Woman in black

 I love creepy stories and Susan Hill’s “The Woman in Black” is one of my favs. Both writing this review and with the release press surrounding

the recent film based on the novel first published in 1983, has brought back to me that creepy, unsettling presence of the woman in black which freaked me out many years ago when I first read the book and which still creeps me out today. Whether you believe in ghosts or not it is truly creepy stuff.

So, Susan Hill’s “The Woman In Black” takes us to Eel Marsh House, a  solitary home found in the middle of a marsh and was most recently the
home of a Mrs. Alice Drablow. At the event of her death, young  solicitor Arthur Kipps is tasked with going through her papers to find anything of value and send it back to London. But what should have been a simple task turns into a huge undertaking  as Eel Marsh House — and the community around it — seems to harbor a  secret that they are loath to share with Arthur Kipps.

Arthur begins to experience stranger and stranger phenomenon but can never truly account for any of it. He spends his days convincing himself that he is quite alright and steels himself to returning to the  spooky house and finishing his work, but by night the strange goings-on serve to unnerve, distract, and ultimately frighten him to his very core. This is a gothic story in every sense of the word. It’s a carefully constructed narrative that gently reveals aspects of the underlying back story, whilst all the time affecting Arthur in deeper and more nerve-wracking ways.

The success of The Woman in Black hinges entirely on description –  however there are no crude descriptions of cobwebbed halls or victims bathed in blood, wailing pathetically as they roam the halls of a  haunted manor – rather, Hill’s work relies on the creation of  atmosphere, of setting and the unsettling feeling of terror that  awakens, slowly, gradually, and subtly. I love it!

So go on be brave borrow a copy today - I would definitely recommend  reading this one in the dead of the night in absolute silence for full
effect – or if you want to go overboard read it by candle light. – Oh and a final warning, if you choose to read it in the evening (and  I recommend you do) you may end up having a little trouble sleeping that night!