Regular price: $20.65

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Turn The Key and unlock the past...

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 50 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

"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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    146
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    167
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    129
  • 4 Stars
    50
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • San Dimas, CA, United States
  • 03-31-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

This is truly a book you'll not want to miss. Most notably, Joanne Froggatt could not be a more perfect narrator, and she brings the story to life in a manner few would be capable of doing with such sincerity and commitment. Its characters are full of all the complexities only real life can bring to a person. The story is filled with all the questions each of us ask as human beings as we pass through the decades of our lives and watch our family and loved ones move through their's, most notably, "Why"? If you enjoy historical fiction, you'll certainly appreciate Kathyrn Hughes' ability to seamlessly move between two periods of time, connecting them in ways that unfold quite surprisingly. You will treasure this story. You will not forget the people whose lives are revealed in these pages because as you walk about, you'll see them pass you on the street or as you stroll through the park. You will not forget them, their poignant stories or this book. MMEB 9.7.18

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just Okay

Narrator was great. She is an amazing voice actor! The story was just okay. Interesting , but nothing special.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another great one!

Hughes doesn't disappoint! Such a great story and charming characters! I enjoyed this book a lot!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

So hard to stop listening to it!! Amazingly written and beautifully narrated. You think you're in the story sitting in the rooms watching it in person.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful!

Nothing predictable about this story. The characters are relatable - no cheesy romance but well developed relationships and multi-level mystery. So well done. Narration is impeccable!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it!

the prologue was so dark, I almost stopped listening. So glad I didn't. The ending is surprising and so satisfying. Loved it! Narration was a pleasure to listen to, by a very familiar voice from Downton Abbey.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Real Life

A wonderful story of the redemptive reality of a mother’s journey without the faux finish of a fairytale.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Read!!

Loved it...loved it...loved it!!
The characters are so real it feels as though you can reach out and touch them, and Joanne Froggatt is the perfect narrator!
Well worth the credit!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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. ❤️

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. Ronald Barkess
  • 04-02-18

Brilliant

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-18

excellent

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

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jill middlemas
  • 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 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-04-18

Accurate account of the time

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lalala
  • 03-19-18

Amazing story

Loved this story so much. You know you enjoyed a book when you're sad when it finishes!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-27-18

not bad

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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