The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner

The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner
Published by Park Row on March 7, 2023
Genres: Historical, LGBTQIA+, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

A spellbinding tale about two daring women who hunt for truth and justice in the perilous art of conjuring the dead.
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…


I’ve started an in real life buddy read with a friend where we alternate who picks the book to read for the month and then we meet up the first Friday of the month to discuss our thoughts. The first book that we read was my friend’s choice, The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner. It looked super interesting and I loved that it was tagged as lgbtqia+. That said, it was a STRUGGLE to get into at the very start, though I think that is my fault. Why?

I am incredibly superficial, especially when it comes to book characters. Honestly, I don’t want to read about ugly characters. If I wanted to talk about ugly characters I’d stick to real life. Cruel, shallow, I know, but truthful. So when this split narrative book described the male narrator, Mr. Morley, as unattractive, I was immediately turned off. I thought about how I did not want to read a whole 300 pages about someone falling in love with this ugly, boring man. I put it off until the end of the month came closer and I knew I’d have to discuss this with my friend.

Things picked up about 20% in when I finally started to realize why Mr. Morley was ugly and what was going on. It became interesting at that point and I was able to finish it in a breeze. However, I did get annoyed with the other main narrator, Lenna Wickes, for being just so dumb. She so easily believed the worst of her sister where I could easily understand what she likely was doing and what her motivations were. It became frustrating but drove me to continue reading just to have some sense of vindication, which did come and was satisfying.

Would I recommend The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner? Sure! It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible. It was a good filler book to read. A palate cleanser book to read between heavier novels or series.


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