Book Review: The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner

Posted March 11, 2023 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger, Uncategorized / 14 Comments

The London Seance Society
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Sarah Penner
Publication Date March 21, 2023
Published by Legend Press Ltd
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Genres: Fiction / Feminist, Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Magical Realism, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Cozy / Paranormal, Fiction / Occult & Supernatural, Fiction / Women
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

'A great choice for fans of historical European settings, the power of women, and the fringes of the paranormal' Booklist Starred Review

'Sarah Penner brings history to vivid life in this atmospheric and evocative whodunnit steeped in suspense, mystery, and illusion' Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestseller of The Maid

From the author of the intoxicating bestseller The Lost Apothecary comes an entrancing exploration of the blurred lines between truth and illusion and the grave risks women take to avenge the ones they love.

May mercy be upon the man who finds himself the enemy of a vengeful medium...

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...

'Breathtaking' Pam Jenoff
'Smart and seductive' Fiona Davis
'An explosive, immersive, time-bomb of a novel' Laurie Lico Albanese
'Mesmerizing, seductive and absolutely irresistible' Hank Phillippi Ryan

The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner is a historical mystery with some romance.  

Story Recap:

Acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire, is about to perform a séance in an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris.  Vaudeline D’Allaire is an accomplished spiritualist renowned throughout the world for conjuring spirits.  

Lenna Wickes wants answers to her sister’s death.  She doesn’t believe in séances but is desperate to discover what happened to her sister.  Mr. Morley, the current president of the Society’s Department of Spiritualism,  needs to know what happened to his predecessor, Mr. Wolckman, who was brutally murdered the same day as Lenna’s sister.  

My Thoughts: 

I enjoyed this atmospheric, Victorian story about spiritualism and murder!  I’ve always heard that the Victorians enjoyed this spiritualism and séances so it was fun to read a story set in this time.  

Although the story has a slow start, once it picked up, I was quickly immersed in the story.  The author does a wonderful job of making me feel like I’m there with the characters.  The mystery was interesting and I didn’t figure it out until the characters did.  

The story switched POVs between Lenna and Mr. Morley which helped move the story along.  


I highly recommend The London Séance Society to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Sarah Penner

Sarah Penner is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOST APOTHECARY, which has been translated into 40 languages worldwide. Sarah and her husband live in Florida.

Book Challenges:

The London Séance Society counts towards my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

Have you read The London Seance Society?

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

14 responses to “Book Review: The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner

  1. I loved Sarah Penner’s previous book, so am looking forward to this one. I just downloaded the audiobook. Thanks for the warning about the slow start, I will make sure I stick with it. Wonderful review, Wendy.

  2. I have this on my audio TBR and have been really looking forward to listening to this but haven’t seen many reviews. I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it!