Monday, February 2, 2009
Review: The Seance, by John Harwood
In 1888, Constance Langton inherits Wraxford Hall from a distant relative, and she is told by her solicitor, John Montague, to burn the Hall sight unseen. He, and the journal of Eleanor Wraxford, tell a story that features mysterious ghosts, a sinister suit of armor, several owners of Wraxford Hall, who go missing under bizarre circumstances, and murder. Constance then goes to the Hall to take a look about—and to take part in a séance in order to find out what really happened in the old house many years ago.
I enjoyed this novel, much more than I did The Ghost Writer. The creepiness factor of this novel was enough to set me at the edge of my seat, reading on in anticipation of what would happen next. Highly atmospheric and disturbing, this book features all the best of Victorian ghost stories—an ancient, abandoned house, overwhelming fog, lightening, and that creeping sensation the reader gets when evil lurks.
My only problem with this otherwise excellent novel is that the ending is a little bit expected—the reader is practically told early on what the outcome will be. And what about the legend of the mysterious ghost that is said to haunt Monks’ Wood at night? I felt that that plot element was abandoned a bit by the end of the novel. But in all, a deliciously creepy novel. Definitely don’t read this book before going to bed at night!
Also reviewed by: A Garden Carried in the Pocket, A Work in Progress, A Life in Books, S Krishna Books