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The Unseen: A Novel

The Unseen: A Novel

Written by Katherine Webb

Narrated by Clare Wille


The Unseen: A Novel

Written by Katherine Webb

Narrated by Clare Wille

ratings:
4/5 (25 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 22, 2012
ISBN:
9780062209429
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

"Occult happenings, romantic passion, and murder disrupt the peace of a Berkshire village in 1911 in this hauntingly good novel."
-Marie Claire (UK)

Katherine Webb's debut novel, The Legacy, was an international bestseller-and her remarkable second effort, The Unseen, is as gripping, thrilling, and unforgettable as her first. In this compelling story of love, deception, obsession, and illusion, the arrival of two dangerous strangers in a small village in England in the early 1900s disrupts the quiet lives of a vicar with a fascination with spiritualism and his naïve young wife, and ultimately leads to murder. The Unseen is literary suspense at its most entertaining and enthralling, truly superior fiction not unlike the captivating tales of Kate Morton and Diane Setterfield.

Publisher:
Released:
May 22, 2012
ISBN:
9780062209429
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Katherine Webb grew up in rural Hampshire, England. She has lived in London and Venice, and she currently resides in Berkshire, England. Having worked as a wait-ress, au pair, personal assistant, potter, bookbinder, library assistant, and housekeeper at a manor house, she now writes full-time.

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What people think about The Unseen

4.2
25 ratings / 21 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    This novel takes place in two times: the present day, and in 1911. In the present day, Leah is asked by her ex to help identify a World War One soldier for the War Graves Commission; a soldier who has two letters in his possession. Back in 1911, Cat Morley, a young house maid recently let out of jail for taking part in suffrage demonstrations, joins the rural household of the Reverend Albert Canning, who has recently seen fairies while taking a walk in the countryside, and his wife, Hester. Cat isn’t the only new member of the household, though; Robin Durrant, a Theosophist, has come to investigate the reverend’s fairies and enjoy an extended stay with free room and board. Everyone in the rectory has secrets and ambitions. The narrative is ruled by a feeling of tension that never seems to let up. The sultry summer weather in the story parallels the emotional landscape; the slow build up to a thunderstorm that is days and weeks in coming. Cat’s backstory is slowly revealed as she builds a future. Hester begins to learn what is wrong with her marriage. Robin is shown to be a rather different person from his public persona- pretty much everyone turns out to have hidden depths, for good or for ill. I loved this story and found myself falling into the 1911 plot line, unwilling to put the book down. Cat is a thorny person and unlikely protagonist, but I was rooting for her and I found myself trying to will her to make the right choices. The other 1911 characters aren’t nearly as vivid as Cat, although Robin comes close. The zeitgeist of the times plays a large part in the story; women’s suffrage, class distinctions, the interest in the occult; all make their mark on the characters. The present day storyline, while interesting, did not seem to add a great deal to the story. I think that it could have been told without the 2012 plot line, really. Not that I disliked it; it just seemed weak compared to the 1911 story.
  • (4/5)
    Too much information in some of the other reviews but a great book for anyone who likes historical mysteries.
  • (5/5)
    This novel takes place in two times: the present day, and in 1911. In the present day, Leah is asked by her ex to help identify a World War One soldier for the War Graves Commission; a soldier who has two letters in his possession. Back in 1911, Cat Morley, a young house maid recently let out of jail for taking part in suffrage demonstrations, joins the rural household of the Reverend Albert Canning, who has recently seen fairies while taking a walk in the countryside, and his wife, Hester. Cat isn’t the only new member of the household, though; Robin Durrant, a Theosophist, has come to investigate the reverend’s fairies and enjoy an extended stay with free room and board. Everyone in the rectory has secrets and ambitions. The narrative is ruled by a feeling of tension that never seems to let up. The sultry summer weather in the story parallels the emotional landscape; the slow build up to a thunderstorm that is days and weeks in coming. Cat’s backstory is slowly revealed as she builds a future. Hester begins to learn what is wrong with her marriage. Robin is shown to be a rather different person from his public persona- pretty much everyone turns out to have hidden depths, for good or for ill. I loved this story and found myself falling into the 1911 plot line, unwilling to put the book down. Cat is a thorny person and unlikely protagonist, but I was rooting for her and I found myself trying to will her to make the right choices. The other 1911 characters aren’t nearly as vivid as Cat, although Robin comes close. The zeitgeist of the times plays a large part in the story; women’s suffrage, class distinctions, the interest in the occult; all make their mark on the characters. The present day storyline, while interesting, did not seem to add a great deal to the story. I think that it could have been told without the 2012 plot line, really. Not that I disliked it; it just seemed weak compared to the 1911 story.
