Book Reviews

The Key: A gripping pageturner with a heartwrenching twist from the #1 bestselling author of The Letter by Kathryn Hughes

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List Price: £7.99

 

Paperback: 432 Pages.

Published: 06 September 2018 by Headline Review

ISBN: 1472248848

EAN: 9781472248848

1956

It's Ellen Crosby's first day as a student nurse at Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum. When she meets a young woman committed by her father, and a pioneering physician keen to try out the various 'cures' for mental illness, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change all their lives for ever...

2006

Sarah is drawn to the abandoned Ambergate Asylum. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who was admitted fifty years earlier. The shocking contents lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy, lost love and an old wrong that only she may have the power to put right . . .

Reviews

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Interesting but Could Have Been Better

Set in the parallel timelines of 2006 & 1956, this book centres around Ambergate Mental Hospital. In 2006 this building is derelict waiting to be bought up and demolished to make way for new housing. Sarah is researching its history and is keen to find out more about the inhabitants. In 1956 we follow Student Nurse Ellen Crosby on her first day. It is a world that she struggles to inhabit whilst not being comfortable with many of the practices.

I wasn't sure if this was a four or three star book but felt it had to be the former in recognition of the obvious research that the author has done into the life of mental institutions in the 1950s. Primarily the view is one of negativity though as we come to the end of the time in that thread of the book changes are being seen.

This is quite a lightweight book which doesn't present the gritty storyline that it could have. The storyline veers off into a romance rather than providing the depth which could have been there. There is only one point towards the very end of the book that two characters face up to the attitudes of the past. It could have been so much more.

I would have liked more depth of character for the supporting cast. The 2006 main character, Sarah, is very good and a woman that I could like. She faces up to the problems of her own past & the split from her husband which allows her to move on. The main character in 1956, Amy, has the makings of an interesting character but I do wish the author had progreed further with her. Unfortunately the supporting cast were quite weak with little in the way of definite & pronounced personalities.

I feel that this is a book that offered much but didn't quite live up to my expectations. I enjoyed reading it but the author could have done so much more creating a grittier & more challenging book. She chose not to.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley

 
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