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The End of Temperance Dare

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Haunting and atmospheric, The End of Temperance Dare is another thrilling page-turner from the author reviewers are calling the Queen of the Northern Gothic.

When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.

But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows―including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks―she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows—and herself—from sinister forces.

316 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 6, 2017

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About the author

Wendy Webb

8 books2,341 followers
WENDY WEBB's novels are mysteries about long-buried family secrets, set in big, old haunted houses on the Great Lakes.

THE END OF TEMPERANCE DARE (2017, Lake Union) is set in a former tuberculosis sanatorium on Lake Superior, now a renowned retreat for artists and writers. When Eleanor Harper takes the helm as its new director and her first batch of visiting artists arrives, she begins to suspect this isn't going to be the restful retreat she thought it might be.

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 OF MERCY ALBAN (2013, Hyperion) is an Indie bestseller. It's the story of Grace Alban, who returns home after 20 years when her mother dies under questionable circumstances on the very day she (the mother) planned to reveal the truth about a tragedy that occurred during a party at Alban House long ago. A packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript by a famous novelist lead Grace to the haunted truth about what really happened that day.

Wendy's first novel, THE TALE OF HALCYON CRANE (2010, Holt) was an IndieNext Pick, a Great Lakes Great Reads Pick and a Midwest Connections Pick. It won the prestigious Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction in 2011, and was a finalist for Le Livre de Poche's Prix des Lecteurs award in France in 2012.

A longtime journalist, Wendy lives in Minnesota.

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5 stars
3,032 (36%)
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3 stars
1,647 (20%)
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119 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 29 of 815 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,414 reviews77.5k followers
June 29, 2017
When I first spied this book as a pre-order on my kindle, I knew I had to learn more about it. The description yelled READ ME and sounded so incredibly different than most anything I've read before published by Lake Union that I literally could not hit the request button fast enough on NetGalley. Fast forward to this week and I finally was able to carve out the time to read it. I was gripped from the very first chapter; I've not read a book by Webb before but I've heard from all over how well she writes suspense. This was made clear as I was completely consumed by this novel; I couldn't put it down! I was thinking about it during all my waking hours and dreaming about it in my sleep. I had a few parts figured out, but I was chomping at the bits to find out what would happen in the end.

If I could break my rating down for you, here's how it would look: 1-80% of the book: 5 STARS, 81-100% of the book: 3.5 stars. The only problem I really had with the book was the big conclusion; while it was simply a matter of personal preference and nothing on the author's quality of writing, I found the ending to be a bit cheesy, like something out of a B-rated horror film. The entire book up until that point had been a subtle horror, which I find more gripping and terrifying than that of the gruesome stories made to gross out the reader. Aside from this minor detail, I can't recommend The End of Temperance Dare highly enough! I fell in love with the characters; they felt so real that it was a little depressing having to say goodbye to them. I'm pleased to say I enjoyed this read very much and will definitely be checking out more from Ms. Webb very soon.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,690 reviews14.1k followers
June 19, 2017
Many of us as readers have our guilty reading pleasure. For some it is lighter reads than we normally read, maybe bodice rippers, but or me it is ghost stories. Not so much cheaper horror but ghost stories set in spooky settings. This one fit the bill nicely. Set on the shores of Lake Superior in a building that at one time was a TB sanitarium, it is now an artist's retreat. In the past though it was a place where many died or were waiting to die. It was owned by the Dare family​ and in this book the first director not carrying the Dare name will find her hands full when a group of artists are in situ, all having ties to the past of this home, and will read involve a happening from 1952.

Chilling and creepy in parts, obvious and corny in others, but I did enjoy this though of course one must disband their beliefs if one is to enjoy this genre. I try to be honest in my reviews and some of the dialogue, especially near the end was over the top, both dramatic and corny, so I rated this a three. Since it is the type of escapist fiction I do enjoy, for my own satisfaction I am secretly rating this a four.

Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews695 followers
August 17, 2018
Eleanor Harper has spent her life as a crime journalist facing some of the most horrifying incidences, so when she suddenly starts to have severe anxiety and fear it confuses her. No longer able to do her job, Eleanor is fired and applies for a position at Cliffside Manor as the new director of the renowned artist's retreat. Eleanor had once previously visited the manor to interview Penny Dare, the current director, about the death of her father and sister. Through out the years she felt drawn there, and often thought about the Cliffside Manor. Hoping to start over Eleanor arrives at the manor but soon after her arrival things begin to happen that make her question why she had been brought there in the first place.

I actually got really into the story until the ending . Not sure why but up until that point I was much more creeped out but the plot just kind of lost me from there. Before that though my skin crawled reading about the things happening. I guess the ending just felt like a little much for me to buy also the author never explained how . The book is an enjoyable ghost story and I think my rating is closer to 3.5 stars than 3, I just didn't like the ending, and a lot of it was predictable.
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews986 followers
June 6, 2017
A creepy and atmospheric tale. This is one to curl up with on a stormy night. You might want to keep a light on, though. You never know what's lurking about...

Eleanor Harper is ready for a change. She's spent most of her life as a crime reporter, but it's finally getting to her. She just doesn't have the heart for it anymore. When she learns of a tempting job opening, she's excited. A long-time director of a retreat for artists is finally retiring. It's quite a departure from her journalism, but someone has to keep the gorgeous old place on Lake Superior running... why not Eleanor? She feels such a pull to the place, and hopes meeting the current director, daughter of the man who started the place, will give her an edge on the competition. Soon, she's headed off to start a new life.

She thinks she knows the director a bit, but she doesn't know Cliffside Manor. Now it's an exclusive retreat for artists, people that come to stay for a few weeks to work on their craft without being bothered. The history of Cliffside Manor is not so glamorous. It was once a sanatorium for patients with tuberculosis. Some recovered, but many died there, wasting away from the terrible disease.

Can a house store memories? Soon after Eleanor arrives, she feels a sense of foreboding. Though the manor and grounds are beautiful, she fears them. She can't wait until the next group of artists arrives for their stay and brightens up the place with chatter. But after they arrive, she begins to think the old lady chose this final group for a reason...

Some light romance, lots of chills, and a very absorbing story. My first Wendy Webb read, but it won't be my last.

I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Lake Union Publishing, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Shainlock .
716 reviews
September 15, 2021
This book had a slow start, but definitely started to speed up in the middle and begin to burn faster. I thought the last half was worth it, though, I thought that it could have gone a bit faster or had some of the slow bits taken out.
It was great writing despite some of the absolutely corn-filled and gooey dialogue between Norrie and a couple of her peers / customers (?).
I’m glad despite the yuk yuks that I did stick it out; however, because the end was a good one even though I thought it was rushed. Some of the slow build up could have been taken out and been added as substance to the end. The story would have been much better balanced.
Profile Image for luce (tired and a little on edge).
1,417 reviews3,397 followers
April 15, 2019
★★✰✰✰ 2 stars

I was hoping that this would be a 'guilty pleasure' of sorts or a cozy Gothic story...I wasn't prepared for such a cheesy and badly written story. This book was unintentionally funny.
The start of this novel was interesting enough, and the first few chapter showed potential.
Soon, however, I started to notice a few things that ruined any possibility of my liking this novel.

I don't like to be too critical about someone's writing skills but here there was an abundance of cringe-worthy descriptions and phrases which seemed to belong to a piece of fanfiction I wrote at the age of 14, which was far from great (quite the opposite in fact, it was terrible, my main character was perpetually 'narrowing' her eyes...something which Eleanor does as well).
-The main character repeatedly 'winces' at her own thoughts (wince appeared in different forms—ie. winced, wincing—for a grand total of 25 times)
Characters were squinting so much that I started thinking they were all having some sort of attack or that they all need to go to specsavers and get some glasses (the squinting count is up to 50, I kid you not)
✖ There were those cheesy he/she 'smiled a sad smile', 'smiled a broad smile' or 'smiled a warm smile'
'I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding' appears twice (once isn't good, but twice? Really?)
✖ Talking of breaths, the main character takes approximately 20 ‘deep breaths' (I get that she is scared and trying to calm herself down but we don't need to know that she is trying to slow her breath down every single time...)
✖ The men in this book kept scowling, winking and they must be mutants or walking torchlights since they keep 'flashing' their eyes and grins at the main character.
✖ In one scene Harriet 'pipes up' 3 times. W-H-Y

✖ The whole thing was incredibly ludicrous. Really? I'm supposed to feel satisfied by such a hackneyed plot? Nothing much happens but after seeing a creepy dollhouse the main character is convinced that the place is haunted. Sure.

