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!