Blackheath Seance Parlour Paperback – 1 Aug 2013
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'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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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".Read more ›
I just don't know how to describe it and do it justice - it is by turn gruesome, dark, sad, and funny. I loved each of the main characters, despite themselves and found them intriguing and very human. Some of the scenes in the "novel" were some of the most gruesome I have ever read.
The best recommendation I can give is that I just didn't want it to end.
The other main character in this book is the village of Blackheath, and Williams notes at the end of the book that he wanted to do justice to the community and its history as part of his aim in writing the novel. He captures very effectively the bleakness of the heath as it must have been in the Victorian era, and with a subplot around the murder of two girls, he infuses a certain chill in the already atmospheric spiritualist action.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down! Set in the Victorian era when spiritualism and seances were in their heyday, I was captivated by the characters from the very... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Mrs. Marlene J. Woolgar
I read a review that said this book was bonkers so I had to read it and it was bonkers! A refreshing change and I enjoyed itPublished 3 months ago by Michelle
I absolutely LOVE this book. Set in 1840s Blackheath in London, the two key characters are sisters Maggie and Judy. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kitchen Delights
Great story, totally different to what I expected to read. Though one of those stories you can't put down until the end.Published 4 months ago by Sarah Davies
What a strange book! Two stories running alongside each other, both equally intriguing. It kept my interest all the way through. Read morePublished 4 months ago by JimBob
A brilliantly crafted story from first to last. You'll love, admire, hate, fear and sympathize with the Cloak sisters in their journey from poverty to boundless wealth. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Samantha Belton
I was a bit skeptical about picking up this book as the story synopsis didn't really capture me. Though having spoken to Alan I was curious as to what his novel was about and I'll... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Thomas Wright
I would have given this no stars if I could have done so. I live in Blackheath and have been meaning to read this for ages. I shouldn't have bothered. Read morePublished 8 months ago by K. M. Brown