✖ It took me awhile before I realised that the main character is supposed to be around 40. She behaves and sounds like a teenager with no experience whatsoever. She keeps telling us that she used to be a crime reporter but I just couldn't believe it. Her character has no history, no substantial past. She seems a barely formed being with no foundations beneath her surface. Her stupidity was infuriating, nearly as much as her habit of blushing when in the vicinity of a man. She is a pantomime. When she has a bad thought she 'shakes [her] head, as if to shake the feeling away' and she isn't capable of thinking things through or of articulating a thought that isn't related to her attraction to two random men.
✖ The other characters do not speak or behave like people. They seem like play-acting children.

Eleanor is surprised by her instant attraction to two different men: 'I truly didn't know what to make of my attraction both him and X'. She has to tell herself that she can't like them since she 'had just met' them (she has this thought often). They both start calling her Norrie hours after their first meeting.
And then...this happens:
“There was an energy, a sense of magic that vibrated in the air around us, my body vibrating with it. My peripheral vision blurred as thought the room had fallen away, disintegrated into dust, and there was nothing in the whole world except [his] eyes.”

I have a limit for cheesiness...

I hope that the main character isn't called Eleanor as an homage to Eleanor from The Haunting of Hill House...there were a few moments which seem 'borrowed' from Hill House. Mmh.

This book strings together the most glaring clichés. From the corny writing style to the sloppy romance...it was just bad.

Read more reviews on my blog
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,932 reviews771 followers
June 6, 2017
As a BIG fan of haunted houses did The End of Temperance Dare really appeal to me. I mean an artist retreat that used to be a tuberculosis sanatorium? Count me in!

Now, this book isn't particularly scary, but it's interesting, atmospheric and well-written. I like that one really gets to know Eleanor Harper and that not everything happens too fast. It's not like the story is boring, the pacing is even, and we get to follow Eleanor as she learns the ropes of being the new director. She has hardly settled in before something unexpected happens that will change everything for her and the retreat and after that, well strange things keep happening. But, is the place really haunted?

The End of Temperance Dare is the first book I have read by Wendy Webb and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. Not that I did not expect to like it, rather I hoped that the writing style would work for me since the story seemed so interesting. I think Webb did an excellent job with the descriptions of the retreat and its surroundings. Also, I came to like Eleanor Harper and I didn't even mind the kind off triangle drama that she got caught up with, even though I personally found the "impossible" romance more interesting than her flirtation with the photographer. But, that's me, a sucker for the doomed or unusual romances.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
June 9, 2017
I feel like my life has sunk to a new low. This is one of those books that makes you question all your life choices. I feel like I was on a tall bridge, threatening suicide, and then someone said 'yes, kill yourself.' So I did and now I'm in the Hell of having read this POS.

I can't even think of one good thing to say. In this book, we get a stupid woman, insta love, triangle love, and everyone complimenting the stupid woman. She's 40 something and she's chasing after these two guys, who she spent MAYBE 30 minutes total alone time with, determined they're her true LOVE. We even get fucking electric sparks when she touches them. She's basically acting like a smitten 16 year old.

Wait, I thought this was the adult horror genre I was reading!

The mystery was ridiculous and very simple. You see through the mysteries instantly. It took her the whole fucking book to realize Nate's story didn't add up -- all it took me was a minute and basic arithmetic. Then we finally get to the mystery (after she's chased the two guys around like a horny teen) and the "evil" is laughable. It's like the most cliche version of evil, complete with evil laughter and telling the girl all the details.

JFC. The saddest part is is that, no, I didn't die when I jumped off that bridge and now I get to live with the memory of this festering shit pile. This is one of the very few books I'll go through the trouble of returning.
Profile Image for Zuky the BookBum.
591 reviews301 followers
July 12, 2017
DNF @ 35%

I was really looking forward to this one. It was classed as a mystery horror, doesn’t that sound just so perfect for me? Unfortunately there was too much wrong with this book for me to be interested in delving into it any further.

