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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Audiobook review of The Seance' by John Harwood

John Harwood

Narrators:  Fiona Hardingham, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren

Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins                 
Format: Unabridged                                                            
Release Date:01-02-14
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.                            
Program Type: Audiobook

 For a girl, growing up in the Victorian era has its own difficulties, but for Constance Langton things are far more ghastly than properly worn bustles and guarded reputations.  Her mother is in an everlasting state of mourning over the loss of her youngest daughter Alma and her father is as detached, cold and indifferent as a wet fish.  Forlorn, Constance makes a desperate attempt to bring her mother peace by arranging a séance’ which leads to Constance finding herself all alone in the world.

An unexpected inheritance befalls her in the form of an old, dilapidated and crumbling mansion with an ominous history.  Constance becomes obsessed with disentangling the web of peculiar and eerie happenings the mansion has held for several generations and in doing so, finds her mind on the precipice of insanity and her life in mortal peril.

The author, John Harwood, does an excellent job of portraying the female character in this Victorian setting, which makes it easy to identify with the characters and follow the storyline with eager interest.  The twists and turns of the mysteries surrounding the mansion and Constance’s life bind into a clever, believable conclusion.  

I listened to the audio version of the book and I felt the narration was good although it did take me a bit to warm up to one of the narrators.  There is one scene in particular where I felt the narration was too loud (even though shouting was taking place), but overall the multiple narrators introduced in separate parts worked quite well. 

The story does take its time to build, but is worth the wait.  I would recommend this book for its grasp of the era, the intricate story that beseeches being pieced together along with it skillful narration.

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