The Unseen: A Novel

The Unseen: A Novel

4.3 8
by Katherine Webb
     
 

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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'

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of time-shifting novels such as A.S. Byatt's Possession are most likely to be engaged by this well-written, if less-than-memorable, novel from the author of 2011's The Legacy. The book opens enigmatically—first, a letter from 1911 reports the hiring of a new maid named Cat Morley who's been hired despite a dubious reputation by a rural English household. Before the reader can suss out who has been writing to whom, Webb shifts forward a century, and to Belgium. A well-preserved corpse has been accidentally unearthed in a garden near Ypres, and Leah Hickson, a freelance journalist, is tipped off to a potential news story about an anonymous lost soldier by her ex-, who works for the War Graves Commission. Things begin to knit together when she learns that letters were found on the body. Gradually, more of Morley's troubled past is revealed, alternating with Hickson's present-day investigation. Unfortunately, the major dramatic development takes a long time to arrive, and loses much of its impact in the process. (June)
M. L. Malcolm
“Webb winds her way through three generations of women by following the path of grief created by a broken heart, crafting characters you care about and a story you won’t soon forget: poignant and completely engrossing.”
Marie Claire (UK)
“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062077882
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/22/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
1,351,649
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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What People are saying about this

M. L. Malcolm
“Webb winds her way through three generations of women by following the path of grief created by a broken heart, crafting characters you care about and a story you won’t soon forget: poignant and completely engrossing.”

Meet the Author

Katherine Webb grew up in rural Hampshire, England. She has lived in London and Venice, and she currently resides in Berkshire, England. Having worked as a wait-ress, au pair, personal assistant, potter, bookbinder, library assistant, and housekeeper at a manor house, she now writes full-time.

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The Unseen 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
librarysusie More than 1 year ago
This was another dual story with a historical story set in 1911 and a present day people trying to figure out the events we are seeing unfold in the past. I think these have become my favorite kind of book and this one is no exception Katherine Webb is a true storyteller, if you are a fan of her book The Legacy I know you will like this one too. If you’ve never read Katherine Webb what are you waiting for? The 1911 story centers around the Reverend Albert Canning & his wife Hester, the Theosophy “expert” Robin Durrant and new maid Cat who is fresh from the gaol but is she a murderer? a thief? Or an innocent Suffragette? Trouble is brewing in this house but does it stem from the Cannings chaste marriage, Robin Durrants overzealous belief that have infected the Reverend to such a degree it is changing his whole outlook on life or does it come from Cat and the un-asked question of what she was in prison for in the first place. In the present day story Leah is called in to help identify a body by, the War Graves Commission, the only hint to his identity are some very cryptic letters he is found with, so Leah sets out to discover who this man is and make sense out of the odd letters. Yes there is a bit of a romance here in this story but it doesn’t deter from the storyline. I enjoyed this book it really kept me guessing and when the reveal came I was a bit shocked and saddened. The characters are all very fleshed out and you did end up caring about them or hating them as the case may be. Well maybe hate is too strong a word let’s just say the majority of the men are not very likeable with a few exceptions. I had no idea what Theosophy was and was surprised it was the seeing of sprites and fairies and such. This was inspired by the famous Cottingly fairies story about the little girls who became famous for their fairy pictures which were later on revealed to be a hoax. The two stories blended very well together even though I did end up liking the historical story better than Leah’s story. I liked Cat the best because she was the one woman looking to the future and she is a Suffragette with a mind of her own and sharp tongue and not afraid to use either! This book kept me wondering and guessing as to what happened since it starts out with the cryptic letters and leaves you wondering just what happened right to the very end. It is very well written and I would recommend to fans of Kate Morton. 4 Stars I received this book from Librarything Early Reviewers Program
TonyaTells More than 1 year ago
As always, you have to delve deeper into the book, and once you do that, you get bits and pieces to put a whole puzzle together that Ms Webb has made for us. This time we have the past, 1911 and the present 2011. I sure did LOVE the past! Hester was so intriguing. If I was her I would really have a complex. Why wouldn't Bertie sleep with her? What in the hay! The present wasn't as interesting but I sure did love the way this bit of mystery, thriller and romance came along. At first I really didn't care for Cat, I was thinking yes, something bad has come into your house but the further I got into the story, the more my dislike passed onto Robin Currant. He is a real toad. Webb draws you into a story, doesn't give everything up front. You have to work for it, each page getting closer and closer to solving the puzzle. I am forever a fan, she hasn't strayed me wrong yet. Looking forward to her new one coming Nov 22, 2012, A Half Forgotten Song. So if you love her books as much as myself, PREORDER it!!!
HeavyReaderChgo More than 1 year ago
I have read both The Legacy and The Unseen by Katherine Webb, and thoroughly enjoyed both. Jumping from time period to another throughout both books is this writer's forte. I have never experienced this device undertaken so flawlessly--she spends enough time in each period to get you hooked into the different plots, without jumping around back and forth getting the reader lost in the muck. Interesting well-woven stories and excellent character development make her an author I will continue to follow, especially as I am a confirmed Anglophile. Highly recommended.
BookwenchSB More than 1 year ago
Just finished The Unseen and I was so captivated by the stories that I read it in two days. I like the two stories in one and the players in both dramas. Yes, two stores in one, both dramatic and spellbinding. Like The Legacy by Katherine Webb, I suggested sequels to both books. I like the major characters so much that I want more! If you are a bookworm like me, you must read Katherine Webb's 3 novels. Tonight I will begin The Half Forgotten Song and I can hardly wait!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bwitchd3 More than 1 year ago
This book is intriguing and definitely worth the read for anyone who enjoys history and strong character development. There is a little of everything in this story: love, romance, tragedy, history, suspense, and secrets. The flip between storylines is the perfect way to showcase all the women in their natural surroundings. The ending, however, is bittersweet. This is not a quick read, but it is most certainly a worthy one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. I thought Cat was an awesome character. I really enjoyed the jump from past to present.
LAWonder More than 1 year ago
The Unseen is an interesting and different subject of theosophy mixed with murder, suspense, drama, intrigue and some romance. Although I personally do not care for books written in present-tense, the author successfully covers two time periods by doing so. The suspense and mystery is upheld to the very end. However, I disliked the profanity used in much of the content. There was also some vivid violence making it unsuitable for the Young Adult audience. I won this through a giveaway which I am grateful but would not have purchased it.