  • (5/5)
    England, 1911. The Reverend Albert Canning, a vicar with a passion for spiritualism, leads a happy existence with his naive wife Hester in a sleepy Berkshire village. As summer dawns, their quiet lives are changed for ever by two new arrivals. First comes Cat, the new maid: a free-spirited and disaffected young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the law. Cat quickly finds a place for herself in the secret underbelly of local society as she plots her escape. Then comes Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby. A young man of magnetic charm and beauty, Robin soon becomes an object of fascination and desire. During a long spell of oppressive summer heat, the rectory at Cold Ash Holt becomes charged with ambition, love and jealousy; a mixture of emotions so powerful that it leads, ultimately, to murder.My Thoughts:What a fantastic book. Katherine Webb’s first book The Legacy was good and this one doesn’t fail to deliver either.The story is in two parts, 1911 and 2011. The majority of the story is told in 1911. This book has everything: a murder mystery, family saga, fairies at the bottom of the garden, and plenty of twist and turns. This book did keep me guesssing till the very end and was shocked at who was the murder victim, I really didn’t see that coming. Cat was a brilliant character, so strong willed and determined and she knew her own mind. Robin was dastardly and a real villian. Hester was sweet and very heart warming and her husband the vicar was very silly and easliy sucked in.In 2011 Leah is uncovering the story for us with the finding of a unidentified soldier. She meets up with Mark Canning who has conections with the saga in 1911. I cannot say a lot about Leah because most of the story takes place in 1911.What the author did very well was left me in suspence as she switched from 1911 to 2011 with a cliffhanger which made me want to read faster to go back to see what was going to happen. I couldn’t wait to turn the pages but didn’t want to either as I was getting closer to end of the book. Finishing the book was sad because I feel like I have left people behind who I really liked and won’t see again.I would highly recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    Set at the end of the Edwardian era, “The Unseen” captures an England that is quickly disappearing. It is told from the perspectives of Hester Canning, the pastor’s wife, and Cat, the family’s new maid with a mysterious past. While the majority of the novel is set at the Canning rectory in 1911, pieces of the story are also told from the lens of Leah, a journalist in 2011 who is drawn to the rectory’s history by the discovery of a nearly-century-old body and a letter. Initially, the sudden switches in time during the novel are a bit disconcerting, but as Leah’s story connects to that of Hester’s and Cat’s, her tale becomes as compelling. Hester, the somewhat naïve pastor’s wife, is mystified by the odd behavior of her husband, Albert, who has become obsessed with spiritualism and the existence of fairies. His fascination leads to a visit from Robin Durrant, who studies spiritualism. Robin’s arrival shortly follows that of Cat’s, and the presence of the two newcomers affects the household in many and unexpected ways. The novel in some ways reminded me of one of my favorite authors of all time, Dickens, in its wonderful slow build, rich description of setting, and deft exploration of class differences. Cat’s character questions and challenges societal rules, particularly the role of women and classism, and casts light on the social ills that accompanied this period of history. She also serves as a vehicle to expose the secrets lying beneath the less-than-perfect façade of the rectory. Cat is a complex and fascinating character, both powerful and vulnerable, and quickly became my favorite character in the novel. It’s a novel that tackles a great deal: social ills, spiritualism, mystery, the fine line between obsession and madness. It maintains a lovely balance throughout, and made me at once want to rush ahead to find out what happened next, and slow down to savor the rich language. A delicious read.
