Cover detail of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Happy Halloween everyone!

Today's review is in the spirit of the spooky season, and I am reviewing a horror book. This is probably my least reviewed genre on the blog as, in full honesty, I am a complete wuss. But each year, I try to read and review a horror book for Halloween. I'm a brave little soldier like that! If you want to read about Halloween books reviewed over the years on the blog then please check-out my round up of frightening reads in the link below....

Read all about Halloween Books

Today's review is a horror classic from 1998 written by the excellent Susan Hill. But would it be scarier than Ungodly by Braedon Riddick which I read a few years back. Let's find out shall we?

The Plot

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House.

The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, 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.

My Thoughts

Hell's Bells, just reading the review of this book caused the hairs on my neck to stand up. This is a slim, readable novel that I read over 2 (terrifying, nervously pacing) nights. The story concerns a likeable junior solicitor, Arthur Kipps, who is asked by his boss to visit the house of the recently departed Alice Drablow to represent the firm at her funeral and tidy up her papers.

The first clue that all is not well is the strange looks the local people gives Arthur when he mentions the house, advising him not to go there, and certainly to never remain at the house overnight. The only person willing to visit the house, which lies on an ever-disappearing marsh path, will not stay at the house and is a recluse.

Stranger things begin to happen when Arthur sees a woman in black, who looks slightly peaky to say the least, standing by a grave at the funeral. But no-one else can see her.

At this point you want to shake Arthur and tell him to leave immediately and not to stay. He fails to heed any of the villagers warnings and spends time at the house where events turn seriously sinister.

The writing is claustrophobic and atmospheric. Every fibre of my being was screaming at Arthur to run away and my nerves spent the whole time a-jangling. One can almost feel the damp, cloying marsh mists. The frights came often, and much like Ungodly, I found myself having to read standing up and pacing.

To be honest, after 2 terrifying nights I was quite pleased it was all over. How do people read horror????

This book is an excellent, well-written read though. I can see why it has become a play and a film starring Daniel Radcliffe.

I'm off for a lay down now, and to read something very cosy.

Have a great Halloween everyone!