The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown @bethunderdown @PenguinUKBooks #TheKeyInTheLock #NetGalley #NewRelease #BookReview

The Key In The Lock: An atmospheric historical mystery perfect for fans of Once Upon a River and The Foundling by [Beth Underdown]


I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unravelling from an upper window, and the terrace bathed in a hectic orange light . . . Now I see that the decision I made at Polneath was the only decision of my life. Everything marred in that one dark minute.

By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still.

For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

But once you open a door to the past, can you ever truly close it again?

From the award-winning author of The Witchfinder’s Sister comes a captivating story of burning secrets and buried shame, and of the loyalty and love that rises from the ashes.


The Key In The Lock


This story takes place on two-time lines, 1888 and 1918. Ivy Boscawen’s only son died in the Great War, but she needs to know how and why. Her husband is a sickly man, unable to seek the truth himself, but nothing will stop Ivy. She had experienced tragedy before, with the death of a child in a fire. The truth had not come out then either, and it had always haunted her. She felt like she was been punished for not doing more than she had for the little boy.

It is quite a deep and dark read. It is intense yet a slow burn at the same time. The story is set not that long ago when women had few rights at work and at home. They were expected to do anything without questioning it or objecting because they could be easily replaced. But, at the same time, women were thought of as fragile and unable to cope with life’s tragedies. Ivy was determined to seek the truth out in the past and present, but could she bear the truth?

The story captures both periods perfectly. Although the outcome of both stories is heartbreaking. You know who dies but will people from the past and present be strong enough for the truth? This is the author’s second novel, and it will rip you open. What a talent this lady is. Highly recommended.

I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book that I have reviewed honestly.



Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.

The Witchfinder’s Sister is her debut novel, and is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins.

She first came across him while reading a book about seventeenth-century midwifery. As you do.

Twitter: @bethunderdown

The Key In The Lock: An atmospheric historical mystery perfect for fans of Once Upon a River and The Foundling by [Beth Underdown]

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