1901. After the death of Queen Victoria, England heaves with the uncanny. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.
Helena Walton-Cisneros, known for her ability to find the lost and the displaced, is hired 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 an age-old land, where folk tales and dark magic still linger. The locals speak of devilmen and catatonic children are found on the Broads. Here, Helena finds what she was sent for, as the Fenland always gives up its secrets, in the end…
Author: Marian Womack
Publisher: Titan Books
Page Count: 336 pages
Release Date: 18/02/2020
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘The Golden Key’: 2 out of 5
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
This book, going by the blurb, has everything I love in a novel. It claims to be historical fiction with elements of detective mystery and spiritual goings on. Upon reading the blurb I was extremely excited.
Sadly, upon reading the book, I felt incredibly let down and terribly misled. The character listed in the blurb barely appears in the first one-hundred pages (perhaps only a few pages). And, so jumbled is the plot, and so uninteresting are the characters that her part feels like a minor role in what perhaps should have been a feature one.
The plot was very difficult to follow due to being all over the place and very incoherent at places. I would often get up after reading twenty or thirty pages and know that I had read every word but had taken very little in. The writing style just is not conducive to being absorbed by the brain. I thought that perhaps I was just going through a reading slump but, upon setting it aside and reading something else, that was simply not the case. It was just this book, this plot, these characters and this writing style that I had great difficulty with,
I could see what the author was trying to do but I just feel her execution fell miles short of where it needed to be to tell and intriguing story with characters and plot that a reader wanted get stuck into.
The spiritual aspects of the book felt so tame and sparse that I just lost interest in that avenue altogether and tried to speed my way through whenever it tried to appear, desperate to get back to other parts of the book that I found a tad more interesting. So tame were they to begin with that when they ramped up, I just didn’t have the capacity to care.
The concept was good and could have been great if the execution had’t been lacking as I mentioned earlier. I also felt that the ending was somewhat of a fizzle rather than a bang. I get that there is going to be more in the series but I just don’t feel the author did anything to make a reader care enough to want to carry on and find out what happens to Sam, Helena and everyone else.
It’s a genuine shame, as I had high hopes for this due to the blurb and really wanted to love it. As I mentioned before, the concept is a good and interesting one, but the ‘lyrical’ style is lacking to make it exciting. I suppose this is proof, for all the people out there that claim bloggers only give positive reviews to books they have been given for free, that that quite simply isn’t the case.