My first annoyance with this book was how clunky the writing was. Nothing flowed particularly well, and even though some of the descriptions were well done, it didn’t do anything to help the overall feel of the novel.

Eleanor Harper is a grown woman, yet she talks like a moody teenager.

“You shouldn’t have come here” …

“Well actually I was asked to come here, so I think that you’re wrong.”

I mean really?

Plus, can I also mention that she meets a man outside in the early hours of the morning and is then suddenly in love with him? Running around holding his hand the next day, when she should be paying her respects to a dead woman. I have never had any experience with insta-love in books, but here we are, I’ve had my first taste, and it was bitter.

I actually put this book down for over a month and thought, maybe I should pick this one up again, give it more of a chance… within the first 5 minutes of reading Eleanor used the phrase “Where did he get off?” and I deleted it from my Kindle.

Thanks to Netgalley & Lake Union Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review. Sorry I didn’t like it!
Profile Image for Nikki Joyce.
183 reviews65 followers
October 1, 2018
4 you-had-me-at-TB-sanatorium stars!

I love all things old and spooky. So a book about an old, creepy tuberculosis sanatorium turned artists' retreat? Yes, definitely. Sign me up!
The End of Temperance Dare is the story of Cliffside Manor. Eleanor Harper, former reporter, becomes the new director at Cliffside, where writers/painters/poets/etc. come for weeks at a time to enjoy a quiet, peaceful retreat to focus on their work. But, as you can image, being a former tuberculosis sanatorium, Cliffside has a very sad and dark past. Eleanor and her first group of artistic fellows soon discover that their time at Cliffside is anything but peaceful and pleasant.
I really enjoyed this book. I read it off and on over the past two-three months, and it was a book that was very easy to pick right back up where I had left off. It was a fun, easy read (fun in an eerie, haunting way!). This was my time reading Wendy Webb, and I definitely look forward to checking out more of her books.
I would recommend to anyone who enjoys ghost stories and mysteries.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
3,208 reviews547 followers
July 22, 2017
Picking this book off of the new shelf at the library just because of the cover, I am perplexed how to react, and more so how to rate it. At one time I had a dress just like the girl's and loved those style sleeves with the dip in the middle. This book??? It's fantasy? It's romance? It's neither? It's horror or a ghost story? What it is FOR SURE, is unreliable. And not only in the narrator.

People could easily rate this anywhere on the scale of 1 to 4 stars, IMHO. And I could understand why depending upon their imagination level factors. Or maybe not that at all but dialogue banter improbability of belief levels? Well just say this; you need to be able to swallow huge gloats of either hubris or sentimentality or/and particularly insanity.

But it is all covered like a chocolate coated nut. So you would NOT get the inner morsel cognition of what you read until the end if you quit it half way. You may guess in dozens of accurate directions but you most probably won't be able to chew that entire piece of candy to any degree. So I can thoroughly understand the number of DNF readers for this one. But I also would not take their reviews as whole piece evaluations in any way except perhaps as a temporary reaction to not being able to take some of the dialogue as possible. Telling you why and anymore to detail will give you spoilers to the whole. Talking about any of the under characters will give you even more. So as long as this book became, if you like ghost stories then read it until the end or don't start it. Great ghost stories are those where you know far more of the whole picture than you do with this one and because of that the creepiness factor explodes way, way too late and never gets the repulsion and power it deserves. It could have been so much better and succinct!

So here we go- and know FIRST OF ALL that I thought it was a 1 star in some ways. And I know that for others who love the girly type romance/ picnic basket date or The Haunting kind of reading druthers, readers of those two persuasions- it could be for some readers, nearly a 4. For me, it was a 2.5 star but I did round it up for the scope Wendy Webb attempted. Few would go there.

Saying that- she is NOT a Shirley Jackson, but she did try. Way too long, and much too verbose for the underpinning of the story itself, IMHO.

It's a ghost tale done to a blown out scale. Kind of like what the Ten Commandments movie did to the story of Moses. (Many of you won't understand that, I do realize how dated that comparison is.)

