16 September 2014

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Title: The Woman in Black
Author: Susan Hill
Pages: 200
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Gothic
Book Description: 
Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child's scream in the fog, and most dreadfully--and for Kipps most tragically--The Woman In Black.

The Woman In Black is both a brilliant exercise in atmosphere and controlled horror and a delicious spine-tingler--proof positive that this neglected genre, the ghost story, isn't dead after all

My Opinion: 
For part of my English course in college, I had to read The Woman in Black. It was one of those books I wasn't that interested in reading, but because I had seen the film, I was curious to see what the book would be like in comparison.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the mysterious aspect running through and all the questions that continuously popped into my head like 'was he imagining it?' 'what's going to happen next?'
 etc. This links to the characters and how they were really well written. Especially in the beginning, a lot of questions aroused in my head when people starting acting weirdly around the main protagonist. This intriguing aspect kept me wanting to read on!

The writing style throughout the novel was fabulous. There were tones of descriptive paragraphs that didn't go into too much detail about the setting, but made it seem very realistic and visual. This is not only great for my college coursework, but it adds a really nice realistic aspect - I felt like I was right there in the scene! The descriptions were really creepy and quite sinister at times (especially the description of the woman herself!) which added the Gothic feature. I found the book got more tense about 3/4s of the through which was great as I had been waiting for it to get more scary! I also loved the ending! Although it was very sad I did enjoy it :)

I didn't find the book as scary as all the critics were saying. This could just be because I'm not that scared easily, or maybe it's because the film has influence my viewpoint. When I was reading it, I found myself imagining scenes from the film and watching the characters from the movie in my head (the main reason why I prefer reading the books first) which probably made the book seem far less scarier than it may have been if I wasn't imagining the film. I guess seeing the film physically, gives a different affect to just reading...

I think seeing the film before reading the novel has had a large impact on the book. For example, I know what's going to happen so (especially with a horror story) I already know why everyone doesn't want him to go to Eel Marsh House and I know exactly what happens at the end. I feel like this sort of ruined it for me but overall it was a very good read, however I was expecting it to be more scary after seeing the film... Maybe if I'd read the book first I wouldn't feel this way... hmmm

I would definitely recommend this book to people who are just beginning to get into Gothic/horror novels. It's a relatively short book and the font was quite large in my copy so I read it in a matter of days! It isn't a really scary novel (but that's just my opinion, could be different for everyone) so that's why it would be good for people who either want to try reading something new/out of their comfort zone or for anyone who likes this genre!

Favourite Quotes:

Innocence, once lost, is lost forever


I looked up ahead and saw, as if rising out of the water itself, a tall, gaunt house of grey stone


Even from as far away as this I could hear the mysterious silence, and once again the haunting, strange beauty, of it all aroused a response deep within me


Sea birds soared and swooped, silver-grey and white, and ahead, at the end of the long straight path, Eel Marsh House beckoned me


'You've gone through some rough seas.'
'Well, I'm in the calm after the storm now.'


They asked for my story. I have told it. Enough.

 Rating ★ 

3 out of 5 stars

If you do read this book, I'd love to hear what you thought! Let me know in the comments or send me a message on one of my social networks; I'm up for a chat about books any time!

So as most of you probably know (and if you don't know about this why?!) there's a movie adaption of the book! It includes Daniel Radcliffe and I watched this before reading the book. It's a very good horror film. I personally didn't find it that scary, but then again I don't get scared that easily... It was very jumpy though! I really enjoyed the movie, but I don't recommend watching it alone...
Anyway here's the trailer:

Next book I'm going to review

Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift


  1. I watched the movie, but don't really remember that much from it..lol. So I might enjoy this book, it sounds great. I often read books after watching movies..maybe it will help me remember the movie. :)

    1. I definitely recommend it, hopefully it'll help you remember the film! I try my best to read the books first because I always find that the books are usually better :)

  2. Ooh, "They asked for my story. I have told it. Enough." Wow, that is quite a quote. I've had THE WOMAN IN BLACK on my TBR for YEARS. I really need to get around to reading it, I swear. I won't allow myself to see the movie until I read it, dagnabit! Haha. Excellent review. I find 3-3.5 star reviews the hardest to write, but I think you stated your opinion very eloquently!

    Jules @ The Book of Jules

    1. I loved that quote too - it was actually the last words of the novel which I thought was a perfect ending!
      I certainly recommend it as it's quite a short book and you'll get it off your TBR list quickly... I always do that too; I prefer to read the books first then see the film! The movie was so good though, you have to watch that :D
      Thank you so much for your support, it means a lot!


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