The Golden Key (Paperback)
"...Part Shirley Jackson's stories of inner demons, part Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...part Astrid Lindgren's faith in children's resilience and part ghost story."
"Enter a mysterious world in the hands of capable women. Getting drawn into this story is easy; getting out again is trickier."
1901. After the death of Queen Victoria, England heaves with the uncanny. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.
Helena Walton-Cisneros, known for her ability to find the lost and the displaced, is hired by the elusive Lady Matthews to solve a twenty-year-old mystery: the disappearance of her three stepdaughters who vanished without a trace on the Norfolk Fens.
But the Fens are an age-old land, where folk tales and dark magic still linger. The locals speak of devilmen and catatonic children are found on the Broads. Here, Helena finds what she was sent for, as the Fenland always gives up its secrets, in the end...
About the Author
Marian Womack is a bilingual writer, born in Andalusia and raised in the UK. She is a graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop and the Creative Writing Masters at Cambridge University. She works for Cambridge University libraries, and her professional background is in academic libraries, having worked at Glasgow University Library and the Bodleian. Whilst living in Spain, Marian worked as a translator, desk editor, fiction publisher, and bookseller.
Praise for The Golden Key
"Spiritualism, the suffragette movement, and the fairy tales of Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald combine with the author’s lyrical writing style to convey an elegant sense of mystery and otherworldliness. This gothic fantasy will captive fans of historical fiction." - Booklist
"Amid the phantasmagorical developments of Marian Womack’s The Golden Key, which include spiritualism, changelings, and cracked doors between worlds, a parable against privilege arises."
"Steeped in a slew of influences, The Golden Key bends genres." ... "It’s part Shirley Jackson’s stories of inner demons, part Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland...part Astrid Lindgren’s faith in children’s resilience and part ghost story." ... "Enter a mysterious world in the hands of capable women. Getting drawn into this story is easy; getting out again is trickier." -BookPage
"With hints of the brooding Gothic of Rawblood and Rebecca, this wonderfully creepy historical novel makes it absolutely clear that Marian Womack is a rising star." --Tim Major, author of Snakeskins
"An intriguing and unsettling tale of séances, strange lights, disappearing children and a poacher who swears he has seen the devil in the marshes . . . Womack brings a great sense of the uncanny to the Fens." --Alison Littlewood, author of A Cold Season
"This supernatural sleuth adventure is subtly frightening" - Fangoria Magazine
"Wonderfully evocative" - Anthony Cardno, blog review
'In Marian Womack’s shadowy novel, ingenious women confront turn of-the-century uncertainties. In the 1880s, three children disappeared from their estate in the Norfolk Fens....Twenty years later, in the wake of Queen Victoria’s death, detective Helena Walton-Cisneros and her new friend, Eliza Waltraud, search for answers to this mystery...The action swirls in a maelstrom of spiritualism, revived after Victoria’s passing, and the subsequent rational backlash. Steeped in a slew of influences, The Golden Key bends genres. It’s part Shirley Jackson’s stories of inner demons, part Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (referenced throughout the book), part Astrid Lindgren’s faith in children’s resilience and part ghost story. A lush, unsettled atmosphere echoes in lugubrious descriptions of the Fens. Enter a mysterious world in the hands of capable women. Getting drawn into this story is easy; getting out again is trickier.' —Mari Carlson, BookPage Magazine
“ultimately a very literary kind of historical mystery, reminiscent in places of works like Jeanette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sky and Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula” - Tor.com
Praise for Lost Objects
"Intriguing and illuminating... chockfull of interesting ideas about the natural world and ourselves." --Jeff VanderMeer
"Marian Womack weaves together the lyricism of Angela Carter, the mad imagination of China Miéville, and the earthiness of Robert Macfarlane. This book - an aviary of the strange, a vital evocation of wild and fleeting spirits - marks the emergence of a fantastic new talent." --Helen Marshall
"Marian Womack is an artist with a unique and powerfully-wrought vision." --Una MacCormack
"Luminous and disturbing as the unearthly things they describe, Marian Womack's gorgeously written tales map the shifting boundaries between waking life and dream, past and future and our own profoundly unsettled present. Reading them left me with goosebumps, and the craving for more stories by this supremely gifted new writer." --Elizabeth Hand