Author: Katherine Webb
A captivating tale of two women’s struggle for identity and freedom, one ultimately futile and one successful!
A haunting tale that will touch the very core of you, of a time that not one of us these days could imagine having to live through.
The central character in this novel, the character by which two very different storylines (that turn out not to be so different after all) separated by 100 years are connected and entwine to tell the tale, is a man. Not really that surprising actually when you talk of a tale in which women are struggling for identity and freedom. Surprising in the way it comes about though.
Katherine Webb weaves the web of intrigue so well in this, her 2nd novel, that I found it a struggle to walk away from – which can be rather troublesome when you read on your lunch break.
The two storylines, separated by exactly a century, run parallel through the narrative in a way that means the switch in century will leave you compelled to keep reading until you can return to the other century.
The Unseen plays out in the Rectory of a little English town in 1911, the time of the suffragette, and in 2011 when an unidentified soldier is discovered in a field in Belgium. Sound like these two places are very far removed? Intrigued as to how they are connected? So was I, and Webb will keep you guessing right to the very end.
Catherine Morley, born to a life of servitude and forever straining at her bonds, becomes involved in the Women’s Social and Political Union and ultimately finds herself arrested and imprisoned. On her release she is removed from her position and transferred to the Cold Ash Holt Rectory. The further into the story we move the more we learn about Cat and the unfortunate road her life has travelled, the more we learn of her disposition, and ultimately the more we begin to feel for her.
In 2011, Leah Hickson is called in to try and identify a soldier who has been unearthed in Belgium. Leah is a journalist so it takes a little to discover why she is the one you would call on in this situation but there are some interesting circumstances that make this an enticing prospect allowing for research and calling for the journalist’s nose for a story. And a story she discovered!
Though you still have to wonder, if it wasn’t her ex-boyfriend would she have still been called in? For that matter, if it hadn’t been him would she have become involved at all?
The man at the centre of this story, quite a colourful character and not one I would ever want to meet. A sly and snaky man to make your skin crawl – but that’s all I will say about him and leave you to discover the details for yourself.
A story rife with twists and unexpected consequences that clenched the stomach, made the blood boil and brought me to the verge of tears.
Some of these places exist, some details are historically accurate but these characters live only in our imaginations, and they are vivid characters that I am sure will live on for quite some time.
The Unseen is a tale of new beginnings and a story of discovery; a discovery of self and what we are capable of given the right circumstances. It is also very much a tale of things not being quite as they seem.