Review: The Woman In Black, by Susan Hill

Woman In Black Book CoverSynopsis:  Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again; he also hears the terrifying sounds on the marsh.

Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Kipps later discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.

Title: The Woman In Black
Author: Susan Hill
Publisher: Vintage
Pub Date: 1983
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9780099288473

Rating: 5stars

“For I see that then I was still all in a state of innocence, but that innocence, once lost, is lost forever.”

Thank GOODNESS for this book.

I’ve been suffering from a book slump all month, struggling to connect to books even though I enjoyed reading them. Every book I’ve gotten through this has been a struggle in the last half. I’ll love a book whilst I read it, but I can’t pay it enough attention to finish.

I also tend to have this problem:

With so much going on at work and in my social life (there’s SO MANY BIRTHDAYS in May/June), my main priority in my spare time has been sleep. The second I start reading, my eyes start to droop. Once that happens, it’s all over for the book.

But this baby, what a read! I whipped through this in a few days. OK. So I know that’s slow for me, but in light of the above, that’s pretty damn good!

Hill’s writing is atmospheric and hauntingly good. You can’t help but be utterly taken into the environment of the story. The moors a beautiful but deadly setting; the villagers distant and superstitious – there’s everything you need for a bloody brilliant ghost story.

“She had a ghostly pallor and a dreadful expression, she wore clothes that were out of keeping with the styles of the present-day; she had kept her distance from me and she had not spoken. Something emanating from her still, silent presence, in each case by a grave, had communicated itself to me so strongly that I had felt indescribable repulsion and fear. And she had appeared and then vanished in a way that surely no real, living, fleshly human being could possibly manage to do.”

This didn’t horrify or disgust me, it’s not meant to. Instead, Hill builds an intense feeling of anxiety, of a wrongness that can’t be made better by a bright new day. You’re tense the whole way through; whipping past pages in the hope that it’ll ease off in the end.

It doesn’t.

And it’s freaking awesome.

If you like Florence & Giles or Turn of the Screw, you’ll love this.

On a side note, if you can recommend any more books like this, please comment and I will appreciate you forever.

Or at least for a week :).


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