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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Seance

Harwood, John. The Seance.

A suspenseful and atmospheric Gothic "ghost" story complete with visitations, moldy old mansions, dark woods, secret passages, seances, and a monk.

This ARC arrived just as I finished Blink, and I couldn't resist picking it up and beginning it, even though I had several other books in "the stacks." I thoroughly enjoyed it; a perfect antidote to nonfiction.

The story is presented by three different narrators (reliable?). Constance Langton's narrative opens and closes the story. After Constance inherits Wraxford Hall, the story moves back in time and the other two narrators relate past events.

I had a few questions that bothered me, mostly after I'd finished the book, but nothing interfered with the Gothic pleasure experienced during the reading. It was great fun, and I was not ready for it to be over.

Truthfully, I was a bit surprised because I didn't care much for Harwood's The Ghost Writer, although it was certainly well received elsewhere. The Seance makes me eager for the next John Harwood.

Also reviewed at A Girl Walks Into a Book Store

Fiction. Gothic/Supernatural. 2008. 328 pages.


  1. I recently read this and enjoyed it. Thanks for the review!

  2. I just finished reading The Man in the Picture. It started well, nice and creepy, but ultimately fell flat. So now I'm looking for a good scary story. This new sounds really good.

  3. Katherine - It was just the right book to arrive at the right time!

    Nicole - I really enjoyed The had a little of that 19th century, Wilkie Collins feel. But much shorter :)

  4. Isn't that a wonderful, evocative cover? I have The Ghost Writer somewhere in the stacks and it seems to have gotten some mixed reviews. I'd still like to read it one of these days but this one sounds really good!

  5. I actually sort of liked his first book--not a perfect read, but I remember finding it entertaining. This one,however, looks great! I have it ordered from Amazon and am watching the mail for it to arrive! I'll be digging into it right away.

  6. Iliana - I do like the cover! The photograph is called Angel at the Sepulchre by Julia Margaret Cameron.

    Danielle - This one is a great Victorian Gothic - hope you enjoy it!

  7. I have this on my stack, too, and am glad you enjoyed it--makes me want to read it now!

  8. A little like Wilkie Collins, only shorter - sounds good to me.

  9. Gentle Reader - I enjoy a little supernatural, Gothic mystery now and then. Post when you review, and I'll add the link!

    Booklogged - :) Wilkie Collins, Gothic Master.