Book Nineteen of 2012: THE WOMAN IN BLACK by Susan Hill

Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again, plus he also hears the terrifying sounds of adult and child passengers sinking into the quicksand on a pony and trap.
Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfill his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Rescued by Mr Daily, a friend he met on the train, Kipps discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with tragedy, with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.

This book is definitely different from other books geared towards horror. It is more like a short story like someone telling you an interesting personal experience. One thing I’ve noticed is that the book is written like a Victorian horror tale. I literally felt like I was reading a book written during the timeline. This was something that I truly liked about the book, though it made it difficult for me to read.

The book wasn’t too scary, but there were elements where I felt despair. That is difficult, because I don’t usually have emotional reactions to what I’ve read. I think only three books before this had given me that type of reaction. That said, I did like the book, but I didn’t feel like it was a huge horror. Scary? At times. Gave an emotional response? Definitely (especially if you have a child). But was it horrific? Not the traditional sense, but still had something there.

I am so used to the typical gore and constant loud noises that I found this book to be slightly lacking. However, I am sure the movie is good and I want to see it. This book is a good book. Though I was lagging behind (160 pages in one week, something I could do in a day), that was only because of the way it was written. It is a good book, not my favorite, but good.

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