The Woman In Black – Susan Hill

In taking on my own challenge to read as much sensation fiction as possible over the next few months as part of my ‘Sensation Season’ I didn’t just want to stick with the originals for out there in the never ending world of books I knew, having already read a few or bought some that are as yet to be read, that there are many modern day books that have a sensational twist and Susan Hill is one (of my favourite) authors who I would categorize as ‘modern sensation’ with her ghost stories. So I thought it was the perfect time to re-read the book…

‘The Woman in Black’ is one of my favourite books and I think would definitely classify as my very favourite ghost story. Starting on a Christmas Eve (best time for ghostly tales, that or a professor or doctors office) the children in Arthur Kipps house are all telling ghostly tales. It is however Arthur whom first hand has witnessed the events and the effects of a most terrible ghastly tale himself. As he can’t bear to tell anyone the tale for fear of the consequences he writes it down, for you dear reader to see.

Arthur Kipps is a solicitor and one day in London he receives instructions that he must sort the estate of recently departed Alice Drablow in Crythin Gifford. He takes the many hours journey to the town where at first people are friendly, however as soon as they learn of his business and hear the name ‘Alice Drablow’ people eye him suspiciously or avoid him. It isn’t until he crosses to the isolated and marsh/bog bound Eel Marsh House that he begins to learn things are much darker than he could ever imagine and also starts to witness the work of The Woman in Black.

I can’t really say more than that on the plot because I wouldn’t want to give anything away but for a relatively short book it packs a lot of chills and quite a punch or two with the twists towards the end. The whole book is covered in suspense and how Susan Hill creates such an atmosphere needs to be read to be believed. The writing is sparse and yet incredibly descriptive and shows, as all her books do, why Susan Hill is a master at her game. My only criticism would be that I could have read more, but then really would that just be over egging the scary pudding?

If you haven’t read this then do give it a go. Perfect for a night in, by the fire (if you have one – if not just curled up on the couch) where you can get lost and spooked whilst deeply ensconced in a great book. This, for me at least, holds all the glorious details of a modern sensation novel, more on those in detail tomorrow though.

Now for those of you who have read this far and fancy reading the book for yourself I have a copy that I am going to give away. I would have loved to have given away tickets for the show which is excellent but some of you live far afield and so wouldn’t be fair!! All you have to do, by Friday, is leave me a tale of something spooky that has truly happened to you (I don’t know how I will know if its true or not, but I just will) then The Converted One will pick a random name out of a hat on Saturday! Good luck!

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33 Comments

Filed under Give Away, Review, Susan Hill, Vintage Books

33 responses to “The Woman In Black – Susan Hill

  1. I love this book and I nearly wet myself in terror when I watched the play! It has to be read/seen to be believed, a true horror story I think!

    I look forward to reading everyone’s scary stories! I don’t have any, and I already have a copy of the book so I don’t need to make one up to enter your draw!

  2. I loved this book too, but I almost hate to say it I worked out the ending, which made it a bit of an anticlimax ultimately.

  3. I loved this book, it scared me witless, and I can’t wait to see the show. I read a library copy so would love a copy of my own.

    Hm, I can’t think of anything scary but fairly spooky was a trip to a fortune teller years ago who told me I would be in a relationship with someone with a “g” and and “a” in his name; I thought it was a pretty standard thing to say and common letters but a few months later I started to see my boyfriend whose first name begins with a “g” and an “a”.

    • Ooooh that is quite spooky, once my other blog is up I have a very weird tale to tell regarding all things spooky, but thats for then…

      The show is brilliant do make sure you go and see it, I have seen it about three times and it still gets me.

  4. I haven’t read this one yet, but would love to. I almost went to see the show last week, but decided that it would be better to read the book first.

    The most spooky thing to happen to me was seeing a ghost in an Edinburgh Hotel. I don’t really believe in ghosts and am still unsure as to whether it was a dream, but it did spook me out!

  5. I just read my first Susan Hill yesterday (the short The Man in the Picture) … I would love a copy of The Woman in Black!

    When I was a kid, I was in an attic room with a friend and we both looked across the room and swore that we saw her brother’s ghost standing there. The strange thing is that we didn’t think it was spooky or creepy at the time. Kids are much more open to the strange, aren’t they?

    • The Man in the Picture is another very good Susan Hill ghostly take. I also have The Mist in the Mirror which is supposed to be just as spooky.

      Attics are very spooky places, I have a fear of them!

  6. Susan Hill is one author, I’d like to read. I have a friend who raves about her.

    The spookiest thing that happened to me was one year on All Souls Day, my mother & father’s wedding picture had fallen off the wall in another room for no reason (the nail was still up, no one was in the room). Both parents had been dead for about 15 years at the time, and to me it was unexplainable…other then by my parents trying to contact me or get me to think about them on the Catholic day for remembering the dead.

  7. This sounds great, though I must admit that prior to your post, I’d never heard of it! Is it at all a play on The Woman In White? I’m glad to hear that so many other people found it genuinely spooky. I’m going to keep an eye out for it (perhaps even two!)!

  8. Hello, savidgereads! This book is one very satisfying read. It’s very atmospheric. I can’t imagine any other book I would be reading during a “dark and stormy night.”

  9. novelinsights

    I haven’t read it (although I have the copy you bequeathed me on my tbr stack) but the bf took me to see the play and I nearly screamed the place down to his total embarrassment.

    Most spooky thing? Went on a midnight walk with my friends in the countryside when we were about 12 and heard some heavy breathing behind us. When we looked around there was no one there! (hopefully it wasn’t just a perve!). We hurried home pretty quickly after that.

  10. Jo

    I don’t read a lot of ghost stories so perhap I should start, because you make this one sound brilliant.

    And I’ve never seen ghosts or anything, but the spookiest thing in my life is a coincidence of birthdates over 3 generations. My dad and his cousin were born on the same day 3 years apart, both their eldest children (me) were born on the same date 3 years apart, and then my son and his son were born on the same date, 3 years apart! Not spooky really, but a bit strange.

  11. justicejenniferreads

    Great contest idea. I’m a little bummed that I missed out, but I’ll live. I’m still definitely adding this title to my Wanted List. It sounds like a great read – especially at this time of year. Maybe I’ll get a chance to pick it up before Halloween – then I can sit on my couch with it while I give out treats to trick or treaters.

  12. Oooooh I didnt reply to everyone I am so sorry and I will!

    I just wanted to say well done to Claire Paperbackreader as I forgot to announce you won. The Converted Randomly pulled your name out of the hat!

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  14. I didnt actually found that book scary you should trying watchin the exorcists its scary and gross

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  18. The more I read your blog the more I discover we have quite a few books in common. 🙂
    I finished The Woman In Black a few days ago and just wrote a review for it on my site (then came and read yours after – I didn’t want to be influenced in any way so I made myself wait a little) and I have to admit it was a very good ghost story, and just like you, I wanted more. I think one of the things which make a book really good is when you get to the end and you just wish there was more to the story.

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