THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From the author of the sensational bestseller The Lost Apothecary comes a spellbinding tale about two daring women who hunt for truth and justice in the perilous art of conjuring the dead.
1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. With shared determination, the women find companionship that perhaps borders on something more. And as they team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…
Written with intoxicating suspense and sultry prose, The London Séance Society is an entrancing tale that blurs the lines between truth and illusion, and reveals the grave risks women will take to avenge the ones they love.
"Penner brings history to vivid life in this atmospheric and evocative whodunnit." —Nita Prose, author of The Maid
Named a Most Anticipated book by Good Housekeeping, Washington Post, Bookpage, CrimeReads, Readers Digest, Popsugar, LitHub, E! News, Goodreads, and more
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A high-profile murder pairs a grieving sister with a famous medium in this eerie and intoxicating gothic mystery. In 1873 Paris, skeptical Lenna Wickes lands an unlikely apprenticeship with the renowned medium Vaudeline D’Allaire. She’s hoping to learn about the mysterious death of her sister Evie, who was Vaudeline’s student. But when Vaudeline is drawn into a grisly British murder case, Lenna must accompany her new mentor back across the Channel for a spiritualist investigation that threatens to shake Victorian London to its core. With her masterful mix of period detail, vivid characterization, and just the right amount of otherworldly spice, Sarah Penner sets the stage for an enticing period mystery. The further the intrepid Lenna became entangled in a world of fraud, magic, and romance in high-society, the deeper we were pulled into her search for answers. The London Séance Society filled us with wonder, doubt, and excitement.
Penner (The Lost Apothecary) delivers another captivating feminist gothic tale. The story begins with a midnight séance in 1873 Paris, hosted by Vaudeline D'Allaire, a celebrated medium known for getting murder victims to pinpoint their killers. Vaudeline has fled London under mysterious circumstances, in the company of skeptical Lenna Wickes, who's convinced the other woman to let her be an apprentice. Lenna's true motivation is to unravel the sudden death of her sister, Evie, a burgeoning medium and student of D'Allaire's, which occurred on All Hallow's Eve. In a parallel narrative, Mr. Morley, director of the London Séance Society, is occupied with another puzzling death that also occurred on All Hallow's Eve, that of society president Mr. Volckman. Under the pretense of hosting a séance to ascertain the identity of Mr. Volckman's killer, Mr. Morley offers Lenna and Vaudeline a chance to return to London, by inviting them into the Séance Society's all-male club. The two accept with the hopes of conjuring up details of Evie's murder. As the well-paced adventure reaches an explosive climax, Lenna uncovers more about the London Séance Society's illusions and comes to terms with her sexuality. A late-breaking romance involving Lenna and Vaudeline feels underdeveloped, but otherwise Penner expertly fits the pieces together. Fans of the genre will eat this up.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4
I give the book a solid 3.5 stars - this book covered quite a few topics that interest me - ghosts, seances, powerful women, historical fiction, and the potential to include magic. Of course, I was immediately drawn to it.
I thought that I had the book all figured out by about 1/4 or 1/2 way, and I was pleasantly surprised that my hunches ended up being incorrect.
It was definitely a fairly quick and fairly interesting read for me, and I did thing it was great that they sort of poked holes and shined a light on parlor tricks that were often brought forth through old seances.
I did enjoy the book, and I think it’s perfect for something fun like a beach day or whatever, and I absolutely will read Sarah Penner’s next book(s) because I really enjoyed the Lost Apothecary. However, it also wasn’t my favorite and I do feel that the book could have gone and done something more with the premise, because it definitely included some of my favorite topics.
BOTM - Hardcover
I really wanted to love this book, but certain parts were difficult to mull through—I suppose they seemed like filler. However, I did enjoy the story and the outcome of the events that unfolded.
I found this book through a book club I am in online and couldn’t put it down! I flew through the chapters. I feel bad for not sticking to the chapter requirements of the book club but not bad enough to have stopped reading lol. Only reason I didn’t choose 5 stars is because it was lacking something I can’t quite put my finger on. I think I was hoping for even more romance and more drama, but that’s just a personal preference.