Katherine Webb – The Unseen

After really enjoying  her previous novel The Legacy, I was really looking forward to this novel, unfortunately I was very disappointed.  The tagline says “A haunting tale of love, deception – and murder”,  but unfortunately you have to wait until right to the end to find out about the murder, by which time you have probably guessed what happened or are not that bothered which makes the rest of the book largely uneventful.

The story opens in 2011 where Leah discovers the body of an unkown soldier from World War I with some letters written to him by from Hester Canning  which allude to some mysterious happenings.  The story then moves back to 1911 and the arrival of the suffragette maid Cat at the Vicarage belonging to Hester and her husband Albert.  Their lives are disrupted by the arrival of Robin Durrant, a phoney theosophist ( who claims a mystical insight into the divine nature and natural phenomena;  think Conan Doyle and his fairies). The plot juxtaposes Leah’s search for the identity of the soldier and the mystery alluded to in the letters with the lives of the characters in the vicarage.

The ending was largely a disappointment and I had began skimming towards the end.  The implausible twist of being able to tell from a sepia photograph that both of the subjects had blue eyes seemed highly unconvincing to me and I wasnt that bothered by any of the characters or their fates.  There was obviously some good research on the Suffragettes and theosophy but I was left largely disappointed, so back to the charity shop with this one.


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