  • (4/5)
    Summary: The vicarage of the small English town of Cold Ash Holt receives two new occupants in the summer of 1911. The first is Cat Morley, sent to be a maid for the household, despite having recently be imprisioned. Cat knows that she should be grateful to have a position at all, but is too strong-minded - and scarred by her recent experiences - to settle easily into the life of a servant, particularly when the lady of the house is so painfully naive about the realities of the world. The second visitor is Robin Durrant, a noted theosophist invited by the vicar in the hopes of capturing evidence of nature spirits living nearby. Cat is sure that Robin's smoothly charming exterior masks something darker lurking within, and he is clearly taking advantage of the fraught situation at the vicarage. But Cat is no stranger to having secrets herself, and she knows the power that such secrets hold... power that can, in the wrong hands, lead to murder. Review: This book is a bit of an anomaly: even though nothing much happens for at least the first few hundred pages, I was completely absorbed. Because if there's one thing this book has in abundance, it's atmosphere. Webb's writing is lovely, and of the sort that instantly grabbed me, and pulled me into the world of an English country summer, and then didn't let me go while it slowly ratcheted up the tension. It's very much the novel equivalent of the period before a summer storm, where everything is still and muggy and quiet, and everything is just holding its breath waiting for things to finally break. That "break" doesn't come until late in the novel, but for the most part I stayed absorbed in the slow build leading up to it, only occasionally getting frustrated that they weren't just getting on with things already.There were a number of other things I enjoyed about the novel as well. First, I was surprised (and pleased) to realize that it used one of my favorite literary devices, the parallel modern/historical timelines. The modern-day story involves a journalist who is helping an ex-boyfriend discover the identity of a WWI soldier as part of the War Graves Commission, and some letters that he has on him lead her to Cold Ash Holt. The two storylines weren't always as balanced as they could have been - long stretches spent in the historical story meant that I occasionally forgot about the modern one - but on the whole I think it served to round out the book quite nicely.I also thought Webb did a nice job handling the various secrets and mysteries that make up the heart of her story. The answers to some of the mysteries were telegraphed way in advance, but a few still surprised me, and often even things that I guessed correctly in general terms didn't play out the way I thought they would in the particulars. Overall, I think this book probably could have been tightened up in places, but it still sucked me in to its oppressive atmosphere of secrets and lies and muggy summer heat. 4 out of 5 stars. Recommendation: Recommended for people who like their mysteries tense, psychological, and atmospheric. I also think this might appeal to fans of Downton Abbey - not because of any real similarity in plot or setting (the Cold Ash Holt vicarage is a much, much smaller household), but because there's a similar element of upstairs/downstairs tension that runs through the novel.
  • (4/5)
    Oh Katherine Webb, what are you doing to me? You take some of the most delicious, fantastic ideas and put them into a story that I cannot resist and then you mix it with the most frustrating, aggravating details. But I can't stop reading and I struggle with myself because I want to give your story five stars, but then there are so many little nagging elements that drag it down for me!Okay, now that the rant is out of the way, let me tell you what I loved and what I hated about The Unseen.First of all - mystery in 1911/2011 England? Yes please. Throw in mildly supernatural elements, prim and prissy Victorian-style husband and wife, maid with a bad-girl vibe, and shyster and it's the recipe for a delicious, dark, romantic English story. What Katherine Webb does remarkably well is set her story up. I loved Cat and her addition to the household, I loved the dynamics between Hester and her husband, and the little scraps of letters which served as a catalyst to move the story forward. I loved the romance which flares up and the backbone Cat displays and the slowly unraveling story of what happened in Cat's background. Everything about each one of these things was perfectly paced and beautifully described. I couldn't ask for more.Here's what I hated though, and though these were BIG things for me during the reading, upon reflection they are just nagging, I really wish she would have done better because I believe she could have! I felt as if Webb was underestimating the intelligence of her reader a bit. The entire 2011 setting was boring, and frankly toward the end of the book I was actually tempted (although I didn't) to skim or just skip it completely. I felt as if it's sole purpose was to give us a reason to investigate the story and that the book would have been completely fine without it. There was no real resolution that made it absolutely necessary.Also I was a bit confused about how detailed a 100 year old corpse could be when it was found. Maybe I just don't know enough about corpses - so I'll leave that one be.I think a lot of the things that bothered me about this book also bothered me in The Legacy by Katherine Webb, so I'm wondering if it's just her style of writing. If you like authors such as Kate Morton, I think it's possible you will love Webb's books as well, just don't expect the same level of story-crafting that is available in Morton's books.
