In the Vanishing Hour

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Pub Date 19 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 12 Sep 2022

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Massachusetts, Summer, 1951: When a boy drowns in the Charles River, a family is devastated, and the town of Norumbega is changed forever.

Eight years later, Frances Adams lives in the shadow of her dead brother, Mac. At her window dresser job, she befriends model Gwen, whose resemblance to Frances inspires her to reinvent herself.

When Gwen vanishes into the river, Frances becomes obsessed with her memory. She transforms herself into Gwen’s likeness and feels an identity she has not felt before.

An investigation begins, and the police question three men. Frances and her friend Iris follow them to the riverside park, where one of the men—the suspicious Harris—mistakes Frances for Gwen. Intrigued by the idea of haunting him, she continues her secret pursuit, immersing herself in the case.

As the mystery unravels, shocking revelations about its connection to a long-past family tragedy come to the surface. Set in the haunting atmosphere of 1950s and 1970s New England, IN THE VANISHING HOUR weaves suspense and mystery into a story about loss, identity, and the secrets best left untold.

Massachusetts, Summer, 1951: When a boy drowns in the Charles River, a family is devastated, and the town of Norumbega is changed forever.

Eight years later, Frances Adams lives in the shadow of her...

Advance Praise

"The entwined historical narratives of In the Vanishing Hour unfold with graceful, pensive ease, forming a portrait of coming of age in small town New England, illuminating the struggle for identity independent of place and circumstance. In the process, Sarah Beth Martin weaves two seemingly disparate mysteries into one, exposing just how often we allow our life’s trajectory to be chosen by our darkest secrets. A shimmering, unforgettable journey of truth and self-discovery.

—Gillian French, Edgar Award nominated author of Sugaring Off and The Lies They Tell

"The entwined historical narratives of In the Vanishing Hour unfold with graceful, pensive ease, forming a portrait of coming of age in small town New England, illuminating the struggle for identity...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781645993926
PRICE $4.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 25 members

Featured Reviews

This was an impossible to put down book! I loved every haunting moment of this book. Will definitely be recommending to everyone I know and meet!

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Detailed story telling is the catalyst for this remarkable book about the depth of the human spirit. I was instantly taken in and enjoyed it immensely.

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Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for this ARC.

In the Vanishing Hour is set over two timelines, twenty years apart, both laced with mystery and death.

I did find the start a bit slow, but I think that's expected when establishing a foundation for two mysteries and found myself engrossed with the second half. I did however guess one of the reveals as there were a few clues hinted at.

Overall, I'd recommend reading this mystery - it allowed me to escape into the 1950s and 1970s and into a small town with intrigue, loyalty and secrets.

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4.5 rounded up
Loved the characters. So realistic and endearing. Great story with haunting atmosphere and lots of twists and turns. Quick read, couldn't put it down. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book

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I found In the Vanishing Hour a difficult slow to get going read.. Once i had got into the story i found it an intriguing tale that went between two timelines with plenty of twists and turns.
Well worth reading if you can get past the early part of the book.
Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for my early copy.

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In the Vanishing Hour is definitely a gothic tale full of mysteries both civic and familial. This is not a light of heart read. The story kept me going because I could not predict where the author would take me. It was such a tragic story with a bittersweet ending.

The story unfolds over 3 time periods that are often interwoven. The complexity was challenging for me until the majority of the oldest story was laid out. The telling then shifted to primarily the more recent past with a few chapters of the present mixed in. I appreciated that the author left some clues that allowed the reader to figure out parts of the mysteries while keeping some of the answers to the major mysteries until the very end.

This is a great read for fans of Realistic Fiction.

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Such a well crafted novel, compelling enough to pull you through and very quick read. I enjoyed it so much from the first page till the end.

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Sarah Beth Martin's In the Vanishing Hour reminds me of a longer Alice Munro story. It's a slow burn of a story, where the plot is laid out, and the characters are introduced over two timelines. We know they will eventually meet and somehow one will hurt the other, but how will soon be revealed.

Harris and Frances are growing up outside of Boston in the late 1950s. Frances works as a dresser at the local department store. She lives at home with her parents and deals with the grief of her brother's death years before. Harris is a few years older and works at the local hardware store and reluctantly hangs out with his bad boy friends, The Lizards.

Frances briefly meets Gwen, a new model at the store who resembles her. Gwen was kind, much nicer than the others. She shared a moment of kindness with Frances, giving a few makeup tips and a smile. Then Gwen vanished.

Harris suffers with stress and guilt for weeks, eventually leaving town for a better life. In a future timeline, Harris has returned and is working on a new construction project that brings back the secrets of that past.

This is a story of lost people and small towns. It's about grief and guilt, and lost innocence and hope. This is beautifully written and I could have read 100 pages more about both Frances and Harris.

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In The Vanishing Hour is such a great mysterious and haunting story.
When more than one person mysteriously dies in the same way people start to take notice. Frances meets a man, Harris, who seems to be connected to these disappearances, one being her brother. Do others see the connections, could it just be a coincidence? Frances will not stop until she finds answers.

The characters are really caught my attention. We get the opportunity to see them introduced over two timelines, a favorite viewpoint of mine. The story line and writing are great. The authors way of describing the characters and the story line kept me interested in what was going to happen next.

This is a great book for anyone who loves a story with twists and turns. I will be recommending it.
Thank you NetGalley for the arc.

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A quiet, beautifully written mystery that I read in one sitting. I was immediately endeared to Frances and enjoyed her POV chapters the most. I loved the setting, which added to the overall atmosphere of the plot. Five stars!

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