Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Unseen by Katherine Webb [Review]

The Unseen3.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Unseen  By Katherine Webb
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release: May 22, 2012
Hardcover: 456 Pages
Publisher: William Morrow Books
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
From Katherine Webb, the author of the acclaimed international bestseller "The Legacy," comes a compelling tale of love, deception, and illusion

A vicar with a passion for nature, the Reverend Albert Canning leads a happy existence with his naive wife, Hester, in their sleepy Berkshire village in the year 1911. But as the English summer dawns, the Cannings' lives are forever changed by two new arrivals: Cat, their new maid, a disaffected, free-spirited young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the law; and Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby.

Quickly finding a place for herself in the underbelly of local society, Cat secretly plots her escape. Meanwhile, Robin, a young man of considerable magnetic charm and beauty, soon becomes an object of fascination and desire. Sweltering in the oppressive summer heat, the peaceful rectory turns into a hotbed of dangerous ambition, forbidden love, and jealousy--a potent mixture of emotions that ultimately leads to murder.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)
Shannon's Thoughts:
The Unseen starts with a mystery.  In 2011, the well preserved remains of an unknown soldier are found in Belgium. In the soldier's possession are a some letters. The letters were written to him by Hester Canning and suggests that something sinister happened.  In 1911, the events start to unfold that will eventually reveal the identity of the soldier and the nature of the letters. 

I was really interested in the book at the beginning, but somewhere around the middle it started to lose steam for me.  The middle section dragged on a bit but the ending felt rushed.  And I was having a hard time connecting to the characters.  Most of them are hard to love or I had trouble understanding their motivationsThe part that bothered me the most though, was the dual timeline. I felt it didn't service the story in any way.  The main problem was 3/4 of the book takes place in 1911 and the rest in 2011.  If so little time was going to be spent in 2011, it doesn't seem like it was necessary to include that narrative.  Ultimately I was just left a little...unsatisfied.  It was a solid read, but it didn't grab me or hold my attention.  


  1. This book sounds like it has a lot of potential. I'm always interested in books that are written in dual timelines, but this sounds like it was difficult. And I'm disappointed to hear that not much time was actually spent in 2011.

    1. It was a little strange. Andrea, have you read Sarah's Key? This book reminded me of it quite a bit. Dual timelines, family secrets, a woman with a broken relationship trying to find out what happened in the past...they could be sister books.



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