Monday, January 27, 2014

Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel

Today, Waves of Fiction is participating in the Blog Tour for The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel. For our stop, we have the book details, a review and a tour-wide giveaway! Enjoy!

The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel 
Published by: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication date: December 19th 2013
Purchase Link: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, New Adult
Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.

They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past. Flashing between the seventeenth century and modern day Scotland, The Secret of Isobel Key is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.
My Thoughts
Louisa Ann had recently graduated from Leslie University in Boston and was still working retail at a local bookstore as she took the time to figure out her next steps. When she finally had enough and suddenly quit her job, she found herself at a crossroads of what to do next. Luckily, she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Scotland with her friend Tammy, where she was inexplicably driven to research the witch hunt trials from the 1700’s. As she digs deeper into the case of Isobel Key, she uncovers more than she ever bargained for.

Overall, I felt that The Secret of Isobel Key was an interesting tale on a subject I’ve always been drawn to. However, I felt the heart of the story existed in those brief chapters that took us back to the 1700’s where we got to experience firsthand what the women who were persecuted as witches went through during the time of King James.

Jen McConnel weaved history and fiction so flawlessly that I would have easily been completely consumed by this book if it was entirely about Isobel Key. The back-story and evident research McConnel put into this novel was evident and powerful. Every time she shifted the story back to Isobel, I truly felt transported back in time.

I felt the weakness in the story lied with Louisa and Tammy. I had a sense that these two characters simply didn’t blend well. I was never convinced of the friendship that supposedly existed there, and it gave a constant superficial feel to the story. I feel Louisa would have made better progress and been a more interesting character if she carried the story on her own.

I did enjoy her time with Brian as they researched the witch hunts in Scotland, but their ending left me conflicted and confused.

The Secret of Isobel Key was an interesting tale that held some hidden gems within the ePages, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I had bargained for. However, I will continue to keep my eye out for Jen McConnel in the event she decides to publish a historical fiction because I feel she has a talent for transporting her readers into a different time and place by captivating them with her magic.
3 Suns

About the Author
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. She is the author of The Secret of Isobel Key (NA 2013) and Daughter of Chaos (YA 2014). Visit to learn more.

Author Links
Prize (open US only): 
Beautiful Heathergems heart necklace, graciously donated by Heathergems.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
For more stops of these tour, you can go HERE.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting and reading ISOBEL! Also, there's a sequel coming later this spring which might give you the ending you had hoped for. :)

  2. Great review, Arlene! I like the sounds of this one and I find it always makes a stronger novel when you can tell the research was well done. I'm glad you liked it even though Louisa and Tammy wasn't the best pair.

  3. Look forward to reading. Love the review. Thank you for the giveaway.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kim, and happy reading! :)

  4. I enjoy good books and I would like to read this one too. Thanks for the opportunity.

    1. Thanks for visiting the tour, Robyn, and happy reading!