BOOK REVIEW: The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner


Title: The London Seance Society
Author: Sarah Penner
Publication: March 7, 2023
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical
Pages: 350

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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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. But as the women 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…


A few years ago I reviewed this author’s first book, The Last Apothecary.  It was absolutely amazing.  So much so that after reading it I knew that I wanted to add mudlarking to my to-do list when I go to London again.  Mudlarking is what they do when the tide lowers on the Thames.  They walk and look for little artifacts in the mud and rocks.  Anyway, I loved the book, so when I saw her newest one at my hometown used book store I snatched that bad boy up so fast.  

Leena is desperate.  Her sister died on All Hallow’s Eve.  They have no clues as to who did it.  In her desperation, she follows something that her sister had great interest in, seances.  People would hold seances and the loved one from beyond the veil will reveal their killer to them and allow for peace for the family and justice for the deceased.  She goes to France to learn from her sister’s teacher, Vaudeline. Things start happening and it becomes more than she bargained for and a bigger mystery than she thought that it would be.  First of all, I loved this book.  Not as much as her first one but I really enjoyed it.  I loved the well researched aspect of how the Victorians handle death and dying.  

I thought the story flowed smoothly once I got used to the individual sections for each main character.  The romance was a bit of a surprise to me but I actually liked that storyline.  They were perfect for each other and made an amazing team in the end.  I thought that the lead on the author did with who the murder actually was, was a bit sublime.  I was not entirely sure who actually did it, until almost the end.  The author did a really good job of painting the picture for you of the story.  I think Leena was my favorite character. She was tenacious and didn’t give up.  She was going to find the culprit for her sisters murder.  She knew something was wrong and she went for it.  I hope that this author writes more books.  They are certainly things I want to read and look forward to reading.  

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