But the narrator's eyes are kept steady throughout and the order of the book telling is 95% plus chronological in order. And nearly all the characters in the book have back up stories that are being "heard" by Eleanor, the narrator woman who has come to head the establishment in her new job.

Taking place in a stunning estate that is now an Arts haven (grants for solitude and fraternity to produce music, poetry, fiction, painting etc. etc.) which for many years and in origins was a TB rest and isolation facility. And all is on the shores of Lake Superior, several beaches and forests complete the estate itself, it isn't just the main building which housed the TB ridden, dying inmates.

It gets a 4 for the placement locale and the creepiness factors. Both are large, but deem smaller and smaller in scope for importance to rating the longer the book goes on. They did for me, anyway- because there is so much inappropriate and far-fetched emotive and "chance to meet" events/criteria that follow. Which just didn't "fit" with the job or the whole agenda for supporting fine arts production in this set up. But then, I like creepiness developed well but am always cynical when romance becomes adolescent flippant and silly cloying in description. Nate was always, from the very first meeting, a no-go persona or back story for me. For one thing, I can add and know the math.

But those of you who may hold patience to irrelevant conversation- much banter is beyond/ improbable for a 40 year old woman who was a crime investigator journalist and doesn't fit in her "eyes"- might enjoy this large scale ghost story more than I did. If you quit this one early or mid book, you'll not get all the red herring side trips and likey-poo affection that is out of place. You'll think that is just romance padding or chick lit prose to set Eleanor's choices and moods? Or that she is basically a ding-bat.

This is closer to a 2 star for the end product, but I'm giving her a 3 star for trying. TB sanitarium were ripe placements for these type of tales in every single creepy and dire category you can imagine. This one went really, really wide with that and added some extra mean. So know you are not getting a Manderley personality / emotive match of conflict- but a much closer "copy" to the folks who do those prison and "crazy" house Haunted House probe shows which now appear on a couple TV channels. Just featuring a lot more words. But it also has a housekeeper in prime character position, as Rebecca did.
Profile Image for Sara.
172 reviews15 followers
June 17, 2017
5/5 Stars!

This may be my favorite Wendy Webb novel to date. It definitely had the most fleshed out plot and characters of her four books, and this one was WAY creepy. It was like Rose Red with possession. Eleanor was a fantastic narrator, and I loved figuring out the mystery of the Dare family and Cliffside Manor right there with her. I had a feeling about the story the whole time, but I had no idea such a crazy twist was coming! I recommend all of Webb's books, they really are fantastic, but this one is especially good.
Profile Image for Carla.
Author 1 book4 followers
June 19, 2017
WOW! Just 100% knocked my socks off WOW!!!

I am really at a loss to explain how amazing this book was. Wendy Webb is a true magician weaving creepy ghost stories together. I've read all of her books and while I loved each and every one of them....this one by far is my favorite.

One of the best books I've ever read!
Profile Image for Zainab.
382 reviews483 followers
August 7, 2017
I can't....I just can't read any more of this.
I've tried but this is just too much.
The main character Eleanor makes the most decisions I'm honestly surprised at that. She meets a total stranger in the middle of the night in a creepy place and all of a sudden she's in 'love'. She acts likes a total teenager.
The book itself is annoying. I'm honestly embarrassed to say I was excited to read this.
Profile Image for KBookblogger.
162 reviews13 followers
April 25, 2020
Oooo this was a PROPER old fashioned ghost story and i LOVED it. The beginning may have been a little slow but once the story got going, i just couldn’t put it down! There were some parts that gave me some serious chills - for example - “They just lay in the grass, lifeless as dolls, their limbs askew, their faces frozen” - p4.

And - “I was not prepared for what i found. It was a playroom. The cracked and chipping faces of at least a dozen dolls now antique... A tea set was placed on a small table in the corner, two stuffed bears sitting on chairs around it, waiting to be served...” - p96

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!” - p210

I added this book to my favourites : ) 5/5

Profile Image for QHuong(BookSpy).
665 reviews430 followers
February 1, 2020

I just can’t believe that I took so much effort to try to finish this book! It didn’t deserve my attention at all. I dnf this book right when a charactet admitted being a ghost! What a stupid idea! What a stupid plot! I couldn’t handle more craps from this book so I had to stop - I had to keep myself sane enough to read other much better books than this stupid book!

