The Fate of Mercy Alban

Wendy Webb, Author
Wendy Webb. Hyperion, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4013-4193-0
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Fans of Webb’s well-received debut, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, may feel let down by her similar-in-outline sophomore effort, about a legendary curse that haunts the powerful Alban family’s mansion by Lake Superior. When divorced mother Grace Alban returns to the mansion after her mother’s death, she finds letters revealing her mother’s affair with famous writer David Coleville, who committed suicide during the same 1956 solstice party from which Grace’s aunt, Fate Alban, disappeared. While searching for a lost Coleville novel she believes will clarify the past, Grace is imperiled by the mansion’s malevolent presences, an obsessed journalist and an emotionally disturbed woman who may be Fate. Hidden passageways, magical spell books, resurrections from the dead, sudden disappearances, secret births: amid a welter of gothic staples, the central ghost story concerning Fate and her mysterious twin, Mercy, gets lost. Grace, her love interest, and the privileged world she revisits are pleasant but generic, as is the rediscovered manuscript described as literary genius. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary. (Feb.)
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