  • (4/5)
    This was another dual story with a historical story set in 1911 and a present day people trying to figure out the events we are seeing unfold in the past. I think these have become my favorite kind of book and this one is no exception Katherine Webb is a true storyteller, if you are a fan of her book The Legacy I know you will like this one too. If you’ve never read Katherine Webb what are you waiting for?The 1911 story centers around the Reverend Albert Canning & his wife Hester, the Theosophy “expert” Robin Durrant and new maid Cat who is fresh from the gaol but is she a murderer? a thief? Or an innocent Suffragette? Trouble is brewing in this house but does it stem from the Cannings chaste marriage, Robin Durrants overzealous belief that have infected the Reverend to such a degree it is changing his whole outlook on life or does it come from Cat and the un-asked question of what she was in prison for in the first place.In the present day story Leah is called in to help identify a body by, the War Graves Commission, the only hint to his identity are some very cryptic letters he is found with, so Leah sets out to discover who this man is and make sense out of the odd letters. Yes there is a bit of a romance here in this story but it doesn’t deter from the storyline.I enjoyed this book it really kept me guessing and when the reveal came I was a bit shocked and saddened. The characters are all very fleshed out and you did end up caring about them or hating them as the case may be. Well maybe hate is too strong a word let’s just say the majority of the men are not very likeable with a few exceptions. I had no idea what Theosophy was and was surprised it was the seeing of sprites and fairies and such. This was inspired by the famous Cottingly fairies story about the little girls who became famous for their fairy pictures which were later on revealed to be a hoax.The two stories blended very well together even though I did end up liking the historical story better than Leah’s story. I liked Cat the best because she was the one woman looking to the future and she is a Suffragette with a mind of her own and sharp tongue and not afraid to use either! This book kept me wondering and guessing as to what happened since it starts out with the cryptic letters and leaves you wondering just what happened right to the very end. It is very well written and I would recommend to fans of Kate Morton.4 Stars
  • (4/5)
    The Unseen is another time-split novel. The historical bit takes place in 1911, when a young woman with a troubled past comes to the rectory in a small Berkshire village to be a maid. Cat Morley is a spirited, rebellious girl, and she clashes with several people in the village, including the vicar and his wife, who are pretty much stuck in their ways. Then Robin Durrant comes to the village, shaking things up so to speak with his talk of theosophy and the ability to see—and photograph—spirits. In the present is Leah, a journalist who is investigating the story of all these people in the past, including that of a n unknown WWI soldier.As with all these types of novels, the historical strand is by far the strongest. Leah is kind of an archetype; she’s disillusioned with her career and looking for change. So when her ex boyfriend calls her up to ask for her help in researching the story of a unknown WWI soldier, she jumps at the chance, despite the fact that she could get hurt again. Leah is more or less a cardboard character, serving as a vehicle for the far more important story—Cat Morley’s.I had mixed feelings about Cat. On one hand, I enjoyed her spirit and independence; on the other, I thought she was a little bit whiny, acting way out of line. She also has an air of entitlement that’s not usual for servants of the time period; this is explained, but very feebly. Cat’s background story is less of a mystery than you might suppose; as soon as I read the word Holloway, I knew where the story was headed. It was an interesting time period, when things were changing; no one is more representative of this than Cat and Robin Durrant, the theosophist who essentially has Albert Canning under his spell. However, although a lot of fuss is made over Durrant’s theosophy, it’s never actually explained to the reader or why the otherwise concrete-thinking Reverend is taken in by it; and although at one point Durrant and Cat debate about it, they never get past the superficial aspects of it.Going back to the present-day narration, I thought the way that the story was revealed was a bit clumsy—Leah doesn’t actually do much research work beyond reading microfilm newspaper reports of the story and doing a bit of footwork in modern-day Cold Ash Holt. I wish the novel had abandoned the time-slip format and focused on Cat—she’s by far the more intriguing character.
