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The Unseen Paperback – 24 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (24 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409117170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409117179
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

KATHERINE WEBB was born in 1977 and grew up in Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. She has since spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives near Bath, UK. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, bookbinder, housemaid, library assistant and seller of fairy costumes, she is now a full-time writer. Her debut novel, The Legacy, won the popular vote for the TV Book Club Summer Read 2010 and was shortlisted for Best New Writer at the 2010 Galaxy National Book Awards. Her subsequent novels The Unseen, A Half Forgotten Song and The Misbegotten were all Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers, and her books have been translated into 26 languages around the world. The Night Falling, her fifth novel, is released in November 2014.


Product Description

Review

Occult happenings, romantic passion and murder disrupt the peace of a Berkshire village in 1911 in this hauntingly good novel from the author of THE LEGACY (MARIE CLAIRE)

Really, truly outstanding (CHICKLITREVIEWS BLOG)

An atmospheric page-turner (Fanny Blake WOMAN & HOME)

This is an engrossing and totally convincing piece of storytelling, a perfect curl-up-by-the-fire read. (John Koski YOU MAGAZINE)

'A mixture of the occult, mysterious beings in the water meadows, love, ambition, jealousy - and murder - make this an exciting, engrossing book. (OXFORD TIMES)

Book Description

From the author of the acclaimed debut THE LEGACY comes a compelling tale of love, deception and illusion.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 93 people found the following review helpful By L. Bretherton VINE VOICE on 23 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I hadn't read "The Legacy", so had no idea what to expect from this book. It is very well-crafted indeed. Set in the long hot summer of 1911, as the country awaits the Coronation of George V, it follows the life of Catherine Morley, who is offered a place as a maidservant in the rectory of a sleepy Berkshire village. But Catherine has a secret past... The other main character is Hester, the vicar's naive young wife, who longs for a family of her own. Her life is disturbed by the arrival of Robin Durrant, a charismatic young man who is researching into possible sightings of 'water spirits' near the village. As the sultry heat continues, the characters' lives intertwine in a strange way... All of this is uncovered in modern times by Leah, a journalist who is researching the discovery of some letters found on the body of a soldier from the First World War...

I thought the book recreated the period very well, and the character of Cat is very well portrayed. I enjoyed the modern chapters too, I would have liked to see a couple of more of these, there seemed to be some very long sections in the narrative which needed a bit of relief.

I think the cover is a bit misleading, as this is not really a book about the supernatural in any form. It is a very enjoyable read, and will keep you occupied for a couple of days, as you try to guess the outcome of that long hot summer....
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By HampshireWoman on 29 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
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!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookwoman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm surprised at all the glowing four and five star reviews for this book: I thought it was a solid three-star holiday read, quite enjoyable but not particularly original or memorable.
It uses one hoary old device, a story which unfolds after the discovery of a mysterious old letter, to launch another one - two parallel, alternating narratives set in past and present.
This time it's set in 2011 and 1911 (though mostly the latter) and tells the tale of a journalist investigating a body found on a WW1 battlefield, and its links to a strange set of events in an English country vicarage before the war. Leaning heavily on the true story of the Cottingley fairies fraud, it relies on the gradual build-up of atmosphere in an isolated house during a long, hot summer, as a new maid recovers from her imprisonment as a suffragette, and a sexually repressed young couple come under the spell of a guest with a dangerous obsession. Murder ensues, but not until page 324, which makes for a bit of a dull and repetitive read.
Unfortunately, as so often happens in these books set in past and present, the modern sections are a bit risible - beautiful young journalist escaping from unhappy relationship meets troubled yet handsome young man in the course of her inquiries ... we can all guess the rest. And if she'd been a better journalist and started her investigation in the archives of the local paper (it finally occurs to her to go to the library, but not until page 311), then this would have been a very short book!
There are sections describing the role of the more working-class suffragettes, and how the Cottingley fairies photographs could have been taken, which are very well done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cee-Gee VINE VOICE on 19 April 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Oooh I liked this novel.

I would have given it 5 stars, but I found it quite slow to get going. It is one of those novels where the modern day characters are researching a historical event and the narrative keeps switching between the two time periods. Unfortunately, I thought that this occurred a bit too often at the beginning. The historical story is much more interesting than the love life of the modern characters. This modern sideline continues throughout the novel and is something that I could easily have done without.

As I said, the historical side of the story is much more engaging. A new servant with a shady past arrives in the vicar's household. The vicar attends a lecture on theosophy, the vicar becomes obsessed and then convinces an eminent theosophist to come to stay with him. This theosophist later reveals pictures of an 'elemental' - the fairy-like guardian of a plant - to prove to the world that they do exist. The novel delves into the servant's history and follows her in her new life. It also follows the effect of the theosophist's stay on the household. All in all, lots to keep you interested. In the end, I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't go to bed before I had finished it - that after having repeatedly putting the novel down over a couple of weeks whilst reading the first few chapters!

I would definitely recommend reading this novel, and I will be getting Webb's earlier novel as well.
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