Okay, the main character - Eleanor Harper. According to the book, she was a very talented and experienced reporter who investigated crimes and mysteries for many years. Yet, I didn’t see any of her aforementioned talents as a reporter when there was such a big mystery happening in Cliffside Manor. How about the quick decision should have been made and some kind of methodologies to apply? Was she a real reporter? She was so dull and stupid. I felt nothing toward her. Absolutely nothing. All she had done in this book until the point I stopped reading was following orders from someone else (who shouldn’t have been such power) and daydreaming about love and romance with that “someone”. Yes, you guess right, that someone is the famous photographer Richard, who was mentioned in the synopsis of this book. I didn’t complain anything about him. He is actually a very nice enough character and is a typically self-confident and arrogant guy who knows his impact on women, especially, our lovely lady Eleanor, whom he called with dear nickname “Norrie” (uhhh I felt so nauseous). He is well-developed and surprisingly responsible for what happens in Cliffside. Eleanor, on the other hand, is supposedly the director of this retreat, but she is such a useless, weak-minded and silly woman who spends time gazing and fantasizing about that handsome Richard, while before the arrival of the fellow artists, she had developed some infatuation with the nice doctor in residence, Nate.

I thought this could have potentially become a very intriguing thriller with many possible outcomes, one of which could have been the culprits are real humans and there is nothing related to paranormal. Instead, what the author chose to do was to decide that one of the characters in this book is actually a ghost, and what is troubling the guests staying in Cliffside is from a supernatural force that originated from the haunting past of the Dares in this house. And I can’t feel any fear when reading this book. There is nothing scary at all. Eleanor just drove me crazy with her incompetence and her ability not to focus on what is important. The guests were threatened, but it didn’t happen until the final third of the book - there is no high stakes to keep me engaged. And even on that occasion, their lives were still intact, nothing threatened their lives! Eleanor was so frightened, and she had to rely on the reliable Richard to save her.

I didn’t finish this book, but I know it would turn out so horrible that I didn’t even care to know. Stupid characters, no story whatsoever.
Profile Image for Desiree.
451 reviews15 followers
September 10, 2022
Another book landed in my ever-growing pile of books dumped for content. I tend to read (for the most part – there are a few exceptions you may see in my GoodReads “Read” list) clean fiction embedded in traditional values. While I support ever author to write whatever the heck they want, I do object to editors and publishers forcing various points of view into a book, simply to meet some arbitrary quota. While I can’t ever prove that’s happened, sometimes I get that “feeling”, you know?

This one ended up on the discard pile at page 175. Prior to that I was enjoying the suspense, the mystery, the spooky, Agatha Christie, Daphne DuMaurier, and Cornish coast-like setting. Also – a tuberculosis center – that’s just not something you hear about anymore – thank goodness!

But… red flag at page 7 where we see mention of a “serial killer preying on young boys.” Kept reading, though. Got all the way to page 174 and – yep, you guessed it – a character unnecessarily mentions his husband of 70 years. No plot point reason for it that I could discern. And the discard pile grows.

Anyway, I fully support the author to make whatever choices they want, but this one just wasn’t for me and my followers who look for more classic scenarios.

Adding an extra star for getting that far in the book and still enjoying it. It was well written and I am still intrigued by the mystery involved and wondering what happens. I especially appreciated the gothic writing style.
Profile Image for Katyana.
1,440 reviews180 followers
March 18, 2019
This was a really gorgeous gothic / horror story, and I enjoyed it very much (despite the big twist being very predictable).

It was a rich, compelling read that was atmospheric and impossible to put down.

