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The Fate of Mercy Alban

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,944 ratings  ·  1,074 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
Paperback, 344 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Hachette Books
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Jen Jenson I think that as Grace grows more nervous and scared about the situation she became more and more protective, which in turn made it feel like she grew …moreI think that as Grace grows more nervous and scared about the situation she became more and more protective, which in turn made it feel like she grew younger in age through the book. Until the ending... But if you think about it, most of the children it seems these days (I have none) are just as much coddled. (less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  6,944 ratings  ·  1,074 reviews

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Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I loved this book which contains a little bit of everything.....there is murder (more than one!), mystery, family secrets, a little paranormal activity and just a smidgeon of romance.

Grace Alban returns to her childhood home, the stately Alban House, following her mother's unexpected death, bringing along with her her teen-age daughter. Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery starting with a long ago summer solstice p
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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

Louise Behrendt Miller
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
Tanja Berg
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
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
This novel would have been better if the author had skipped the paranormal part of the tale, and used normal means to develope the plot. It’s almost like she inserted the paranormal aspect as an afterthought. The lives of the Alban family were interesting enough without making some members other worldly. And for readers who are looking for that scary demension, there just wasn’t enough. The characters seemed real enough, except for her depiction of the small town minister. He was not a typical m ...more
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...
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Five star, beautifully and perfectly written, atmospheric, spooky, engaging, strikes from page one, not a dull moment, deep family secrets, nail-biting, up-till-2am reading, fantastic book.

I loved it. I feel this book will knock your socks off. Its a wonderful read for a stormy day, curled up somewhere, or out on the beach under an umbrella. I think this is one of the best books Ive read in years.
Katie Kenig
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I love ghost stories. And haunted house stories. And stories set in old gothic houses. This is all three. And it's wonderfully done.

The Fate of Mercy Alban is a story about family secrets, set in a beautiful old mansion on Lake Superior. Well, beautiful and creepy. You see, the house is full of secret passages, little peepholes, tunnels to the beach, entire hidden rooms, and lots and lots and lots of secrets.

When Grace Alban's mother dies, in the old family manse, she heads home with her daught
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 si
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5/5 Stars

I wish I could give this book 10/5 stars! It was AMAZING. This is the second book that I've read by Wendy Webb, and let me just say that I liked it far more than The Vanishing. This was a real page turner, and I finished it in less than 48 hours. The characters were all pretty average, but it was the plot that really drew me in.

This book is like a story within a story, and both stories are pretty creepy. I was constantly on the edge of my seat trying to figure out the mystery facing the
Another solid read.

Gothic, creepy, a bit of paranormal and a horrible family secret.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 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.

L.E. Fidler
how do you solve a mystery like a haunted mansion on the great lakes?


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
Diane S ☔
Nov 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm keeping this one short and to the point. It's a gem of a story that contained everything from mystery to romance...ghosts to witches and spells. Just a perfect Gothic story. The ghost story junkie is a happy camper.
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
Years ago, Grace Alban left her family home, determined to escape the painful events that haunted her. The unexpected death of her mother brings her back to Alban House, with her teen daughter in tow. It turns out that Grace's mother had intended to tell a reporter about some of the Alban family's secrets. Was it the Alban family's curse that killed her?

As Grace tries to figure out what the next steps will be for her and Alban House and introduces her daughter to some of Alban House's more benig
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was elated to discover Wendy Webb: joining a rise in authors who create enticingly atmospheric, non crime-focused, paranormal mysteries for adults! More authors are beginning to mould ethereal-tinged novels for adventure-seeking grown-ups! I considered it the highest treat to save up and procure all three of her novels. “The Tale Of Halcyon Crane”, expectedly, earned five appreciative stars. This feedback is a little lower because two heavily-repeated writing habits throughout “The Fate Of Mer ...more
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it

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
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jessica Jeffers
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I really wanted to like this because it was a fairly unique twist on family secrets-slash-ghost stories. But then Wendy Webb revealed all the secrets by just having the old people finally admit that they knew everything all along and just didn't want to say anything sooner. What a lazy form of storytelling, and what a giant disappointment.
A solid, cozy mystery novel that I enjoyed. Please see this review for more info on how I feel about this novel.

3.5 stars, and recommended.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. (#20) The Fate of Mercy Alban 1 5 Mar 04, 2013 02:53PM  

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