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The Blackheath Seance Parlour [Kindle Edition]

Alan Williams
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1842, two sisters drunkenly debate their future, their family chocolate business has failed and so they decide to open a seance parlour. The locals are shocked but soon their shop is crammed with people wanting to contact the dead. Despite their change in fortune, a rift forms between the sisters, as young sister Judy gets her novel published, finds a man and proves to be more capable of contacting spirits than Maggie. Spurred on by jealousy, Maggie tries harder and soon even the Queen is consulting her. The Church decides they must be stopped by any means possible.


Product Description

Review

'A great read: funny, thought provoking, and lively. Not to mention a great way to be taken back in time as you walk across the heath. Just take a lantern with you...' - The Blackheath Bugle

'Grounded in realism, with local history spilling out from the pages and characters with an endearingly informal way of speaking that somehow evokes the spirit of the time.' - Emerald Street

'Here's a book that is perfect for the time of year - sibling love and rivalry, dark and broody gothic setting, ghosts and murders. A splash of humour, a lot of pubs and some cracking dialogue.' - Anne Cater Random Things Through My Letterbox

'It is great to see such a mental and unique and intriguing book. The fact that it delves in to historical opinions on the underworld and religion and women's place in society, as well as being a bit crazy and out there is wonderful and pretty darn unique if you ask me.' - Book Geek

'What a read! I honestly had no idea what to expect from this novel, but after a few pages I was hooked by the unusual and original storyline, the strong female characters, and the enthralling writing style of Alan Williams.' - A Spoonful of Happy Endings

'The descriptions in this brilliantly conveyed the dark other worldly goings on and the atmosphere of the book had me feeling like I was right there with the sisters! Fantastically spooky, gripping and gothic! A great read for Halloween!' - --Laura's Little Book Blog

About the Author

Alan Williams worked as a script editor for the BBC, working on "Absolutely Fabulous", "Birds of a Feather" and "Keeping up Appearances" to name but a few. He went on to edit "Writers' Monthly" and launch "Television Essentials" and "Advance Production News". He lives in Blackheath, London, has won awards for his short stories, and includes chocolate eclairs as one of his favourite hobbies.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1181 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 190812251X
  • Publisher: Cutting Edge Press (4 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ECAPULI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,662 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born in Wales with the Brecon Beacons as my garden, that will be incorporated into my upcoming book The Lanes of Wales (working title) though they might not be thrilled with it - it's pretty horrific - the book, not Wales.

I love travel, the more off the beaten track the better, the Peruvian Amazon, Venezuela's Mount Roraima (see Conan Doyle's Lost World) and the smaller town of Japan's Islands being my favourites - so far.

My heart runs to a small seaside town in West Wales whenever I need escape. I've turned that into my next novel The Adequate Swimmer.

I live in Blackheath, South East London, home of the Blackheath Seance Parlour and I work in film and television.

Basically, reading this back, I appear to be turning all the places I love into horrendous places in my books. I seem to be systematically destroying my life! Still, it's Bingo tonight.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Heath Seance Parlour 13 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Though not my ususal choice of subject matter I soon got caught up in the characters who were very well drawn and compelling, making me care about what happened to them and where the story led them and me the reader. I also like the atmosphere the book created of Victorian Black Heath and the dark arts. I read this book in November when the nights were drawing in and it suited the mood of this time of year. I was a little frustrated initially by the parallel story of the Count and Countess wondering what it had to do with the main plot, but when it was established as the plot of the novel by Judy, one of the main characters, I understood the place for it in the book. A very enjoyable and absorbing read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Addictive! 22 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Brilliant! Loved it! Fantastic! Shall I stop raving yet and review? I think I should.

I purchased The Blackheath Seance Parlour after initially linking up with author Alan Williams on Twitter. The novel is split into two; one story following the lives of Maggie and Judy Cloak and the other following the lives of a count and countess who are, shall we say, a little different from the rest of the human race. Initially Maggie and Judy are in the depths of despair; penniless and borderline alcoholic spinsters.They are following in the footsteps of ancestors by running a chocolate shop in Blackheath. However the business is failing and they are practically desolate. Then Judy comes up with the idea of transforming their store into a Seance Parlour. Enter medium Mrs Walters and so the adventures begin.

