Saturday, November 3, 2012

Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Synopsis: The chilling tale of a menacing specter haunting a small English town. Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford--a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway--to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow's house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images--a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child's scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black.

My Thoughts: This was a very simple and easy read. I greatly enjoyed that the book was written in a Victorian-like manner. At first I thought that the very long sentences were going to irritate me but instead I found myself fascinated with Hill's descriptions and use of language. It almost sounded poetic.

The book was also spooky in the sense that I could imagine this happening in real life. When Arthur is alone in the house with Spider the dog, it was creepy. The whole time my heart hammered as I felt afraid for the dog (yeah, I didn't care much for what would happen to Arthur, lol). This part of the book was written very well because I could easily envision what was happening and I kept looking up in my room to see if anyone was staring at me.

Though I did enjoy the language and the spookiness, this book was pretty simple. I did not feel connected with any of the characters other than the dog. I wanted to know more about the Woman in Black. It briefly mentions toward the end why the town's people are afraid of the ghost but it does not go too much in depth as to how much the town was affected by the woman's haunting.

I do have to admit that the ending was good. You get the sense that Arthur will finally be free of the Woman in Black until the very end when you know that things are not going to be good.

My Thoughts on the Movie: I saw the movie first and quite enjoyed it. I was a little thrown off with Daniel Radcliffe playing the fatherly role of Arthur in the movie but he did an excellent job in this role. I liked the creepiness of the movie and you had a better understanding how the Woman in Black affected the town.

The whole time that I was reading the book, I expected to read the movie. You see, the movie and the book are very different. Yes, they both have Arthur, a haunted house in the middle of the marshes, a woman dressed in black, and Mr. Daily who helps Arthur. Other than that, the storyline is different.

Is the movie better? Yes and no. I see the book and the movie as two separate pieces of art.

Overall, I give this book:


  1. I listened to this audiobook during my nightly walks last winter - in the dark. It was great and spooky. And I quite enjoyed it. Then, I watched the movie with some friends and I just kept saying they totally changed it. After the movie, my friends asked me how they changed the story. I don't think they believed me when I told them that basically the entire story was changed. But I did enjoy both of them.

    1. Ooh, listening to the audio would be fantastic! I need to see if I could get my hands on a copy.

  2. Hey I am glad that you at least didn't hate it!