The Séance

The Séance

[a Novel]

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A haunting tale of apparitions, a cursed manor house, and two generations of women determined to discover the truth, by the author of The Ghost Writer Sell the Hall unseen; burn it to the ground and plow the earth with salt, if you will; but never live there . . ." Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constance's sister, the child she lost.Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a séance: perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life.
So begins The Séance, John Harwood's brilliant second novel, a gripping, dark mystery set in late-Victorian England.
It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villains--and murder. For Constance's bequest comes in two parts: a house and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared atWraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside with a sinister reputation.Now the Hall belongs to Constance. And she must descend into the darkness at the heart of theWraxford Mystery to find the truth, even at the cost of her life.
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2008
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780151012039
Characteristics: 328 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 01, 2017

Not a traditional ghost story along the lines of the Haunting of Hill House or The Uninvited, more like old fashioned books such as The Woman in White. It's okay but sometimes a little ponderous and I thought it could have been trimmed a bit as well. It's broken into different parts as written by a number of people spread out over a number of years, all brought together by the first narrator who closes the story with her wrap-up.

Jan 05, 2017

A great read! A bit complicated at first to keep track of who's talking, but it's worth it. A wonderful atmosphere, reminiscent of Wuthering Heights or Jamaica Inn (less than those, but still great!). He builds suspense wonderfully -- I was on the edge of my seat at one point, as each moment unfurled almost visually with his great descriptions! Very enjoyable and worth reading.

Sep 21, 2014

An engaging story based in Victorian England - my favourite! A complicated story that left me satisfied in the end.

Apr 12, 2013

A compelling read. Not scary, but intriguing.

Jul 31, 2011

brilliant read if you are into Victorian era. this novel is a hauntingly delicious read, the mysteries and suspense keep the storyline in place with its sense of foreboding.

Dec 20, 2010

Eleanor has grown up with a strange gift - she has visitations from the dead. Her family finds this disconcerting, but interesting as well. While she tries to find the answers to her strange power, Grace also has to beware the charlatans that prey on the innocent with their phony operations. This book provides a portrait into the past century when people believed that spirits were a part of the everyday world.

Apr 19, 2010

A Victorian mystery complete with a haunted estate mansion, rumours, and creepy characters. I found it a little slow and hard to get into at first but it picked up and was worthwhile.

Apr 01, 2010

A good read that kept me far more engaged that the author's previous novel, "The Ghost Writer." I found that I could imagine the setting, especially Wraxford Manor, in great detail.

Dec 21, 2009

Although the heart of this Victorian novel is the search for identity and the quest for love, it is distinctly a mystery novel about a haunted mansion in the English countryside and the imaginary (or are they real?) goings-on of a secluded gentry. Don't be put-off by its slow start, let it envelop you in the era with engaging writing, looming suspicions and a wish for some dastardly and fiendish activity to satisfy your inner ghost-seeker, you. The first half is quasi-Sherlock Holmes as the plot is generously laid out, the story develops and the tale is fleshed out. The heroine struggles to find a reason to explain her love-less life as we are easily manipulted by her tragic childhood and riches to rags story, but then she reads a strange notice in the Times, and her fortunes are soon to change or get worse? The second half is the inevitable exploration of the mansion. There's the imposing house with guarded secrets that begs to be explored. It is haunted, it is huge, it is draughty, it is ugly with a series of strange deaths and disappearances to add to its creepiness. An expert party of do-gooders try to de-mystify it, but wind up stirring up more dust than they intended. The heroine is a pretty keen observer and reaches conclusions worthy of Mr. Holmes. The shattering climax and the surprising dénouement will satisfy and make you yearn for more from author Harwood.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GRPL

To Top