'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 for ever...

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.'

This book surprised me.

I was really intrigued by the idea of this book, and I couldn't wait to read it. It started off well but then it slowed down and got a little boring. I was having trouble sticking with it. It just wasnt holding my attention. I like to finish a book, so I did stick with it.

I really loved the character of Sarah and I loved reading about her journey. I would have loved to have seen more of her in 2006 but unfortunately once we jumped to Ellen in 1956 we spent a long time there instead. I think I was expecting the story to switch back and forth between 1956 and 2006 but that didn't really happen.

I found the book really dragged once we entered 1956. I was feeling pretty underwhelmed by the story until we reached the half way mark. At the half way mark the story really picked up speed and I didn't want to put it down.

The second half of this book was absolutly captivating. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. I was having trouble believing it was the same book. I was genuinely surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this book given my feelings about it at the beginning.

I am honestly grateful that I stuck with this book and didn't give up on it.

The Key by Kathryn Hughes genuinely surprised me and ended up taking my breath away. I think everyone should give this book a chance. It will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. That is, if you let it.