The Key – Kathryn Hughes

From the #1 bestselling author of The Letter, Kathryn Hughes, comes The Key, an unforgettable story of a heartbreaking secret that will stay with you for ever.

About the book:

It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever…

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

About the author:

Kathryn Hughes was born in Altrincham, near Manchester. After completing a secretarial course, Kathryn met her husband and they married in Canada. For twenty-nine years they ran a business together, raised two children and travelled when they could to places such as India, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. Kathryn and her family now make their home in a village near Manchester.

My Review:

This is my third book by Kathryn Hughes and certainly not my last.  Kathryn Hughes is my “go-to” author for audible as her books are pure escape, always brilliantly narrated and the characters slip under my skin within the first few chapters.

The Key is utterly compelling and beautifully told through the eyes of Sarah in 2006, a historian who is researching the abandoned Ambergate Asylum and Ellen Crosby who joined Ambergate as a Student Nurse in 1956.  The dual timelines are cleverly interwoven and I was immediately drawn into Sarah and Ellen’s lives.

The subject matter is uncomfortable and at times heartbreaking, and listening to what the “inmates” of Ambergate had to endure during the 50’s was at times unbearable and barbaric, but the author had obviously researched this subject thoroughly which ensured a level of sensitivity and empathy throughout.

Amy certainly shone brightest for me as one of the main characters, a young girl who had a traumatic life and had been committed to the asylum indefinitely by her father.  She arrived on the same day as Student Nurse Ellen Crosby and therefore their lives became entwined with some heartbreaking results.

I thoroughly recommend The Key to anyone who is looking for a beautifully constructed novel with plausible characters and a story line guaranteed to make your heart break and soar.



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