Profile Image for Eva.
47 reviews4 followers
May 1, 2020
My book browsing came to a screeching halt when I found the description for The End of Temperance Dare: haunting and atmospheric? Set in a former Tuberculosis sanatorium with a dark past? Written by some woman who managed to achieve royal status by being called Queen of Northern Gothic? Of course, I had to read this! My book brain starts drooling immediately when reading anything about haunted whatever or gothic so-and-so.
And it all started quite alright: the prologue was creepy enough, the weather seemed to be set on constant rain and dark clouds and the staff of the former sanatorium had the right doses of "what-is-she/he-hiding?". I was willing to ignore the not-so-great writing and the rather awkward dialogues, but slowly the annoyance over the main character and her behavior overshadowed my enjoyment of the haunted house tropes (creepy old dolls, creepy old dollhouse, creepy reflections in the mirror and so on). Plus: the mystery about the fancy-meeting-you-here-in-the-middle-of-the-night doctor from next door, really wasn't a mystery at all. As a reader, you really wish you could stand next to the heroine and point out the obvious and do so immediately, instead of having to read almost the whole book till she finally catches up! And on top of that, it all went downhill from there. Granted, it was almost the end of the book, but the whole big showdown with the evil thingymabob was just plain ridiculous. What a shame.

Profile Image for WitchyKiki.
51 reviews4 followers
November 19, 2021
60% DNF. Pass.
I was contemplating not writing a review because I don't like being overly critical, but I read a good portion of it and felt like my time was wasted if I didn't voice my thoughts, so here we go.
The writing is just bad. And I say this because I've read other books by Wendy Webb and her writing has been spectacular, descriptive and vivid. This book just had much more of the same, it even begun like a lot of her books. A traumatized woman driving to a different place to start her life. That is fine, this is her writing signature and that's what we're here for.
But... How many times can the main character suck in a breath, narrow her eyes and, fall in love with a random guy who is 45 but looks 20. We also get a lot of descriptions of the character going up and down the stairs, having breakfast, going through papers, taking a walk into the forest, and basically doing a lot of nothing. She is a retired reporter who just took over managing a mansion, for some reason. Yet, nothing. What is her job? She doesn't work, if anything she acts superior to everyone and worse of all is the wording Wendy Webb uses to describe the staff of the household. This is what bothered me the most. Straight off the book we get words towards the staff such as: the help, servants and minions. The wording is disturbing and privileged. This really isn't a gothic ghost story, but rather a story of a lady being 'waited on' by everyone else. Does that have a genre?

Pick up The Daughters of the Lake instead, that one is worth the read.
Profile Image for Lolly K Dandeneau.
1,834 reviews230 followers
April 17, 2017
via my blog https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
“Death lived within these walls; she could feel it hanging in the air, as tangible as the fog outside.”

Eleanor Harper, as fate would have it, has become the director of an artist’s retreat at Cliffside Manor. That the place and it’s grounds were once ‘a waiting room for death’ (a sanatorium housing adults and children infected with tuberculosis) may well be the reason this ‘peaceful manor’ is anything but. Is it possible suffering clings to the surfaces or is it something more malevolent? Nervous about her inexperience, this change in career is what she needs, as is the escape from her former life as a crime reporter, dealing with the most heinous, viciously murderous crimes. She is beyond burned out and run down, could that be the reason she feels uneasy? Maybe her mind is playing tricks on her?

Nothing could prepare her for what happens to the woman that hired her, nor is she in command when the artists arrive. Eleanor isn’t sure what’s solid, her imagination must be running rampant, seeing things differently than they are, as they would be in the past, an uneasy feeling consuming her from the moment she stepped through the doors of Cliffside Manor. It’s on her now, and she cannot fail. There is an instant attraction to one of the men, a photographer named Richard, but something about the manor’s resident doctor whom she meets prior to the arrivals has her mystified. A wicked force begins to torment the group immediately. As she learns more, she soon realizes everyone chosen, including herself wasn’t random, but just what was Penelope Dare up to? Did she set them up, have nefarious intentions? Why did Penelope have faith in her and leave so much to her, a veritable stranger really? The author plays with a fascinating subject of tuberculosis and sanatoriums then sprinkled in a bit of horror and romance for good measure creating this strange concoction of a thriller. While I enjoyed it, I really wanted more focus on the tuberculosis patients as a haunting and while they have a part in the story, I just didn’t like the evil seed so to speak. I was sold on the terrible heavy sorrows of a place people went to die, all of that would be foreboding and haunting enough but the child… well… that’s my one sore spot here.

