Review: The Golden Key by Marian Womack

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 of London’s most reputed mediums. But Helena is not what she seems and she’s enlisted by the elusive Lady Matthews to solve a twenty-year-old mystery: the disappearance of her three stepdaughters who vanished without a trace on the Norfolk Fens.

But the Fens are a liminal land, where folk tales and dark magic still linger. With locals that speak of devilmen and catatonic children found on the Broads, Helena finds the answer to the mystery leads back to where it started: Samuel Moncrieff.

This is a book that needs time dedicated to it. Some books I find I can pick up and put down in the small gaps of time I find to squeeze in extra reading, The Golden Key wasn’t one of those books. I read the first couple of chapters in the bit-by-bit style but I was loosing track of the characters and getting a little lost. However once I sat down and gave this book the time it needed I found myself wrapped up in this hugely atmospheric and eerie tale.

The writing is quite fluid and the jump between characters isn’t always immediately obvious and can take a paragraph or two to pick up on, however for this story I found that worked as it added to the slightly uncertain, mysterious feel of the book.

If you enjoy stories about paranormal activity and don’t need all the answers this is a book you’ll enjoy.

The cover is also absolutely gorgeous, invoking the reeds of the Norfolk fens in sweeping golden stalks.

With thanks to Titan Books for a copy on exchange for honest review.

The Golden Key is available now.

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