The Golden Key by Marian Womack

The Golden Key

An extraordinary, page-turning Gothic mystery set in the wilds of the Norfolk Fens from the BSFA-shortlisted author.London, 1901. After the death of Queen Victoria the city heaves with the uncanny and the eerie. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.Samuel Moncrieff, recovering from a recent tragedy of his own, meets Helena Walton-Cisneros, one of London’s most reputed mediums. But Helena is not what she seems and sh...

Details The Golden Key

TitleThe Golden Key
Release DateFeb 18th, 2020
PublisherTitan Books
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Gothic

Reviews The Golden Key

  • Jen
    2.5*I so anticipated liking this book. The blurb on the back cover pulled me in with the promise of all of my favourite things...seances, disappearing girls, strong female characters, folk tales, dark magic and all set in the liminal space of the Fens, one of my favourite places in the world. I had such high hopes but I soon realised that I wasn'tenjoying the reading experience very much as I found it almost impossible to retain any of the story....
  • Liz Barnsley
    I really enjoyed The Golden Key during it's opening chapters, atmospheric and cleverly written but after about the halfway mark I felt it got a little muddled. It's a bit jump around in its plotting and whilst I engaged with the characters I didn't feel I got to know them enough over the course of the story.I loved the gothic aspects of it and the beautifully descriptive Victorian era but overall it was a bit messy and the ending was a bit of a l...
  • Runalong
    Very good gothic thriller with some wonderful use of atmosphere; smart plotting and a great look at the role and erasure of women in the period. Also wonderfully eerie and perfect for stormy nights Full review -
  • Manon
    I really didn't enjoy this book. The first chapter was promising, but I couldn't get into it after that. I have no clue what happened for 350 pages long.
  • Helen Carolan
    I had such high hopes for this one. Sounded like it was right up my street. An eerie Norfolk setting a mysterious manor house and the main players all having secrets and a link to the mysterious house. Oh and I forgot to mention it's one of my fave genres.Gothic. Sadly it didn't do too much for me. Very disjointed and confusing. Such a shame as it did have the odd moment when something fab occured. Sadly there weren't enough of those moments. Dis...
  • The Coycaterpillar Reads
    Had to DNF @25%I couldn't connect with the characters or discriptions. A real pity.
  • Amy
    I had to DNF this one at 64 pages... I tried to read more but I just couldnt get into it. The writing seems very stilted and there is no real sense of a plot... maybe it gets better further on but I was literally forcing myself to keep reading when I had no desire to. I had to DNF this one at 64 pages... I tried to read more but I just couldn’t get into it. The writing seems very stilted and there is no real sense of a plot... maybe it gets b...
  • Sammie
    You can read my full review on my blog, The Writerly Way, here.Many thanks to Titan Books for a finished copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Im a very simple woman. I see Gothic and a hint of the supernatural and I am there. The Golden Key sounds like a perfect combination of ghosts and superstition and haunted buildings and it was a good combination of these things, but it left some things to be desired.The Golden Key is a haunting...
  • Roxana
    I...have no idea what happened in this confusing mess of a book. Atmospheric? Absolutely. Coherent? Uhhhhh...
  • Paperbacks
    The Golden Key is a wonderful debut novel by this author and Im grateful to Titan books for providing me with copy for review, historical is a genre that I rarely get the opportunity to read and with the addition of some wonderful fantasy elements this book ticked a lot of boxes for me. The setting as the blurb explains, is in a Britain shortly after the loss of Queen Victoria, the seance scene has skyrocketed along with the naysayers, what is wi...
  • Nicole Sweeney
    Review originally posted on The Bibliophile Chronicles.When I first read the synopsis of The Golden Key (and saw that stunning cover) I was completely intrigued. The story follows Samuel-Montcrieff, a young man recovering from a recent tragedy and residing in Victorian London. He encounters a lady named Helena Walton-Cisneros, who finds herself caught up in solving the mystery of three young women who disappeared in the Norfolk Fens twenty years ...
  • Bethany
    2.5 stars, rounded up to 3. If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be 'fragmented'. The premise and mood of the book are intriguing and should've been completely up my street, and I found the characters well drawn if not fully tangible. Most frustratingly, I think there was a good plot in there somewhere. The execution is just incredibly muddled.I feel like there are too many POVs and threads to keep track of. It was satisfying to s...
  • Kelly Van Damme
    Hi and welcome to my review of The Golden Key!Folk tales and dark magic, seances and mediums, a twenty-year-old mystery waiting to be solved AND a pretty cover?! This little blogger was all in! The Golden Key delivers all these elements, and does it with verve. Reminiscent of Rebecca and the novels of Laura Purcell, The Golden Key starts out with the kind of Gothic gloom I simply adore; the prose marvellous, detailed but not overly so; the story ...
  • Andover Library
    This is a book that needs time dedicated to it. Some books I find I can pick up and put down in the small gaps of time I find to squeeze in extra reading, The Golden Key wasnt one of those books. I read the first couple of chapters in the bit-by-bit style but I was loosing track of the characters and getting a little lost. However once I sat down and gave this book the time it needed I found myself wrapped up in this hugely atmospheric and eerie ...
