I have to say I was hesitant to pick up The Woman in Black because so many people compared it to The Haunting of Hill House, which I didn’t love. But The Woman in Black is really good, so let’s talk.
Arthur Kipps is a young solicitor that will do anything to please his boss and advance his career. Even if it involves sorting through their late client’s belongings in the isolated Eel Marsh House. He quickly realizes that what he thought would be a routine procedure is anything but routine. When he settles in the town no one will discuss Mrs. Drablow. And things get even weirder when he finally visits her home.
My thoughts on The Woman in Black
I really enjoyed this. Susan Hill’s writing style is perfect for a horror novel. From the beginning there is this oppressive feeling lingering around. Our character is feeling this massive amount of anxiety even though the setting is a cheerful Christmas Eve night. His family is laughing and telling ghost stories and minute by minute this foreboding feeling deepens, until finally his family asks him to tell a ghost story. This triggers his anxiety and takes him back to this traumatic experience that happened when he was young. And our story begins when he starts to tell his story.
The Woman in Black gets right to the point. We have our first ghostly encounter pretty early on. Then we jump right into the house scene and it’s quite spooky. It picks up from there. I didn’t notice any lag time. Everything seemed to be timed really well.
Then Arthur has had enough and starts to leave. I really thought everything was going to be left open ended, but the answers do come eventually. And it’s quite unsettling even though I had sort of figured out what was causing the haunting.
Finally, the story starts to wrap up and the pieces weren’t connecting. I thought everything was concluding a little early. Arthur was settling into his new life, when out of the blue something startling happened that took this book to the next level of scary. It really took it from a four star read to a five star read.
My Rating: 4/5