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The Trembling Hills

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,107 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Sara's childhood has been haunted by dreams of a candlelit figure glimpsed in a mirror. She now decides to follow her true love, Ritchie Temple, to San Francisco. But Sara could not know about the terrors that were in store for her.

When lovely young Sara Jerome moves to San Francisco, she is filled with anticipation. Not only does the man she has loved since childhood live
Published June 1956 by Prentice Hall (first published 1956)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,107 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to finish this in one sitting. It was that good. What I enjoyed about the story the most, was how Whitney tied the San Francisco fire into the narrative.

Also, I am a bit of a sucker for Gothic novels.
Moonlight Reader
This one was just all right - the suspense/gothic part of the book is very limited and only really appears at the very end of the book. I liked the main character, and the setting - during the 1906 earthquake & fire, was interesting, but the actual gothic part of "gothic romance" was seriously lacking.

This cover is awesomesauce, though.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: up-to-2012
I set the scene about character tested in the most epic manner possible. Phyllis's classic entails: a missing Father, outcast Grandmother, and a recurring dream so strong... it may be a real memory.

Sara and her Mom join an old friend in San Francisco, USA. All her life she has tried to solve a childhood nightmare that ends before it shows the conclusion. Encountering her birth home in this city, she thinks she might be able to trigger the whole dream to play out. But it is April 1906 and disaste
Terri Edwards
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another Whitney winner! Such a wonderful author, with a sense of place and atmosphere and a smooth, flowing writing style. Whitney made writing seem effortless!
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love the great Phyllis Whitney. I have read some of her books many times, this one included. Often I get tired of a genre and I just need something different to read and I grab one of her novels. This one is set in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake and fire. Her descriptions of these events are so intense that you feel like you are there. Excellent story.
Mike Garzillo
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic-romances
A great San Francisco Gothic romance set before and after the 1908 earthquake and fire. Her insight into the insurance industry and its role in the drama is unique. She turns The City's mood into a character. If you're into Gothic romances and/or San Francisco you should read this one.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was my very first Phyllis Whitney novel and is still probably my favorite. I've always been a sucker for historical fiction. She only did a few in that genre. Most of them are contemporary romantic mysteries. Still, I believe I've read and enjoyed everything she's written.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
More mystery then romance... It was the story surrounding the grandmother and what had occurred in the past. I really enjoyed it. This is my first Phyllis Whitney novel, and I will definitely read more...
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than anything else I've read, fiction or non, this made me feel the most like I was actually there for "the big one." The quake, rather than being just the backdrop, is actually a character. Odd, frightening, but a very vivid -- and, all in all-- likable book.
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the two most favorite books of Phyllis Whitney the other being The Moonflower. I read this book when in high school and have a copy still and when I want a quick read to take me back I re read this one.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
kept hoping there would have been a sequel. Once I started reading I could not put it down.
Rena Holcomb
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-2012
Wonderful story and great writing blend with history of San Francisco in 1906. Thought I had read all of Whitney's book years ago, but turns out, I had not.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sarah
Not at all like her other books. It was interesting though. I thought I had read this but I realized I hadn't. It's like another of her books about the Earthquake.
Deidra Bowling
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
the book kept me wanting to come back for more. there was always something changing and leaving you hanging I loved it.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable!

Set in San Francisco during the Great Quake, this is a story of how personal experiences change how we perceive our lives. Sarah is the main character who learns that prestige and having the finer things in life aren’t as important as they seemed. Nice story from beginning to end.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
This was the last book that I wrote down as having read in 1969. I'm sure I read
many more books that year but I must have gotten too busy to write them down after this one.
I don't remember the book but I was definitely into romantic suspense along the lines of
Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart and Dorothy Eden. However, looking back, my favorite of these
authors was definitely Daphne du Maurier.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary DiGrazio
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my all time favorite Phyllis Whitney book. I can't tell you how many times I've read it because it is a book I get in the mood to read nearly every fall since I was a teenager.

Julie Martin
This was the book that got me hooked on Phyllis A Whitneyand the first one of hers I read it is still one of my favourites!
Rachel Clifton
it was good...but i don't know...i was just expecting something different when i picked the book up.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Phyllis Whitney is always enchanting for me. Her mysteries are not deep, but they do resonate. It kept me turning the pages and took me to another America, a new America. Very pleasant read.
Diana McMinn
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
not my favorite but still very good!!!!
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sara's childhood has been haunted by dreams of a candlelit figure glimpsed in a mirror. She now decides to follow her true love, Ritchie Temple, to San Francisco. But Sara could not know about the terrors that were in store for her.

When lovely young Sara Jerome moves to San Francisco, she is filled with anticipation. Not only does the man she has loved since childhood live there, but her father, who left mysteriously so many years ago, came from San Francisco. She feels certain that now she will
I have no idea how long this book had been on my shelves. It was first published in 1956 and I needed it for a reading challenge and so was happy to have it so easily accessible. Unfortunately, the poor book disintegrated as I was reading it...I'm glad it didn't turn out to be a favorite!!! The book was fine and I was never bored with it but it just seemed to be rather formulaic. I particularly enjoyed the historic portions that talked about San Francisco at the time of the earthquake and fire t ...more
This was a lot better than the one other Phyllis Whitney book I read, though it still didn't...really thrill me. The writing and the historical setting were generally pretty good—the scenes depicting the San Francisco earthquake and fire itself were probably the most interesting—yet the characters and their relationships all seemed rather by-the-numbers, never really coming alive as living, interesting people for me. And the solution to the mystery part includes some pretty Gothic-cliche element ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this return to one of my favorite genres. However, I thought it could have used more suspense throughout, rather than just at the end. I thought some of the final occurrences were a little too contrived, and I'm not sure that the protagonist made reasonable choices. Glad to have read it, not the best I've read. Language, especially Ah Foong and his dialogue, a bit dated and borderline offensive.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The dated way the story is told took a bit of getting used to. But it gets more intriguing as the book progress into stuff like family alliances, live & marriage, old-world norms and mores, and even hints of chivalrousness. I love the details of fashion (the protagonist is a gifted seamstress) and the background the story is set in (early 1900 San Francisco).
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story, definitely not great. The story just brushed up against the Mothers reason for never telling her daughter about her heritage, touched lightly on the daughter’s lifelong love for a young man she grew up with but lost to another. The secret her mother was so afraid of , really wasn’t so horrible.
No depth to story at all.
Well, this was better than expected in that it was more nuanced and complex. Interesting look at San Francisco in the days and months after the earthquake and fire of 1906. The characters grew and matured, the scene of the story was dramatic, and the horrible dream had a plausible explanation. A good tale well told.
Linda Stevens
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Phyllis A. Whitney mystery.

I have enjoyed these mysteries for years. I discovered them when I was in my 30s and I still enjoy them in my 70s. Phyllis was able to hold readers with believable characters, real locations and situations that many of us have experienced. I still have many to go.
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Trembling Hills storyline 4 18 Nov 03, 2013 10:14AM  

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Phyllis Ayame Whitney (1903 – 2008) was an American mystery writer. Rare for her genre, she wrote mysteries for both the juvenile and the adult markets, many of which feature exotic locations. A review in The New York Times once dubbed her "The Queen of the American Gothics".

She was born in Japan to American parents and spent her early years in Asia. Whitney wrote more than seventy novels. In 1961