Kelly Hager's Reviews > The Seance

The Seance by John Harwood
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May 10, 10

Read in March, 2009

This is a hard book to describe, so I'm just going to steal the jacket description:

"Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constance's sister, the child she lost. Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a seance: perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a bequest that will blight her life.

So begins The Seance, John Harwood's brilliant second novel, a gripping gothic thriller set in late Victorian England. It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villains--and murder. For Constance's bequest comes in two parts: a house and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared at Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside with a sinister reputation. Now the Hall belongs to Constance. And she must descend into the darkness at the heart of the Wraxford Mystery to find the truth, even at the cost of her own life."

I didn't really like this book. I had planned to get the author's first book with whatever bookstore gift certificates came my way, but I don't think I will now. This could've been really spooky but the author's writing style is really dispassionate. Sometimes that makes things even scarier, but in this case, it just made me not care what happened to the characters.
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