Book Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

What’s it about?

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose.

My thoughts

I read this book quite a few months ago, around the time the Daniel Radcliffe movie was released, but as I wasn’t blogging then, here we are now. This was the first ghost story that I’d ever read and it doesn’t disappoint. This book was actually my choice for our monthly book club and I think it gave some members nightmares!

I didn’t know the story, didn’t know the author and hadn’t seen any movie trailers so had no preconceptions of what the book was about (other than a haunting)  or what happens. It’s quite a short book, only 160 pages which you can get through in no time at all as you won’t be able to put it down.

I felt that the story was well set up with Arthur writing the experience first hand as a memoir, scenes are easily visualised without being over descriptive and boring.

I think that it is well written and I did feel that the characters were totally believable and it’s very easy to sympathise with Arthur. Personally, I didn’t find it that scary but more creepy. Yes, the idea is incredibly scary and this does transport well onto screen but I think it’s harder to create that atmosphere in a book. The movie is very dark and of course the music helps to scare you out of your wits.

I think Daniel Radcliffe was miscast as Arthur, I don’t think he’s old enough and I don’t understand why the movie producers decided to the change the ending. The ending in the book is so much better and really adds to the idea of Jennet taking revenge on Arthur after a period of time when she may have been forgotten (if possible!). I do wonder how Alice managed to live in that house as long as she did…

Talk of the Town

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