Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

P.S. Love to hear posts about what readers think of the movie!
Vintage Books Cover

The Woman in Black
by Susan Hill
(Not marketed specifically for young adults)
4 Scribbles
Do you believe in ghosts?
Attorney, Arthur Kipps does not. But when his boss sends him to a remote corner of England to handle the will of the elderly spinster, Mrs. Drablow, he begins to wonder if ghosts really do exist. The novel is told in Arthur’s voice when he is much older, and he tells it via flashbacks. This adds to the sense of foreboding and foreshadowing of some evil to come. The atmosphere of the novel, set in eerie, misty marshlands filled with treacherous bogs, life-sucking quicksand, and deceptive sounds, makes the reader feel as if they are there with Arthur as he both admires the beauty of the marshes and feels suffocated by the sudden changes the marsh constantly undergoes. He is drawn to the land, and feels attracted to Eel Marsh House, where Mrs. Drablow lived before her death; yet, at the same time he cannot explain the strange things he hears, sees, and eventually feels while staying at the house. The dialogue, which sounds much older than the early nineteen hundreds, adds a very Gothic feel to this dark mystery, which once resolved, gives Kipps no peace. The conclusion of the novel will leave the reader shocked and shaken—and sure that not believing in something doesn’t mean one is protected from it. More accessible than Poe, but just as creepy, Hill will have readers looking over their shoulder for months—all in fear of the Woman in Black.

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