REVIEW: The Unseen by Katherine Webb

Title: The Unseen
Author: Katherine Webb
Pages: 464
Genre: Historical Thriller
Release Date: May 22nd, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Copy provided by publisher for TLC Book Tours

What's it about? It's 1911 in a rural hamlet in England. The Vicar and his wife, Alfred and Hester Canning, live a simple life. Alfred prepares for Sunday sermons and visits parishioners during the week, and Hester finds entertainment with the ladies of the town playing Bridge and participating in seances. The biggest worry naive Hester faces is wondering why Alfred has yet to touch her in the ways of husband and wife after over a year of marriage.

As summer descends, two new arrivals bring the promise of change to the small community. Cat Morley, a feisty young woman with a complicated past, is sent from London to work as house maid for the Cannings. Although quick to settle into her duties, Cat still yearns for the freedom denied her because of her "station" in life. Meanwhile, Alfred's new found interest in fairies and spiritual elements in nature has brought the arrival of Robin Durrant, a theosophist excited to investigate the claims of such sightings nearby. Alternating between the past and the present, The Unseen offers a summer filled with discomfort, tension and jealousy that slowly come to a head in an tragic and unforgettable way.

What did I think? Seeing as how I finished this one at the beach, I can authoritatively say that this is an excellent beach read for this summer! Katherine Webb creates quite an engaging and thrilling story. The writing quickly drew me in and kept me turning the pages. I will say that the present day story of journalist Leah searching for the identity of a dead soldier found in Belgium was slightly lacking, but was woven in at, what I felt, were appropriate moments. There was definitely a modern vs old-fashioned woman theme swirling throughout, especially with Cat being contrasted with prim, naive and unquestioning Hester.

Of all the characters, Cat was by far my favorite. It takes a lot of talent to get me to cheer for such a harsh, cold, angry (although justifiably so) character, but I did wholeheartedly. Webb manages to touch on a lot of subjects, especially those concerned with women's rights, such as voting and overall freedom, and gender/class relations. This was a deeper novel on some levels than I was expecting.

The Unseen met my checklist for great summer book. Mystery and intrigue with a bit of the occult that I just couldn't stop reading. It took a lot for me to put the book down and fall asleep after reading into the wee hours. There were just too many questions floating in my head, and I just wanted to see how the pieces would fall together. After such a positive experience I will be seeking out Webb's previous novel The Legacy which was released last year. From what I hear it won't disappoint either!

Want to know what others are saying? Visit the next stops on the tour or check out the reviews on  Goodreads

Thanks again to TLC Book Tours for having me on the tour. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.


  1. People always laugh at my "beach" reads because I am never reading the easy, breezy stuff that other beach goers reach for. This book sounds like it would fit my tastes nicely.

  2. Sounds great to me -- love those fun summer reads.

  3. Ooh, this DOES sounds like a great beach read! Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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