  • (5/5)
    The Good StuffAbsolutely, positively engrossing - you are hooked from the very first chapterAuthor is brilliant at setting the mood and setting of the story - you really feel like you are part of the storyLoved the switching back and forth from 1911 to 2011 - gives it a unique twist Fabulous well rounded characters both in the past and the presentLots of suspense, murder and secrets with just a hint of the occultCat is a truly fascinating character - full of strength and fire, trying to fight back against the constraints of being a women in the early 1900'sKept me up late at night reading I so badly wanted to know what happenedWill definetly be looking for a copy of the Legacy by the same authorA perfect story for a cold winters night or to lose yourself in at the cottage (or beach)Loved how the two time period plots intersect without being unbelievable Could see this one being turned into a movie - has it all love, sex, murder, women's rights, past and present intersecting - fabulous stuff The Not So Good StuffDrags a wee bit half ay through - some stronger editing would have made this into a perfect 5 Dewey'sWanted to smack Hester quite a few times, but her character is very true to the women of the time Favorite Quotes/Passages"Cat serves the dinner, digusted by the luxury, the excess; the way the theosophist turns down the meat, his expression blase, sanctimonious. How many others in the world have need of meat? Cat wonders. When now it will go back to the kitchen and spoil, and be thown away and wasted because the cold store is full of this thoughtless young mans' toys.""Would you have been content if you had been told, when you were still a child; you shan't be a poet, or a minister, or a politician. You shall be a cleark in a bank. Would you have been content, never to have been allowed to try other things? Never allowed to find out what you wanted to do, what you wanted to be?"Who Should/Shouldn't ReadMystery/Suspense lovers will thoroughly enjoy this oneFans of historical fiction will also be fascinated by this4.5 Dewey'sI received this from WilliamMorrow in exchange for an honest review
  • (4/5)
    This is a book about secrets and mysteries and any manner of unseen things and I dare say there is not a character in this book that does not have a secret.The book begins with a present day mystery. Leah Hickson, a freelance journalist, is contacted by her ex-boyfriend Ryan who is working in Belgium for the War Graves Commission, a group who is tasked with identifying the many bodies of unknown soldiers that turn up every year. But this one is particularly interesting, well preserved in a bog, and he thinks that Leah might help by finding out who he is and what is the meaning of the two carefully protected letters that the dead man was carrying. And in the process gaining an interesting story for her to write.Her investigation takes her back to England and the small village of Cold Ash Holt and to the residents of the rectory there a 100 years ago, the Reverend Canning and his wife Hester. 1911 was a stifling hot summer, and the presence of the reverend's guest, the young, handsome Mr. Durrant, a rising star in theosophical circles, will make things all the more uncomfortable. Well, for everyone but Mr. Canning, who seems oddly taken with the young man and his rather strange ideas.Then we have Cat, a young servant girl who was just released from prison in London and taken in as a supposed act of charity by the rectory..and perhaps because they can get away with paying her so little. What her crime was and what she suffered in prison that effected her so much is not her own secret though, one truly surprising one that is not revealed until the last pages. And then there is the murder, of course, and where there is a murder, there is a murderer...I really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons.I liked how the book is set in these two time periods, the present day and a century ago, and while the historic one is perhaps the more important, both are very entertaining and weave together so well. It was a time when the country was on the edge of great change, a breakdown of the servant class, the rise of the suffragette movement, the Great War, that would kill so many, just around the corner and all these play some part in this story.OK, no book is perfect and yes, maybe this one dragged a bit in the last third. But it is a minor issue, because there is a lot to like about this book.There is fraud and lust and obsession and fear and love and one tragically sad death by murder, all wrapped up in not one, but two good stories. Happily, stories that are neatly and satisfyingly tied up in the end, even if many readers might wish that things had turned out differently for at least one character. Some of the secrets may be figured out earlier in the book by the careful reader. And that is fine, because I am pretty sure there are a few you will not see coming but make perfect sense once you find them out. We will find out who that forgotten, dead soldier is and why he died with those two letters in his pocket. It is a great yarn, with some very good, very memorable characters, good and bad, and a lovely setting in the sleepy Berkshire countryside, past and present, and a good story to be told.
