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The Secret of Isobel Key
     

The Secret of Isobel Key

4.0 19
by Jen McConnel
 
Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she's unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together

Overview

Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she's unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.

They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn't prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Flashing between the seventeenth century and modern day Scotland, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619634640
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/19/2013
Series:
Isobel Key
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
117
Sales rank:
22,293
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people's choice 3rd place award for her poem, "Luna").

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people's choice 3rd place award for her poem, "Luna??).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian,
and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

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The Secret of Isobel Key 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the split stories but the modern story was a little to much of a "Lifetime Movie" . Cheesy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a good easy read. I like the split story between time periods. Would recommend & will read the next book in the series.
Anonymous 7 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me, 2-1/2 stars for this New Age and Witches story based on historical events. If you, the reader, enjoy this type of book then it would be one you will enjoy. I on the other hand am not into this and I certainly would not be happy if my 14-yr old read it. I will admit too many people lost their lives by being framed and convicted as witches thus being put to death in many horrible ways. The book does have splits - from 1600's to 'today' and back and forth. This I did not have a problem with. In fact, I think it made it easier to read.
Archaeolibrarian More than 1 year ago
This book is about Lou, a currently unemployed person who has no idea what to do with her life, and a surprise vacation to Scotland. Intermingled with modern day Scotland, we have the Scotland of the 1500's and specifically Isobel Key. I loved how the story was intertwined and things from the past had relevance in the 'here and now'. I also enjoyed how Lou grew and changed as the story goes along and becomes more self-confident. Intriguing story and with a splash of mystery and romance. Really enjoyed it. Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could have had a better ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good story. Loved the ancient story about Isobel. There was a problem with missing pages which made the story lose some of its appeal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story line
Celticlady1953 More than 1 year ago
The Burning of Isobel Key is a story about a young woman, Lou, who quits her job in a bookstore because she is dissatisfied with it. Her roommate and best friend, Tammy, gets a chance to go to Scotland for her own job, her first client in advertising. Chance of a lifetime for both girls. While on a tour,Lou becomes interested in some history from the mid 1600's. The side story is about a woman, Isobel Key who is burned as a witch. Lou decides with the help of Tammy and the tour bus driver Brian that she wants to exonerate Isobel Key somehow. With research she is able to piece the story together and find out something interesting about her own birth and exactly what happened to Isobel so long ago.  A story with the history of the witch trials, Scotland and Wicca and a bit of romance make for an interesting read. I enjoyed it immensely! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story would probably most appeal to teenage girls who are interested in sappy romance novels. Louisa' s disdain for her parents seems harsh--- poor little rich girl syndrome, perhaps. She is very inconsiderate with regard to her best friend, as well. Some events stretch the imagination a bit too far. Better editing is needed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may have given this book for stars but the editing was terrible and took away from reading the book. With that said, it was a book that I read in a couple of days and kept coming back to it. I think the author has a promising future.. Just needs a better editor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More YA than adult fiction. Kind of cheesy and needs an edit to resolve contradictory text. Glad I got it as a Free Friday book and did not spend any money on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed The Secret of Isobel Key because it blended mystery, romance and two story lines from different time periods. The two stories are great and easy to follow as we go from the past to the present. Isobel’s story intertwines nicely with the main character’s (Louisa) story. We watch both characters develop and mature throughout the book as they struggle to overcome the boundaries set by society and their families. One of the stories is about Isobel Key, who lives in Scotland during the 1600s. She learns the art of healing from her mother and uses that gift to help the people of her community. Isobel experiences some familial struggles that cause her to slowly pull away from her community. She ends up a recluse and is eventually accused of witchcraft. No one that Isobel has helped in the past steps forward to help her; they are all too afraid that the same fate will befall them. After years of helping others, Isobel is powerless to help herself. The other story is about Louisa, who is frustrated with her life. She has obediently lived her life for her parents, but now that she’s a woman, she’s ready to take charge and make her own decisions. In a fit of desperation, she quits her job and leaves for Scotland with her outgoing friend, Tammy. While on a tour in the Highlands, she feels pulled to the witch stories that haunt the land. When Brian, the handsome tour