As the novel progresses we discover that the count and countess are products of a book written by Judy who holds dreams of publication. Whether or not she is successful, I will leave you to find out. However I will say that I felt that this subplot worked well and did not detract from the main storyline.

I am intrigued by stories of the dark arts and this is what led me to read BSP. The descriptions of Maggie as she battles with her lack of ability then subsequently her extreme powers and personal demons, are so believable. The novel is set in an era where the public were obsessed with contacting spirits and it demonstrates the great lengths performers would go to fulfil this. The final chapters leave you feeling both a sense of happiness and a sense of sorrow, but the ending is somewhat fitting for all characters.

I have already asked Alan Williams if there is another book on the pipeline and he assures me that he is "nearly there".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Blackheath Seance Parlour 26 Jan. 2015
By Damaskcat HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought this would be my sort of book but in the end I was quite disappointed with it. Two sisters run a sweet shop in Victorian Blackheath but business is not doing well and a lot of the time they are hungry and cold. Both drink to escape their problems and Judy, the younger of the two is writing a novel. Excerpts from this novel are interspersed with the events of their current story. A murderer is preying on young women crossing the Heath at night and everyone is scared to go out at night.

The sisters finally agree to start a new venture in conjunction with a psychic - Netta Walters. Maggie, the older sister is not at all keen on the idea but finally agrees to starting The Blackheath Séance Parlour. It is an almost immediate success and when Judy's novel is accepted for publication it seems as though things are looking up for all three of the women.

The characters are well drawn and the atmosphere of Victorian Blackheath is well done but I found some of the novel really gruesome and found myself skipping some of the novel within a novel. It is definitely not for the squeamish. The problem I felt was that much of the horrific violence could have been excluded without affecting the story. It seemed to me that it was included with the intention of shocking the reader and it just spoiled the book for me. Others may enjoy the book but I found it just too much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was annoyed to have to put it down 30 Jan. 2015
Format:Paperback
For those who don't know it, Blackheath is a suburb in south-east London that has managed to retain a little bit of a village feel to it, despite being over-run by estate agents. I live there and I confess that I bought this book (from the village bookshop, of course) mainly because it was clearly a "local" story and I was intrigued by the title. It sat in my pile of "books to read" for about a month but once I started it, I was annoyed to have to put it down.

I won't relate the plot; some reviewers have already revealed too much. Bit suffice to say that after a slightly slow start there are plenty of twists and turns, including one that caught me completely by surprise. Perhaps unusually, the main characters are all women and are well drawn whereas the men, with one notable exception, are mainly foils. In that way, it's an interesting reversal on the novels of the period in which it is set. It's also pleasing that while the author has clearly done his research he doesn't clutter the narrative with superfluous information to demonstrate the point.

Since I finished it I've been raving about this book to all the "reading" friends that I know. The last book to have that effect on on me was The Time Traveler's Wife. I bought about a dozen copies of that and gave it to people as Christmas presents. I may do the same with this. As a final endorsement: my wife, who rarely has time to read, picked it up and finished it in a day, which is some recommendation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting!
Sheer escapism at it's best and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to your next book. Thank you.
Published 2 hours ago by Miss Karen Clark
1.0 out of 5 stars Tasteless!
I have never written a bad review but I felt I have to warn those with a weak stomach that the gore is tasteless, weird and plain disgusting. Certainly not for my ilk. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining.
Spooky, a good read.
Published 28 days ago by Janet
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed the characters
Very different, I really enjoyed the characters .
Published 1 month ago by Mrs L Gomez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous.
Published 1 month ago by jayne l dodd
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great read
Just finished reading this and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's one of those books that you can't wait to pick up again but, at the same time, don't want to finish. Read more
Published 2 months ago by karenb1
5.0 out of 5 stars A very impressive debut.
Loved this book, found it thoroughly enjoyable & completely absorbing. Quite unlike anything I've ever read, and not easily categorised into any one particular genre. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rhys Parry
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended with reservations.
An interesting and highly original, but also flawed, novel from a talented writer whose imagination, enthusiasm and ambition aren't quite matched at this stage in his writing... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Adrian Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked from beginning to end!
I've always been interested in this kind of subject so was intrigued about the book.
From the moment i read the first chapter, I was hooked! Read more
Published 3 months ago by G Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thoroughly enjoyable and a very smart book-within-another-book twist I enjoyed. Looking forward to whatever else this author publishes.
Published 4 months ago by Irelon
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