  • (3/5)
    This interesting novel intertwines two story lines in one, unfolding a historical mystery.In 2011, journalist Leah is called upon by her ex-boyfriend to investigate the identity of a British soldier found buried in France, having died in WWI. The soldier was carrying with him two carefully preserved letters hinting at a personal mystery in his background. Leah is fascinated despite herself and travels to Thatcham, England, where she finds Mark Canning, a descendant of the letter writer. Mark is dealing with his own problems but also gets swept up in the mystery.And in 1911, one hundred years previous, Cat Morley, a free-spirited, intelligent, and vivacious young woman is sent to be a maid in the house of Hester Canning and her husband Albert, the vicar. Cat has been imprisoned and tortured for the crime of promoting women's suffrage and while she is still haunted by the demons of her experiences in gaol, her convictions are as strong as ever and she fights for her own personal freedoms as much as possible. Meanwhile Hester, despite having been married to Albert for over a year, finds herself still a virgin. Her husband, it seems, is far more interested in Robin Durrant, a charismatic young (male) theosophist who believes in fairies and has come to Thatcham to take photographs of the fairies in the water meadows outside of town--and incidentally, prove to his father that he is just as worthy as his physician brother. When these troubled and turbulent characters collide, disaster is inevitable.An interesting story, with some interesting characters and a well-researched portrait of the time period. I couldn't help but feel, however, that the story was a bit cluttered with random extraneous drama. There was a bit about assisted suicide, a bit about someone sleeping with his step-sister, the possibly-gay vicar and his sexually ignorant wife...put it all together and it starts to sound a bit soap-operaish. The story would have been stronger if the author had stuck to tackling just one or two "big issues." In addition, the story was a bit unbalanced; we see much more of the daily and inner lives of the 1911 characters and relatively little of the present-day characters. In fact, the story would have worked perfectly well with the frame device removed entirely. But those are relatively minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things. This is a perfectly serviceable novel, if nothing terribly exciting or new.
  • (5/5)
    This was my second ER book, and definitely way better than the first. It's one of those books that makes me so glad I sign up for ER books, because I might never have heard of or read this great book otherwise.[The Unseen] contains two storylines, one set in the 1900s, one set in 2011. A woman in 2011 is trying to identify the body of a dead soldier, found with two mysterious letters on him. This man, and the letters, are connected to a rectory in the 1900s that, while peaceful perfection on the surface, contains many harmful secrets within.What I especially liked about this book was how it explored how small moments, and the entrances and exits of people into each others' lives, led to deception, cover-ups, and even murder. Exploring everything from fairy photographs to the suffragette's movement to love itself, this is a book I would strongly recommend.
  • (2/5)
    I tried very hard to like this book, but I just couldn't get into it, even after 100 pages of slogging. The present day characters were dull, and the past characters were wooden and uninteresting. I couldn't get engaged with the troubled marriage of the preacher and his wife, nor the troubles of Cat, their maidservant. If you like a slow-moving mystery, this may be for you, but the pace was too glacial for me.
  • (4/5)
    A body of a young man is found in Belgium by the War Graves Commission and a young journalist is called in to help identify him. He has two letters, that have been sealed and are still readable and it is these letters that kept me reading, I really wanted to know what was hidden under the floorboards. So back to 1911 we go, to a rectory with a very naive young woman, a maidservant with a past, a cold remote maybe homosexual preacher and a young man who is a theosophist and see fairies in nature. Can't say I really liked any of the characters in the past, but I did like the characters in the present day though one doesn't get to hear that much from them. Think the book would have been better served had it been a bit shorter but it was an interesting atmospheric, rather dark read.
  • (4/5)
    Katherine Webb's second novel is easily as good as her first. I loved it! A page turning plot, vivid characters and a wonderful evocation of the life and times of rural England in 1911. Put a repressed vicar, his naive wife, a handsome opportunist and a suffragette together and what do you get? It is a love story, a murder mystery and a criticism of women's rights or rather lack of them. It is also a story about the relationships and barriers between the classes and the sexes in the time before these began to crumble. Her descriptive prose is brilliant, you can feel the hot humid weather and see the mists rising of the water meadows, as well as smell the sweat of the taverns and sense the horrors in Cat's past. It is, in short, a very good read indeed!
