The Seance

The SeanceJohn Harwood’s The Seance is the first book in a while that I’ve bought going only on the cover art and description on the back cover.  In true librarian style, I tend to read online reviews and see if any professional journals (Booklist, Publishers Weekly, etc) reviewed a book.  This one did have a Booklist blurb on the front cover so that made me more confident in purchasing it out of the blue.  I was drawn to the cover art with the ominous tree and the house in the background through the haze.

I love ghost stories, and Autumn always puts me in the mood to read them.  The Seance is about Wraxford Hall, a gloomy mansion with a dark past.  Constance Langton finds out that a long lost relative has left Wraxford Hall to her.  She embarks on an ill-conceived journey to the house to perform a seance and find out the truth about the home’s mysterious history.

Harwood is quite adept at crafting a gloomy gothic Victorian-era mystery.  The story slowly unfolds in the form of letters and journal entries until you find out that nothing is quite as it seems.  I devoured the last 100 pages in no time, anxious to find out the truth about the house and Constance’s family history. 

The creepy Wraxford Hall, the foggy moors, and the English countryside all are described so that the novel has a very gloomy atmosphere perfect for a gothic suspense novel. 

I highly suggest this novel if you are looking for a good Halloween read.  I look forward to reading Harwood’s other novel, Ghost Writer, soon.


8 thoughts on “The Seance

  1. i’m glad you enjoyed it. I want to read The Ghostwriter as well.

    I loved the writing and the atmosphere, I was definitely a little uneasy reading it in the beginning, but I thought it lost focus a bit as it went on. It pulled it back together toward the end, but by then I like it a little less.

    • I agree that the book lost focus somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t until the end that it turned into a page-turner.

      I almost felt that the romance Eleanor had before Magnus could have been left out. It didn’t really help to move the plot along at all.

  2. Ooooh this sounds good! I like ghost stories too but I’m always a bit apprehensive about picking one since there are so many rubbishy ones out there. I like the cover too.

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