Monday, June 11, 2012

The Unseen by Katherine Webb

The Unseen by Katherine Webb

Completion Date: May 17, 2012
Reason for Reading: TLC Blog Tour.
From Katherine Webb, the author of the acclaimed international bestseller The Legacy, comes a compelling tale of love, deception, and illusion.
A vicar with a passion for nature, the Reverend Albert Canning leads a happy existence with his naive wife, Hester, in their sleepy Berkshire village in the year 1911. But as the English summer dawns, the Cannings’ lives are forever changed by two new arrivals: Cat, their new maid, a disaffected, free-spirited young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the law; and Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby.
Quickly finding a place for herself in the underbelly of local society, Cat secretly plots her escape. Meanwhile, Robin, a young man of considerable magnetic charm and beauty, soon becomes an object of fascination and desire. Sweltering in the oppressive summer heat, the peaceful rectory turns into a hotbed of dangerous ambition, forbidden love, and jealousy—a potent mixture of emotions that ultimately leads to murder.
I read The Legacy by Katherine Webb in August of 2011. I was originally drawn to Katherine Webb because she was being compared to Diane Setterfield and Kate Morton. I have enjoyed these authors and their styles; so I am always on the look-out for comparable new authors to try. To start off, I will admit that I enjoyed The Legacy more than The Unseen. This surprised me because I thought the WWI connection to this book would easily make it the better of the two. The interesting thing is that in my review of The Legacy I thought that Webb would only get better. I am disappointed to find that I was wrong. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy The Unseen - it had its qualities, too.

Despite being interested in what Webb did next, I missed the information that this book was expected. I guess I was not expecting a new release so soon after her other one. I jumped at the chance to read it because I have always been intrigued by WWI and WWII books. And, I was captivated by the story in the beginning. I liked the idea of a 100 year old mystery. It begins as a story about an unknown WWI soldier, an ex-boyfriend, and his ex-girlfriend reporter. She is working freelance and needs a big story. He thinks he wants her back. What happens is a novel that flips back and forth from 2011 to 1911. The flipping viewpoints is similar to the story-telling method in The Legacy. I did enjoy the history lesson and, done right, changing viewpoints are a good way to tell a story.

So, I suppose you are wondering why I didn't like this book as much? If I had to put a finger on it I would say the characters. I found them much more interesting in The Legacy. As a result I was more intrigued by the overall story. In The Unseen I was interested, but not blown away and invested in the characters. I never seemed to lose myself in the story. As a result, The Legacy remains my favourite, but I still want to read more from Webb. I still think she has a lot of potential.

It is not that this book was bad. I just know that Webb can do better. I hope that an authors new book will be better than their previous one and am disappointed when it doesn't meet my expectations. Hopefully book 3 will get her back on track for me. I haven't given up yet!

Katherine’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 23rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, June 1st: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, June 5th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, June 6th: Literature and a Lens
Thursday, June 7th: “That’s Swell!”
Friday, June 8th: Life In Review
Monday, June 11th: The Written World
Tuesday, June 12th: Luxury Reading


  1. Too bad about this read.

  2. OK, I was skimming, I admit. I saw this comment -->" enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby"
    and say WATERMELONS instead of water meadows and was thinking, 'HOW ODD.'

    oh well, maybe the author's third attempt will be stupendous! Think you would try her again?

  3. I haven't read The Legacy, but I like Setterfield and Morton so I'm adding The Legacy to my list. Maybe even The Unseen, keeping your caveats in mind!

  4. I haven't read anything by this author but in spite of the fact that you disliked this one by comparison to The Legacy, I'm intrigued. I'll have to add The Legacy to my wishlist, though, since it's your favorite of the two.

    Also, shallow confession: I would probably read this book just because I love the cover so much.

  5. I haven't read The Legacy, but I don't think either book sounds like my thing. The covers are absolutely gorgeous.

  6. I am just beginning the Legacy today! (got a used copy) I had not heard about the comparison to Setterfield and Morton, I love them both! Sorry this one didn't live up to The Legacy, sometimes our own expectations get in our way..I hope your next book is better!

  7. It's too bad this one didn't meet your expectations but I'm glad to see that you're still looking for more books from this author.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  8. I've got both of this author's books on my TBR list! They both sound good and I'm eager to find the time to read them :)


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