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Publisher's Summary

A hidden note. A lost love. A second chance.... 

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 for ever.

1956 

It's Ellen Crosby's first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever....

2006

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right.

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

Critic Reviews

"A wonderful, enthralling story; one that I didn't want to end." (Lesley Pearse on The Key)

"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 listeners say about The Key

Average Customer Ratings
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If you like Lifetime movies

If you like Lifetime Movies, you will like this book. Please don't think I'm knocking Lifetime movies. I watched them frequently when I was in my 20's.
For me this book just did not have enough depth and the characters were somewhat one dimensional. I found it predictable and a little "preachy". However, I also have to admit to reading Kate Morton's latest just before this one and was probably looking for something as in-depth and intense.

I cannot recommend this book to fans of Elizabeth George, Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Tana French, or Ruth Rendell.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Audio

What a story I had a very hard time putting it down to go to bed! Such a good story. Narrator did such a good job making you interested , in all the characters. You won't be disappointed with the audio book.

3 people found this helpful

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Great all ‘round!

Excellent story. I list to all audible books narrated by Joanne Froggatt! Thanks to all who worked on this project!

2 people found this helpful

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Very emotional!!!!!

It had me hooked from the start
It's showed just how cruel the world can be. But we all can have a happy ending if we allow it!! WE all have choices in this Life, make the right ones.

1 person found this helpful

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Confusing

The story was good, once you're able to follow it. There is a lot of jumping back and forth between now and then. I was confused for most of the book until the characters finally clicked. I thought the ending could have been better. All in all I thought it was a "just ok" book. Not sure I would recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book!

This book left me wanting more! I didn't want it to end. I LOVED the narrator, Joanne Froggstt!

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent Narration

Joanne Froggatt made Kathryn Hughes book come alive. What a good job she did. I look forward to more books narrated by her.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent.

I was completely enraptured by this book. I typically enjoy the multiple character perspective books, but this was great because the author stuck with one longer than just a chapter. When reading I don't find the rapid switch as difficult, but for audio I do- the author wrote this perfectly for an audio book. The story was amazing overall and I definitely recommend. Separately, I usually don't like Bristish narrators, but for some reason I really enjoyed this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome

If I could have I would’ve listened to the book all in one sitting. GREAT book!!

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Great Book!!!!!!!

This book is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Very well written and read. Wish I could give it more than 5 stars!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-18

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.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Doone
  • 04-17-18

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.

14 people found this helpful

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  • AllieTrix
  • 03-04-18

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. ❤️

18 people found this helpful

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  • S. Christie
  • 04-13-18

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!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Ron Barkess
  • 04-02-18

Brilliant

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

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-18

excellent

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

5 people found this helpful

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  • David M
  • 01-27-19

Bit of a weepie...

..not that I like weepies much. I'm not really sure why I bought it.

This is about Sarah who is researching a book that she wants to write on the topic of a 1956 Manchester Lunatic Asylum.

We cutback to 1956 and learn what what actually happening to real people who were interned there in 1956, and the disgraceful way in which they were treated.

Eventually we find what became of those people from 1956.

Joanne Froggatt does a great job of the voices - even managing to "age" the voices as their characters got older between 1956 and 2006.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jj
  • 04-06-18

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dog Walker Sussex
  • 04-04-18

Accurate account of the time

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • vicky ross
  • 03-26-18

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-27-18

Only ok

To be honest the only reason I downloaded this book is because Joanne Froggatt is an absolute legend! If it wasn't for her, yet again, unbelievable performance I would've found this book harder to get through. I did like it I just felt it dragged on a bit and was somewhat predictable.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tracy
  • 03-22-18

Loved this, narration and story are beautiful.

Loved this, Joanne Froggatt’s narration was fantastic and story are beautiful and captivating.

I chose the novel because I had just listened to The Silent Child narrated by Joanne. I’m so glad I did.

Would have loved to have known if Ellen and Ed ever met Amy and Joe.

Thanks for a great read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eva George
  • 07-25-18

Loved it

Well written and well read. Unusual and kept me interested the whole time! Definitely recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-27-18

not bad

ok story lulled a bit in parts but overall good. the narrator helped lift the story

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kym Angrave
  • 03-13-18

Lovely story

Beautifully written original story narrated by one of UKs best talents, loved it
Absolutely recommend it and also The Letter by the same author

1 person found this helpful

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  • TS
  • 06-25-20

Depressing story with a mellow ending

The performance was good, adapting voices to situations or persons.
The story telling style is nice, but the story itself is too depressing for my taste. Even though you get sort of a happy ending, it’s gets then a bit too mellow ...

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  • Spencer
  • 04-26-20

Beautiful fantasy!

I liked the fact that the story distinguishes between a person who is insane vs one who is not insane but has lived a traumatised upbringing, such as the character Amy in this book. I found the book not an easy read but still hard to put down.

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  • Sheree
  • 11-26-19

Wonderful

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What a great story. I particularly enjoyed it because of the way Joanne Froggatt narrated it, she is very skilled at bringing every character to life. I look forward to more books narrated by her.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-19-19

Audible's best narrator

A great listen made exceptional by narrator Joanne Froggatt ( Anna from Downton Abby) who seems to bring the story to life like no other. All audio books should have Joanne as their narrator!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-19-19

Amazing

I was entranced throughout the whole book and was surprised many times! The narrator is the best possible narrator so she makes this book even better! Read it!