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Summary

From the number one best-selling author of The Letter, Kathryn Hughes, comes The Key, an unforgettable story of a heartbreaking secret that will stay with you forever.

1956
It's Ellen Crosby's first day at work as a student nurse at Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum. When she meets a young girl committed by her father, and a pioneering physician keen to try out the various 'cures' available for mental illness, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change all their lives forever....

2006
Sarah is drawn to the abandoned Ambergate Asylum, and whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase in an attic belonging to a female patient who was admitted to the asylum fifty years earlier. The shocking contents of the suitcase lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy, lost love and an old wrong that only Sarah may have the power to put right.

©2018 Kathryn Hughes (P)2018 Headline Publishing Group Ltd.

Critic reviews

"Riveting." (Lesley Pearse on The Letter)

"Gripping." (Good Housekeeping on The Secret)

"Hughes creates a sense of time and place effortlessly. The social context is incredibly important and once again, conveyed so well that the reader feels immersed in the world of Ambergate. Even though some of the story is set in the past, it still feels relevant and still raises questions about attitudes to mental illness, trauma, motherhood and grief." (Bibliomaniac on The Key)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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The Key,Amazing book that deserves 6 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Most definitely yes

Any additional comments?

The Key, an unforgettable story of a heartbreaking secret that will stay with you forever.

😊 OMG If I could give this book more then 5 stars I would..It sure deserves it, Having read Kathryn Hughes other books “The letter” and “The secret” I couldn’t wait for this one to be released knowing that it would be just as beautifully written and heart a warming story as her other books.
Kathryn has created a even more beautiful, heart wrenching and moving story with this one.

Whilst researching into the abandoned Ambergate Asylum, Sarah discovers a suitcase in an attic belonging to a female patient who was admitted to the asylum fifty years earlier. The shocking contents lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy, lost love and an old wrong that only Sarah maybe able to put right. We then travel down the 1956 timeline of the Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum meeting Ellen Crosby, a student nurse starting her first day at work.
The 'then and now' works really well and easy to follow as they come together at the end in some shocking revelations. I was totally amazed by the brilliant twists all the though the story from the first chapter to the very last.

"The Key" ( just like Kathryn Hughes other books) is a totally amazingly engrossing, addictive and emotional story that you wont want to stop listening to.
It will leave you both smiling and sad as you follow the life’s of the amazingly thought of characters that will sure stay will you long after you finish listening.👌🏼😊 Make sure to have some tissues at hand for the last few chapters you will need them.

The author always knows how to capture the hearts of the readers and she has certainly succeeded again with this powerful well written beautiful book. ❤️

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Wow, Fantastic read

Beautifully narrated by the talented actress Joanne Froggatt. Such a moving story - had me gripped from the start. Rarely does a book stay with you and have you thinking about it long after you've finished it. I didn't want it to end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

What a fantastic book. Read it in a day and a half. Didn’t want it to end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Incredible!

This is such a wonderful story. I have listened to The Letter and The Secret and I was looking forward to listening to The Key.

Joanne Foggart is an exceptional narrator, she really can draw you into the story.
Despite the present, past and present (again) aspect of the book, there is no constant shift back and forth in time, making the book very easy to follow.
The characters are so vivid and the environment is so vivid, you can really imagine being there.
I listened to this book in 1 and a half days and I was gripped from the start.
A wonderful, wonderful story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely perfect in every way

I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a book as much as I did this one. It made me laugh and cry and I just didn’t want it to finish. Kathryn Hughes is a truly gifted storyteller and one of my very favorite authors. Joanne Froggatt did a wonderful job of the narration, much better than her previous attempts, in my opinion. The book is truly wonderful and is a must read.. don’t miss it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent

captivating book really enjoyed it well read couldn't wait to get back into the car

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A mixed bag

Lots of emotions in this audio book. Lots of twists and anticipation for next part. Joanne Froggatt is an amazing narrator she brings life to audio books. This is the second audio I have listened to I wish she had done more. I'd quite gladly listen to her narration on every book. The Key is. Very good hard to stop listening to I stayed in car longer after engine off j is there to listen to end of chapter

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Accurate account of the time

As I worked in a large psychiatric hospital in the seventies, it was remarkably accurate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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must read

first of all love love Joanne froggatt as a narrator this being the second book I've read she s narrated, as for the book I absolutely loved it fantastic storyline and characters very easy to imagine highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Unstoppable read.

I nearly didn’t listen to this book as some comments weren’t quite as appreciative of what I’d come to expect of a Kathryn Hughes book. Each character was so well described that I felt like I grew to know them well, just really sad that it ended. Now I have to wait for her next book to be published.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Christina t
  • Christina t
  • 21-04-18

<br />Wonderful storytelling

This is my most favorite kind of books! A story that holds your interest from the beginning! Sara's need and desire to research an old insane asylum, brings to light the stories of horror and kindness. Worth a credit!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cricket
  • Cricket
  • 19-04-18

Very Good

This audible book was very sad. It takes you throuh a range of emotions. The book also gives you an ugly picture of what happens in mental institutions and how Individuals are mistreated and misdiagnosed.

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  • Leanne L
  • 13-04-18

excellent!

love everything I have listened to from this writer! this story flowed beautifully! must read!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-04-18

Different

This was a very intense book. At times it was difficult to listen to or read. It was heartbreaking , sad and wrong. However it kept my interest and at the end , it was all wrapped up.

JoAnne Foggatt did a remarkable job!!

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  • Susan
  • 31-03-18

Outstanding Narration

The best thing about The Key is the narration by Joanne Froggatt. Ms. Froggatt’s performance turned an okay book into a very good one. The author does a good job describing the horrible conditions of the insane asylums of the past. It was the all too neat and tidy ending of the book that I didn’t care for. Still, all in all, I would recommend The Key.

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Profile Image for SpecialK
  • SpecialK
  • 20-03-18

not as gripping as the first two

Love this narrator and love the authors previous two books. this novel I struggled through a bit, the story was just a little too slow. I didn't connect with the characters as much

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Leisha
  • Leisha
  • 16-03-18

outstanding

wonderful story .. had me hooked before the 1st chapter ended .. just buy it