Historical fiction

The Key by Kathryn Hughes

I went on a reserving spree on my local library’s website. I have no idea why I did that considering how many books I have on hand. This is always how it has always been, collecting more than I can chew. I have started taking local language classes once a week and started crocheting again. So all of this put together means that there will be a lot more reviews in the last few months of the year ( how did we get to mid-september already?!). If not the physical book reviews then it will be the audiobook reviews that will accompany my attempts to make something with yarn that always insists on tying itself up in knots.

This is a book I requested from NetGalley because I liked the blurb. There are a lot of possibilities in a story when it is centered around a mental institution around fifty plus years ago in England. The flimsy excuses given at the time for committing people (especially women) are scary to think consider. There is such a fine line between being accepted and being banished into a void.

The story is of two women. One in the present who is looking into the past of the local mental health institution. The place is currently in ruins and her exploring into its history seems to be making her father uncomfortable. We are also given a parallel look into something that happened fifty years ago. What we are unaware of is whose story it actually is ( with regards to the second woman). The clever part of the tale ( and I suggest you go with the suggestions for maximum effect) is that we are given too many indications pointing to a tie up with the past, but we are unaware of who the players actually are. The women in the institution are helpless in their own way and that is part of the focus. The tale itself was good, the storyline not too predictable but I felt like is was more the case of telling than showing. If I got to make my own judgements on people’s reactions based on the description instead of being told where they stand, I would have definitely enjoyed the story more. I know this is a more personal opinion since a majority of the reviews indicate they did not have the same problem that I did. I would like to try more of the author’s books in the future.

 

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