimately, the bad writing did me in

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Amy
Wendy Webb’s latest novel, The Fate of Mercy Alban, should come with a warning label; from its opening pages readers will find it impossible to not read this book in one sitting. The plot is filled with tantalizing twists and turns that will keep readers turning pages until the many mysteries of this novel are resolved. Grace Alban and her teen aged daughter return the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior after her mother’s sudden and unexpected death. After an absence of twenty ye ...more
Shellys♥ Journal
Grace returns to the family mansion on the shores of Lake Superior following the passing of her mother. She reexamines the tragedies that drove her away and confronts the family curse. Meanwhile an aunt long thought dead shows up with a nosy reporter ready to expose all of the families secrets. Grace needs to get to the bottom of what happened on the night her aunt disappeared so many years ago.

Oh Wendy Webb, I wanted to LOVE your book. I did. As a girl who grew up on the shores of Lake Superior
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Diane S.
This was a perfect book for reading during a snowstorm with the wind howling and the fire dancing. I love that authors are still writing ghost stories that do not depend on enormous amounts of gore and body parts. Just the words "Hospital for the Criminally Insane" sends shivers down my body. Don't think they are called that anymore, at least I don't think they are because of our new renaming of everything due to political correctness. Good solid story, of course one has to suspend whatever they ...more
Erica
There's nothing I can say about this book that hasn't already been said in all the other one- and two-star reviews, and probably said better.

If I had to write a synopsis, it would look like this:
Grace Alban, a not-too-bright, rich, white woman who may have been influenced by B-list '40's noir movies, becomes embroiled in a melodramatic and drawn-out episode of Scooby Doo only without the Mystery Machine & Gang.
Ian
description

After the death of her mother in mysterious circumstances, Grace returns to her childhood home, a home she fled many years earlier. But strange happenings are afoot and with the help of the local preacher she investigates the suspicious death of a writer and the disappearance of her mother's best friend which happened 50 years earlier. As she searches for answers, the evil which haunts the halls is toying with her and those she loves.

The Fate of Mercy Alban is a Gothic Horror in the style of Dap
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Lauren Fidler
how do you solve a mystery like a haunted mansion on the great lakes?

sigh.

look, it's a truth generally acknowledged round these parts that i'm a wimp. so, while i'm sure if i read this book in the broadest of daylight that i would have found it annoyingly cheesy, i didn't. i read it in the pitch black of night when everyone else in my house had the good common sense to be sleeping.

how's that for being born under a bad sign?

i'm not in love with any aspect of this novel. the names annoyed me, grac
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Rita
More reviews : Sun/Salt + Letters

So, I am a chicken, in a big, BIG way.
That said, I would never pick this book up in a book store, just because of the whole ghost story thing..
That's why I'm so thankful to Goodreads giveaways.

I just loved it, it's very creepy, but not being too much..
Pacing starts picking up after introductions are made, but I could not put this down. Read it in a couple of days and that was only because I had no time to read in one sitting.

The romance is not very good, but sin
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Mary
This was the first book I've read by this author. I was attracted to the cover, and I'm a sucker for a good Gothic mystery, so I gave it a read. It was very good. While I can't say it kept me guessing til the end it was still very compelling and well written. The story line was intriguing from modern day and the past told through a found manuscript worked really well. I will definitely be reading more of Ms Webb's books.
Stephanie Mohler
I would love to live in this house- a mansion on the lake w/secret passages and rooms. Unfortunately, the book wasn't very good. The most interesting character dies in the 1st few chapters and we're left an unscary mystery that spans several generations, a stupid heroine, a gross romance between heroine and the local reverend, and a bratty teenager. Just not good...
Tanja Berg
Rating 4* out of 5. I considered deducting a star for slightly amateurish writing, a few too many clichés and a couple of plot holes - but I didn't. All in all the mystery is well-built, the dramatic tension is fantastic and there is definitely a full score for entertainment. I thoroughly ejoyed it, despite my initial misgivings.

Grace Alban returns to her childhood home upon her mothers death. The family is filthy rich, to put it mildly, and the house is huge. However, Grace has stayed away for
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TamraLyn Grace
Oh my freaking gosh! This is my favorite book so far this year. On a scale from 1 to 10 I would give this book an 11. I don't know whether to classify Fate of Mercy as a mystery or suspense, but I definitely classify it as a must read.

Fate of Mercy grabs your attention and never lets go. There is just enough suspense to make your heart beat harder and enough peace to not terrify you. They are sprinklings of beautiful romance and a real mother daughter relationship.

Wendy Webb has done a wonderfu
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Kristen
Dec 28, 2013 Kristen marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-read-gothic
I am 2% into this book and already have been yanked out of the story a number of times, by terrible cliches, and by words and phrases evoking ridiculous stereotypes. It's like there was no editor.

