The Sťance

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 - Fiction - 328 pages
24 Reviews
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 s ance: 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 S ance, 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.

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User Review  - Bagpuss - LibraryThing

After the death of her sister, Constance’s mother becomes depressed. In an attempt to cheer her mother up, Constance arranges for them to attend a Sťance in the hope of being able to speak to her dead ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rwilliab - LibraryThing

Deliciously creepy tale with a bent that will appeal to the semi-sadistic Victorian aesthetic of BrontŽ lovers. Engaging and for the most part well constructed and realized, though Constance and Nell ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

JOHN HARWOOD is the author of The Ghost Writer, which won the 2004 International Horror Guild Award for Best First Novel. A professor of English for twenty-five years, Harwood also wrote a biography of Olivia Shakespeare, an Edwardian novelist and the lover of W. B. Yeats; she became Harwood's inspiration for Viola Hatherley, the central presence in The Ghost Writer.

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