Time to introduce my second author into the rather grandly titled, even though it’s not, Savidge Reads Hall of Fame. Susan Hill is an author I have only been reading a little bit longer than I have been blogging, her first Simon Serrailler crime novel was actually my first post and set of book thoughts ever posted on the blog though it wasn’t the first that I had read of hers. Over the last seven or eight years I have been bowled over by how prolific and diverse a writer Susan Hill is, though I think I might be a little bit scared of her if I had the pleasure of meeting her in real life, and so she has become one of my favourite authors – and I still have lots of her books yet to read.
The first book I read by her was… ‘The Woman in Black’ all those years ago in 2003 believe it or not.
The reason that I initially read her was… I had been to see ‘The Woman in Black’ for the first time at the theatre for a journalist press trip for a spooky Halloween feature and was completely spellbound (and absolutely petrified) and so I wanted to read the book behind the play and I loved it as much if not more. The rest, as they say, is history.
The reason that she has become one of my favourite authors, and I would recommend them, is… I think it would be the diverse nature of Susan Hill’s work, and I am aware with books like ‘I’m the King of the Castle’ ahead of me there is more to come. You have the wonderful Simon Serrailler series (another SS, always a fan of those ha) which fall under the crime genre, so thrill and have pace, and yet also give a real insight into the human condition. You also have her wonderfully atmospheric ghost stories and of course a huge diverse range of literary novels and short story collections, what more could you ask for in a favourite author. I also like the fact they all have a sense of darkness to them, or the ones I have read so far have had anyway. Am I allowed to say that whilst sometimes I may not agree with what she says I do love the fact that she is outspoken, I bet she is fascinating to have a chat with.
My favourite of her novels so far has been… Probably ‘The Woman in Black’ so far but I really like the Simon Serrailler series, even if I did have a bumpy start with them. I must also mention her non-fiction ‘Howard’s End is on the Landing’ which is a wonderful, wonderful book about books, the power they have and the joy they are, writing and being a bit of a book hoarder if we are honest (no offense Susan, the best of us are I believe). You can also see when I reviewed it Susan left a lovely comment, we haven’t met up for tea and cakes yet though, ha!
If there was one of her works I had a wobble with, it would have to be… I gave up on the first Serrailler novel ‘The Various Haunts of Men’ the first time I tried it as I felt I was getting anything but a murder (nearly 100 pages in and no murder had been done) and that was what I wanted reading wise at the time. The second time though I came back to it with the knowledge that you get more than just murder and crime with the series. That said I almost fell out with them again at the end of ‘The Pure in Heart’ because of the ending which almost made me throw the book across the room (and I think that is why I didn’t write about it on here)… however in hindsight, and after calming down, I thought it was very clever. I can’t say why though for spoilers.
The most recent one of her novels that I read was… ‘Dolly’, her latest ghost story which I reviewed yesterday, and I think it is probably my second favourite of her ghost stories. It has that slight Victorian/Edwardian feeling about it and the ghostly tales of old. Wonderful autumnal night reading.
The next of Susan Hill’s works I am planning on reading is… Really it should be ‘I’m the King of the Castle’ because I don’t think you are meant to call yourself a Susan Hill fan if you haven’t read it, though I have to say that I might give her third novel ‘Gentlemen and Ladies’ a try soon. It is the oldest of her novels I have, though if anyone would like to buy me a copy of her debut novel ‘The Enclosure’ for the bargain price of around £100 that would go to the top of my TBR without hesitation. Actually all that said I am very behind with the Simon Serrailler series so maybe ‘The Shadows in the Street’ next?
What I would love her to do next is… If I could get Susan Hill to write anything next it would have to be a massive doorstop of a Victorian sensation novel with all the mystery, murder, ghostly revenge and asylums you could wish for. That, I think, would be amazing.
You can see a full list of Susan Hill’s works on the Savidge Reads Hall of Fame page, a special page on the blog especially for my favourite authors and links to the books of theirs I have read and reviewed and the ones I haven’t as yet. This will encourage me to read all the books by my favourite authors and may lead you to some new authors if you like most of the ones that I like, if that makes sense. There are some rules though, but you can find more of those on the Hall of Fame page.
So who else is a Susan Hill fan? Which of her novels have you read and loved? Are you a Serrailler, literary or spooky Susan Hill fan, or like me a fan of all three?