Now, the romantic interests… it was creative but the reactions any living person would have would be less ho hum. The revelations were passed over much too fast for my tastes and accepted a bit too easily. But I don’t want to give away the story-line. It’s strange because it’s a thriller, romance, horror, supernatural story and yet not fully any of those things. Any fan of ghost stories and investigative haunting knows hospitals, sanatoriums, and mental asylums have such breathtakingly heavy stories that it seems if there were a place to house tormented ghosts this would be prime real estate. Such abandoned places stand as foreboding shells of their former lives, and what scarier setting for activity and terror? The author picked the perfect atmospheric setting and for whatever reason, throw a lake in and it’s raises the spook factor. Water and ghosts just go together. Creepy children always raise of few hairs on the arms don’t they?

It’s a good little story, while I wasn’t horrified, it was fun. It takes a lot to scare me though and I nitpick horror stories. I think when you have seen too many horror films and know too many ghost legends you scoff at everything. There was just enough to keep me reading to find out what the heck was going on.

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Lake Union Publishing

Profile Image for Jennifer.
920 reviews27 followers
May 16, 2017
I absolutely loved The Tale of Halcyon Crane and The Fate of Mercy Alban, so when I saw there was a new book out I was very excited to read it. This book did not disappoint, there was the right amount of mystery, throw in some ghosts, a spooky house that was once a TB sanatorium and always seems to be foggy and a creepy girl who could kill people and you get a great read.

Eleanor is now the director of Cliffside, a retreat for Artists and Writers. On the same day she arrives, Penelope Dare, whom Eleanor is taking over for, commits suicide. Naturally people will be arriving shortly for their retreat. Of course strange things start happening. People are found in catatonic states with garish makeup on their face, ghosts are seen through camera lenses, dolls are found in rooms and children can be heard.

I loved the ending when you got to find out what really happened to Temperance, Penelope and Chamomile. I definitely recommend this book and Wendy Webb's previous books.

Thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Wendy Webb, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,038 reviews11 followers
May 22, 2017
If you frighten easily at all, do not make my mistake and read this book in the dark in an unfamiliar house. Wendy Webb's latest Gothic style mystery is set in a repurposed tuberculosis sanitarium in the North Woods, where Eleanor Harper has just begun her new position as the director of Cliffside's artist retreat program. Very quickly, she finds herself out of her league as the new challenges of the position compete with a sense that something is very much so not-right at the house. The tension in this book builds slowly, letting the reader experience growing discomfort and distrust along with Eleanor, until the dramatic conclusion. The influence of stories like Rebecca and The Haunting of Hill House is clearly evident, but Wendy Webb continues to show that she is one of the modern masters of the style.
Seasonal style readers, take note of this one and save for the fall! It is a satisfyingly eerie read.
Advance e-galley provided by Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debbie.
1,751 reviews96 followers
May 31, 2017
3.5 Stars There are a lot of strange happenings going on at Cliffside Manor when Eleanor Harper arrives there to take over the director's position. She notices strange things and feelings of impending doom and this is even before things start happening.

First off, the outgoing director commits suicide the night after Eleanor takes the reins. Her note, while strange leaves no doubt it was her decision. Then, other strange notes start appearing. There are noises, things moving - all the ghostly phenomenons.

The upstairs bedroom (the former director's rooms) and its adjoining rooms are really creepy. One looks like a playroom and it has a rather large dollhouse that looks just like Cliffside Manor. Are you getting goose pimples yet? I am.

An entertaining, creepy, haunting, very strange ghost story that I wish to thank Lake Union Publishing and Net Galley for the opportunity to read. This review is my honest, unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,783 reviews58 followers
March 31, 2017
The setting in a TB sanitarium that was turned into an artist's retreat was suitably spooky. I remembered The Pines TB Sanitarium outside of Shreveport that had a pretty eery atmosphere, and I became curious about the "white plague" of tuberculosis that killed so many people prior to the discovery of streptomycin. I had no idea how many people died of TB before 1952.

Although the plot had promise, it deteriorated into silliness and the too long conclusion dragged.
July 11, 2017
Wow, just wow. I adored this book. It was creepy and deep and brilliant and so Webb. She has such a way with building a sense of time and place. She knows how to bring out the creeps with such a stunning story. She can grab you, and engage you and make sure that the reader is left fully satisfied. You will have thrills, you will dream about the story and it will leave you craving more. Another brilliant read from a master of the Gothic tales.
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