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The Golden Key

2.97  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  17 reviews
An extraordinary, page-turning Gothic mystery set in the wilds of the Norfolk Fens from the BSFA-shortlisted author.

London, 1901. After the death of Queen Victoria the city heaves with the uncanny and the eerie. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.

Samuel Moncrieff, recovering from a recent tragedy of his own, meets Helena Walton-Cisneros, one
Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 18th 2020 by Titan Books
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Average rating 2.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  31 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Liz Barnsley
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed The Golden Key during it's opening chapters, atmospheric and cleverly written but after about the halfway mark I felt it got a little muddled.

It's a bit jump around in its plotting and whilst I engaged with the characters I didn't feel I got to know them enough over the course of the story.

I loved the gothic aspects of it and the beautifully descriptive Victorian era but overall it was a bit messy and the ending was a bit of a let down

Will be interested to see what the author
Feb 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
I had to DNF this one at 64 pages... I tried to read more but I just couldn’t get into it. The writing seems very stilted and there is no real sense of a plot... maybe it gets better further on but I was literally forcing myself to keep reading when I had no desire to.
Kal ★ Reader Voracious

Part supernatural, part detective story with Gothic vibes? Yes please.

I received a finished copy the publisher, Titan Books, in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my opinions.
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Feb 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
I really didn't enjoy this book. The first chapter was promising, but I couldn't get into it after that. I have no clue what happened for 350 pages long.
Vincent Desjardins
This book was a real disappointment which is a shame because it has so many elements that I typically enjoy - end of the Victorian era setting, spiritualism, seances, fairyland, changelings, mystery, spooky atmosphere, strong female character, etc. But unfortunately the book's structure seemed a bit of a mess. It was like the author had constructed a connect the dots puzzle, and probably had a good idea in her own head of what she was attempting, but she left out too many of the dots for a ...more
Doris Raines
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dan Bassett
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
1901, Queen Victoria has passed away and England is in mourning and caught up in the craze of seances and contacting those they have lost.
Helena Walton is known for her uncanny ability to find things that are lost and is hired by Lady Matthews to solve a twenty year old mystery of her three stepdaughters who vanished on the Fens of Norfolk.
However, the Fens are the land of dark magic, folk lore and the devil himself....
Why have children been disappearing? Why have some been found catatonic? And
Dawn Martin
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The Golden Key started out and remained, for the most part, very suspenseful. There are multiple stories happening at the same time, that then smash into one another. There is a fantastic combination of realism and the paranormal throughout the story. And then, at the very end, it all fizzled out. It is almost as though it was finally coming to a conclusion, however, it just raised more questions about what really happened. I am not entirely sure if this was done intentionally in order to segue ...more
Kendall Culbertson
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
2.5 stars, I think. This was a great storyline that wasn’t executed in the best way for me. I found myself having a hard time following what was happening. The writing style is lyrical but also occasionally confusing. The book left me wanting more of some things and less of others. All in all an ok, quick read.
A feminist Gothic fantasy that combines 'Alice in Wonderland' and the fairy tales of Lewis Carroll with the Spiritualist and suffragette movements in England just after the death of Queen Victoria. The author’s lyrical writing conveys an elegant sense of mystery and other worldliness.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc

I enjoyed the main story and liked Helena's characters, but some parts were confusing and the open-ending felt flat for me. I wished I knew more, because I'm still not sure yet what exactly happened at the end.
Maggie May
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
A good idea poorly executed. All of the vagueness and skipping around was obviously meant to create mystery but it just kept me from getting into the story.
Fabienne Schwizer
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to Titan Books for gifting me a copy of this book to review. This is a Victorian era novel with a touch of fantasy.

I found this book okay to read and I was a little disappointed by it but I think I just expected more. I loved the synopsis and it was the reason I wanted to read this book but having read it I believe it could have been better.
The Characters were okay, some more developed than others. I'd say the main character was Helena Walton who is a detective who is looking into the
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: titan
02/07/2020 3.5 stars rounded up. Full review tk.

02/17/2020 Check out my review at!
Sophie Farr
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Spooky, lyrical and full of atmosphere.

I've always enjoyed books that play with ambiguity – the author assumes her reader is sharp enough to use their imagination to fill in any spaces, and it always leaves me thinking about the book for longer after I've finished it.

Now I need to add Marian's short story collection to my reading list!
Caryn Shaffer
rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2019
rated it liked it
Feb 02, 2020
Katherine Stansfield
rated it it was amazing
Oct 23, 2019
rated it it was ok
Feb 04, 2020
Amy Walker
rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2020
rated it really liked it
Feb 10, 2020
Lori Stevenson
rated it it was ok
Jan 27, 2020
Dave Sloan
rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2020
S.W. Sondheimer
rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2020
Danni Jervis
rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2019
Jazz Harris
rated it it was ok
Feb 12, 2020
Kelly Van Damme
rated it liked it
Feb 13, 2020
K. Witherow
rated it did not like it
Feb 03, 2020
Lucie Read
rated it it was ok
Dec 09, 2019
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Marian Womack is a bilingual writer born in Andalusia and educated at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. She is currently completing a part-time Masters Degree in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, and recently graduated from the Clarion Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writer’s Workshop at USCD. She is co-editor of the academic book Beyond the Back Room: New Perspectives on Carmen Martín ...more
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