The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

In recent months, I’ve re-discovered how much I absolutely LOVE ghost stories, specifically those written in the spirit of the classics. That love might render this “review” somewhat biased.

I could not put down The Woman in Black, literally; I ate lunch whilst devouring page after page. And while it was short and easily read in one sitting – two or three for the more patient reader – it packed quite a psychological punch. The ending hit especially hard. Hill’s prose, setting, characters: superb. And the descriptions were spot on, not too much but more than enough to evoke vivid images.

Whereas the bed had been made up neatly, now the clothes were pulled off anyhow and bundled up or trailing onto the floor. The wardrobe door and the drawers of the small chest were pulled open and all the clothes they contained half-dragged out, and left hanging like entrails from a wounded body (p. 118).

The pace was just right, teasing readers with hints, revealing bit by bit the truth behind the whispers, building steadily to a tense climax, but even then not letting go until the very last page.

Highly recommended to anyone – all ages – who enjoys classic ghost stories.

P.S. It’s hard to believe the soon-to-be released movie, starring Daniel Radcliffe, will be able to capture the true essence of this story, namely the setting and atmosphere. But my hopes remain high.

[Test post of Goodreads’ auto-publish feature. Edited on 2/26/12 to replace image and repetitive links.]

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