  • Dan Bassett
    1901, Queen Victoria has passed away and England is in mourning and caught up in the craze of seances and contacting those they have lost.Helena Walton is known for her uncanny ability to find things that are lost and is hired by Lady Matthews to solve a twenty year old mystery of her three stepdaughters who vanished on the Fens of Norfolk.However, the Fens are the land of dark magic, folk lore and the devil himself....Why have children been disa...
  • Vincent Desjardins
    This book was a real disappointment which is a shame because it has so many elements that I typically enjoy - end of the Victorian era setting, spiritualism, seances, fairyland, changelings, mystery, spooky atmosphere, strong female character, etc. But unfortunately the book's structure seemed a bit of a mess. It was like the author had constructed a connect the dots puzzle, and probably had a good idea in her own head of what she was attempting,...
  • Sophie Farr
    Spooky, lyrical and full of atmosphere. I've always enjoyed books that play with ambiguity the author assumes her reader is sharp enough to use their imagination to fill in any spaces, and it always leaves me thinking about the book for longer after I've finished it. Now I need to add Marian's short story collection to my reading list! Spooky, lyrical and full of atmosphere. I've always enjoyed books that play with ambiguity – the author ass...
  • Doris Raines
  • Regina
    I am a fan of historical fiction and particularly love stories of the occult detective variety. I knew after reading Marian Womack's book, Lost Objects, that I wanted to read more. I am happy to say that after reading The Golden Key, I am looking forward to even more of her work. This is a slowly unfolding mystery that may or may not be solved by the end. It is full of ambiguity and adventure and mystery. It helps to be a fan of - or at least to ...
  • Antonia
    Sadly this was quite disappointing although was definitely a 3.5/5 until the last 20 or so pages.In other reviews Ive seen many other people disliked this book because of the style its written and chose to stop reading it because of this. However this is something I loved throughout because of its attempt to emulate traditional/classic gothic fiction. For example, it introduced so many characters and events and they all seem unrelated or distant ...
  • Kate (Looking Glass Reads)
    Traditional Victorian gothic is mixed with elements of mystery and fantasy in The Golden Key by Marian Womack. In this, as of yet, standalone novel, the supernatural clash against psychology and detective work. Underneath that lies something more than the Victorian indulgence for séances and tarot readings. Theres something uncanny happening, something that cant be explained by normal measures but can be felt and seen nonetheless.The book is tol...
  • Gordon Mcghie
    Its 1901. The Queen is dead and at the start of the 20th century the norms of Victorian England are being challenged a bit more than some may have considered possible during the long reign of Victoria. One notable change is a rise in spiritualism and the need for people to reach out and contact the deceased. As has always been the way; the rise in demand will increase the number of spiritualists who may appear and make themselves available. Throu...
  • Mary
    When a 315 page book takes me a week to read it something's wrong. It never pulled me in. It jumped all over the place. I would read 10 pages and it would just plain leave me tired. Maybe it's just not my kind of read! I did finish it. The ending was disappointing as was the entire book. Way too many good books out there to waste your time on this one.
  • Mhallowell
    It was laborious to get through. Metaphors, symbolism, something, seem to be used throughout the book, but Im not sure? It was hard for me to follow. Maybe it was very deep. The two stars is just because I was able to finish it. Thankfully it is a rather short book. It was laborious to get through. Metaphors, symbolism, something, seem to be used throughout the book, but I’m not sure? It was hard for me to follow. Maybe it was very deep. The ...
  • A. Luna
    I didn't know what this book was about when I started to read it. What I did know was that Marian Womack is a rising star in the contemporary gothic literature scene and that this book is based on the famed short story "The Golden Key" by George MacDonald. Otherwise, I delved into it without the slightest clue. Of course, I had read the synopsis, but I didn't fully process it until I finally finished this lovely novel.Upon starting the first chap...
  • Sferg
    I was really disappointed in this book. The premise was so intriguing but the storyline was disjointed & scattered. Almost as if they wrote the book in a hurry without filling developing the story
  • Erica Clashe
    A witty, lush, gothic fantasy/mystery that brings to mind "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell." There are Spiritualist societies with antagonistic theories of magic recalling Susanna Clarke's famous sorcerer rivalry. And, like Clarke, Womack brilliantly combines the wondrous, the bookish, and the ghastly. Although Womack leans even more toward horror. Beautifully written, with passages that left me breathless and chilled. The natural/unnatural worl...
  • L.A.L.
    In a word, disappointing.I picked up this book based on the synopsis, which sounded right up my alley. Although the prose is well-written, even beautiful, the story is muddled and lacks shape. I expected to start reading about Helena and Lady Matthews. But the story opens with Samuel, who has some context but not enough to designate his purpose within the larger story. I figured his purpose and story would become clearer. It did . . . somewhat. B...