  • (4/5)
    The Unseen is a book about a fairy hoax, set in 1911 and 2011 Cold Ash Holt, England. Much like another author I enjoy, Kate Morton, Katherine Webb has a talent for blending past with present and telling stories within stories. I thought this book was well-written, well-researched and original. There are many mysteries for the reader to unravel and each character comes to life with his or her own personality and voice. I enjoyed the backdrop of the women's suffrage movement as well and I thought it gave the book another facet to think about. The present-day characters are the least well-thought out in the entire book and it does lean a bit more towards the story set in the past, but, on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be checking out other books by this author as well.
  • (5/5)
    This story will intrigue readers from beginning to end. It's filled with mystery, murder and romance, and the ending was a surprise. Although the story transitions between 1911 and 2011, it primarily takes place in 1911. Those who are historical fiction fans will enjoy this book, and I will recommend this book to many of my fellow readers.
  • (4/5)
    I liked the historical elements of this book. There is a mysterious feeling that runs throughout the storyline of this book and leaves you guessing as to what is going to happen next and about the characters' pasts. The story did tend to drag in some areas but overall a good book. I enjoyed the characters and thought that the author did a good job developing them. It's hard not to care for the characters and for what happens to them throughout the story. The author tells a good story and I will definitely read her other books in the future. Highly recommend this book if you like a little romance, with intrigue with a hint of mystery all mixed in.
  • (4/5)
    I have read and enjoyed the Legacy and was keen to read this one. The book takes place in both 1911 and 2011. Leah is contacted by an old boyfriend and asked to help solve a mystery and find the identity of a dead soldier. The soldier has two letters on him which intrigue Leah and indicate a mystery and she is keen to find his identity. The search takes her to a sleepy English village and the Rev Albert Canning and his wife Hester. During the summer that the story takes place two new arrivals come to the village. Cat Morley, is a young woman recently released from prison after a minor run in with the law, and Robun Durant is a leading expert in the occult enticed to the vilage by tales of elemental beings in the fields nearby. Hester is a kindly naive young woman. Her husband meantime becomes entirelyy caught up in Durant's work. Cat herslef finds love and a place for herself in the village and plots her escape. Leah goes to the village and meets up with Mark Canning a relative of the family and works with him to solve the mystery.The book was full of intrigue, mystery and even murder. It was well written and kept me interested right to the end. It painted a very real picture of life in the village at that time. I felt quite sad at the end of the story, for how things turned out for some of them.
  • (5/5)
    I had previously read The Legacy by Katherine Webb and whilst I enjoyed it, I felt it was missing something. However, The Unseen definitely makes up for it, and then some. I thought it was an absolutely riveting read from start to finish.It's the story of the vicar and his wife, Albert and Hester Canning, their new maid Cat Morley, and their new house guest, Robin Durrant. I loved Cat, she's such a strong-minded character, involved with the suffragette movement and so striking a blow for women everywhere. Her exchanges with the hugely overweight housekeeper, Mrs Bell, never failed to make me smile. Albert and Hester are newlyweds and very young, and Albert finds himself totally in thrall to Robin, a theosophist looking for elemental beings in the water meadows. The effect this young man has on the household is catastrophic.The author manages to portray the stiflingly hot summer very well, and uses beautiful prose to describe the surroundings in the small village of Thatcham in Berkshire. I really had a strong sense of the area and how oppressed the characters felt.There is a dual time narrative story, even though it's not mentioned in the synopsis. The main part of the story is set in 1911, but 100 years later in 2011 there is the story of Leah Hickson, a freelance journalist who is trying to find out the identity of a WWI solider. This is an outstanding read. Towards the end every chapter appeared to be left on a cliffhanger, leaving me desperate to get back to it, and I felt quite moved by the end of it all. It's not a thriller (despite the murder), but it certainly thrilled me.