"...placing one hand, wrist slim as a reed, across her forehead..."

Adele is "brittle" and "unsteady" and yet without apparent cause other than being 70. Is the author 18 years old? Because 70 is hardly the advanced dotage she makes it out to be, at least not without an associated medical condition.

The
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Ashley
Overall, I greatly enjoyed the mystery of this story. It kept me on the edge most of the time...but at a certain point a little over halfway through, it became pretty predictable and too drawn out. Also, the daughter, Amity, really detracted from the story. I rewrote quite a bit in my mind to make the novel bearable. First, I have a hard time believing Amity was 16. In order to finish the story without being annoyed I decided she could really only be 10 years old based on her behavior. Additiona ...more
Laura Jordan
I bought this book for two reasons.: to support an independent book store and because it was written by a MN author. I would actually give it a solid two and a half stars, though. The writing isn't anything special but it takes place in Duluth and that was a selling point for me. Storyline is ok but not the suspense I was hoping for. The clerk at the bookstore actually recommended a different novel by this author but I chose this one after reading the jacket. Maybe I should have gone with her re ...more
Melanie
As many other mentioned, this book can be one you read in one sitting because you can't put it down. However, I did so in the hopes that the book would get better or the ending would be worth the effort through the weak and choppy parts, but alas that was not the case. The book is touted as a ghost story, but there are no ghosts, but instead witchcraft to "explain" the happenings. This element just didn't work and completely killed the mystery. We're supposed to believe that after Mercy came bac ...more
Luanne Ollivier
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 influenti
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Cheryl
Grace Alban and her daughter, Amity return to Alban House. For Grace, it is a sad homecoming. Grace’s mother has passed away. Her mother’s death has people wondering has the Alban curse struck again?

Grace makes funeral arrangements with Pastor Matthew. Strange things start happening in the house. Grace together with Matthew’s help investigate the Alban curse. Will Grace be able to handle the truth?

Wendy Webb is a new to me author. I love to discover new authors. After reading this book, I plan t
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Apalen
"The Fate of Mercy Alban" by Wendy Webb is one of my new all-time favorite books that I just finished reading tonight. It was one of those books that you don't want to put down and find yourself wanting to read all day. As my step-mom put it, "It's one of those books that you wish you hadn't read yet because then you know what's going to happen." I started it just two weeks ago and would have finished it within a few days if I actually had the time to read that I wish I had. I would find myself ...more
Lighthearted
The Albans have been the talk of the town for decades. One topic in particular refuses to go away — the evening of the Alban’s Solstice party in the summer of 1956. David Coleville, a famous writer, committed suicide in the garden and Fate Alban disappeared. Fifty-some years later, a journalist is in town, asking questions.

Grace Alban was born several years after that fateful night but she has her own reasons for shunning the family home. Her mother’s death brings her back to the mansion on the
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Natalie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin
This was my favorite Wendy Webb book thus far! Creepy old house, secret passageways, family secrets, old manuscripts unearthed, ghosts...what's not to like?! I have read some of the other reviews, and I know that there were complaints that said it was too unbelievable, the way everything happened and panned out. Well, you know what? It's a ghost story. It is also a novel. It's not supposed to be real ;-) That little bit of information was for free.

Webb has a way of sucking you in from the very
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Kathryn
When I realised what this story was actually about (a ghost story), I was surprised when I realised I was enjoying it - a little creeped out at times, but generally enjoying it. I don't normally read ghost stories - if they're good enough, I'll probably be scared and if they aren't good enough, then they're just ridiculous. This one walked the fine line very well - it was just plausible enough to fit within the bounds of semi-believability (is that a word??) for me, scary enough that I decided l ...more
Cindy
OK I'm debating between 3 and 4 stars for this one and I decided on 4 because I enjoyed reading the entire book.....that is until answers were revealed. Revelations provided did not match the portrait painted of characters in this book.

(view spoiler)
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Jonathan Stewart
Nice story in the Gothic tradition. Reminded me of old Victoria Holt novels. Beautifully bound, nice art and texture to feel. Lots of twists to the story which held my interest through most of the book, though felt slow at times. Some of the author’s language seems a bit trite. But good personification to the house. I almost felt as much empathy as I did the character. Creepy and entertaining.
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WENDY WEBB's novels are mysteries about long-buried family secrets, set in big, old haunted houses on the Great Lakes.

THE VANISHING (2014, Hyperion) is the story of Julia Bishop, who takes a job as a companion for a famous novelist, who the entire world thinks is dead. When she travels to the novelist's remote estate, she begins to suspect her too-good-to-be-true job offer is exactly that.

THE FATE
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More about Wendy Webb...
The Tale of Halcyon Crane The Vanishing Phobias: Stories of Your Deepest Fears Insel der Schatten: Roman

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