guide, offers to help her with her research, they discover two truths that pertain that she cannot ignore. These truths alter Louisa’s future and change her perception of the past. Can we right the wrongs of the past? Louisa will sure try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting, fun, easy to read! The really interesting part of it all was that although you’re getting to know Isobel who lived back in 1667, you’re also getting to know Louisa, who lives in the present day AND how their lives collide. The chapters are peppered with a bit of Isobel but never was I confused about who Jen was talking about. I knew straight away and I have to say Jen is a master at making you want more. The chapters end just as I'm really getting to put together some pieces and just a little bit more information would have set it in place. But Jen McConnel does a masterful job of weaving back and forth and giving just enough of each girl's story. Isobel is a lovely person who cares about people but sadly something happens early in her life, or late if you’re back in the 1600′s, that makes her sort of swear off men. Now imagine, a twenty five year old living alone in a cottage, five miles outside of town. People are going to talk. It may not be straight away but I knew it was coming sooner or later, I just didn’t know how. What I didn’t like about this portion of the story was what happens between the sisters. It doesn’t make sense to me that they are so close but Margaret would choose to hurt Isobel. It just doesn’t completely mesh for me. But whenever I was reading about her I felt so much emotion. I just really loved her character. Louisa is also a bit of an introvert. She hasn’t dated in years, since her last relationship, and doesn’t plan to but her friend Tammy keeps pushing her to do just that. Tammy as you can probably imagine, is quite the opposite of Louisa which didn’t bother me until Tammy starts pushing religion onto Lou. It’s VERY frustrating to say the least. Again, it didn’t totally mesh. Why would someone be so unwilling to believe in the occult (tarot readings, scrying, etc) because she’s a Christian and yet she’s totally willing to sleep with guys. A little bit of an annoyance for me, but something that didn’t totally distract from the story. I just wanted Lou to tell her to shove it! But being a good friend Lou keeps her feelings to herself and keeps quiet, most of the time. Although Tammy distracted me a little, the rest of the story was amazing. Louisa finding out about Isobel was interesting and from there on the story just got better and better. Both Louisa and Isobel are strong women and they are wonderful to read about. The ending was exactly what I was looking for. Honestly I was quite worried about how this was going to end and there was something missing until, quite literally, the last sentence but Jen McConnel brings everything together wonderfully! This is a story where you'll want to dive in. There are a few things that don't completely mesh with the entire plot but they are barely more than hiccups, never did they distract me from wanting to read this fabulous story! This was a book I could not put down and although I am a huge fan of the paranormal and historical fiction, this was something a bit different from the normal read. It was intriguing and keeps you wondering what is going to happen. 4.5 stars
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
I like genre fiction and am very fond of the supernatural subgenre but witches have never been high on my list. There’s no particular reason for that other than perhaps witchcraft makes me a little uneasy. That slight discomfort is one reason I liked this book a lot. Through Isobel, we get a real sense of what people, especially women, went through during the witch hunts of the past when they were, in fact, innocent of the evils attributed to them. Through Lou, we get a feeling for today’s Wicca and how its true believers are not ill-intentioned. Interweaving the stories of two women separated by 350 or so years can be difficult but it works very well in The Secret of Isobel Key because of the empathy that Lou, a modern girl floundering in search of her future, has for a woman who knew precisely who she was until the day she died a horrible death. Lou’s determination to shine a light on Isobel’s life leads to an understanding of a past that touches on Lou’s own life in unexpected ways. I was a little puzzled—and bothered—by the relationship between Lou and Tammy. They’re supposedly very close friends and, yet, Lou doesn’t trust Tammy enough to share her feelings about faith and Tammy doesn’t know Lou well enough to understand that there’s something going on with her. Tammy also is bent on pushing Lou into the arms of a guy, any guy, and I think her intentions were good but it makes her seem very overbearing and insensitive. In turn, Lou doesn’t hesitate to stand Tammy up for dinner because she’s so besotted with Brian, their Scottish tour guide. I have to say, though, that it’s the author’s strong characterizations that allowed me to feel that I know these two girls and have a fairly good understanding of them both. There are occasional lapses of logic, such as when the trio decide a certain letter could affect the history of multiple so-called witches while, in fact, it only clears the record of one. There is also a scene in which Lou claims to not know the rites of the church even though she was raised Catholic and supposedly was a believer until recently; it’s very unlikely she would not be familiar with the ceremonies of the church just because she has fallen away from that faith. Despite those small quibbles, I was completely engaged by both Isobel and Lou and their stories. Bloomsbury Spark is one of a number of imprints that have cropped up in recent times to publish in ebook format only. This is a development all readers should welcome as it offers a “home” to some really good work that might otherwise go unpublished because of the sea of submissions publishers get these days. The Secret of Isobel Key is a fine example of what’s available and I will be looking for more from both Bloomsbury Spark and Jen McConnel.