The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

Lately I’ve been in the mood to read some horror.  There was a time in my life where I seemed to read nothing but horror, but it’s been a while since I’ve read anything in the horror genre.  I really wanted something that had a very horror-movie feel to it…I actually went out in search of a summer camp slasher type book.  I got a few titles, and went to the bookstore to see if any were in stock; none of them were.  So I browsed the horror shelves, and I spotted Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.

It was one of those moments where…I hadn’t been planning on reading a ghost story at all, but as soon as I saw the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about maybe reading it.  So I gave in, and picked it up.

The Woman in Black is the tale of a young man who has to do some business in an old house because the owner of the house has died, and the property has to be sorted through and dealt with.  But the house is haunted.  And the young man soon discovers this, with terrifying consequences.

What a good story!  The plot is a little slow at the beginning, with a lot of description of scenery and a bit of a rambling start to the events.  However, once it gets going, it is definitely a good ghost tale.  What I liked about this book is that it completely gave me that horror movie feel that I had been craving; some of the scenes, when I allowed myself to really slip into the story and use my imagination, were perfectly cinematic.  I could completely visualize what was happening, and it was actually a lot of fun to read.  I can completely see why they decided to make this book into a movie; it definitely has some great movie-moments.

I also really liked the ending of this tale.  Things do not wrap up neatly, but they wrap up quickly, with horror to the very last; this made up for the slow beginning, I think, and while I did guess the very ending before it happened, the lead-up to the ending was unexpected to me, which was nice.

For people that love horror, this is a great book.  It’s been a few years since I read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, but I was reminded of that book while reading this.  Now, I just have to wait for the movie to be released on video so I can watch it!  I am almost finished the 1989 version of the tale, but it’s pretty different from the book, so I am hoping the recent version might be a little better!

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