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The Woman in Black | Paperback

Released on 06 August 1998

Author: Susan Hill | Format: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 (5 customer reviews) | Write a review

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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 Mrs Alice Drablow, the house's sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows. 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.

customer Reviews

 Average rating (5 reviews)

 A good, old fashioned ghost story

| | See all TibleyBobley's reviews (56)

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A young solicitor is sent by his employer to sort out the papers of one of the firm's deceased clients. He leaves a dismal, smog-bound London for the fresher and more healthy atmosphere of the coast. He's pleased to leave the suffocating city and loves the wide-open, watery landscape around Eel Marsh House - to start with. But then disturbing events shake his confidence, the tide turns, the weather changes. The isolated house on the marsh is battered by storm and smothered by fog and the young man is under siege, not just by the elements but by an insane, desperate, unhappy woman - the woman in black.

If you enjoy traditional ghost stories, with no trace of blood or gore, but loaded with atmosphere and suspense, this book is for you. Even though it was only published in 1983, it has the feel of a proper, old fashioned English ghost story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's also available as an audiobook, very well read by Paul Ansdell.

 Solid English Ghost Story....but a tad predicable.

| | See all Kevin1075's reviews (754)

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I picked this up after reading and having been genuinely chilled by Hill's recent 'The Man in the Picture', and was looking forward to a classic chiller involving a remote house, a young man sent to settle the affairs of the recently deceased Mrs Drablow, a windswept and misty marsh, family and town secrets, and a mysterious Woman in Black.

I was a little disappointed though. Written in what seems like a deliberately Victorian manner, there is a sense of wandering lines (even given the relative brevity of the book) syndrome. There is a long build up to a very quick climax in the final chapter as the intentions of the Woman become horrifically clear.

And that's the other problem - despite conjuring some creepy and slightly unnerving imagery, the actual truth of the Woman and her purpose isn't quite a mystery. Fans of the genre should be able to guess the outcome by about halfway through, which robs the book of it's power.

It's pretty good, just not quite as good as I had hoped.

 Superb Ghost Story

| | See all Lilyloulou's reviews (191)

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Susan Hill is a fantastic writer and this is an absolute classic of a British ghost story set in a brilliantly unsettling landscape. A must read and now being made into a film apparently, but to be honest I doubt the film will do the book true justice. One to read and enjoy.


| | See all thebbfcfanclub's reviews (33)

Make no mistake this is a great tale. A wonderful ghost story with a great sense of atmosphere and dread. Beautifully written, if fairly short, yarn that evokes a sense of the masterful nineteenth century ghost stories. Fashions in supernatural writing will come and go. This book will outlast them all, it's just a fine spooky story of mists, strange folk, eerie houses and fear.


| | See all divagirl's reviews (55)

I have just read this book in more or less one sitting. I enjoyed it but felt that the author has tried to write in a Victorian style and I am not too sure if this works as well as it was intended. I am looking forward to seeing how this tale lends itself to the big screen hopefully it will be full of atmosphere and tension as Hill has managed to create lots of tension. I felt a little disappointed with the denouement feeling that it was a bit rushed I felt that more could have been made of the Woman in Black. A good read though

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AuthorSusan Hill
PublisherVintage (United Kingdom)
FormatPaperback - 160 Pages