Book Review: The Woman In Black – By Susan Hill

The blurb:

“Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of the house’s sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows. It is not until he glimpses an emaciated young woman, dressed all in black, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black and her terrible purpose.”

What do I think of this book?

Firstly, I studied this back in first year in my very first term and I had seen the play version of this a couple of years previously. If we compare the book to the play, I’d argue that the play is far more gothic, horrific and terrifying than the book and thus a disappointing read. Perhaps it was because I had already seen it live, probably meant that I had set high standards for what I was about to read and so was disappointed when I had read it.  Unfortunately, I cannot speak for the film as I have not seen it. It has been said that it is as divisive as Marmite, you either love it or hate it.

Secondly, I’ve found that whenever I read a gothic horror, it takes me ages to get into it and/or to read, but this took me a day or two. The time limit greatly surprised me considering the amount of gothic content in the book.

Thirdly, I can still hear that rocking chair and see the woman in black’s face when I, like the rest of the audience in that theatre glimpsed it for no more than 3 seconds. It gave me the worst nightmares for at least a while afterwards.

 

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2 Replies to “Book Review: The Woman In Black – By Susan Hill”

  1. You should definitely watch the film – although I noticed a lot of plot changes in the film adaptation to the book. I struggled to find the book as scary as the film, just because modern film-making can thrown in so many techniques that creep you out, whereas reading the story seems tamer. Maybe it’s time for me to give it a re-read!

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