TITLE: The Woman In Black & Other Ghost Stories
AUTHOR: Susan Hill
PUBLISHER: Profile Books
GENRE: Horror, Paranormal, Short Stories, Mystery
RATING: 5/5 Stars
From the horrifying secret of Eel Marsh House in The Woman in Black to the supernatural terror unleashed by spiteful Leonora van Vorst in Dolly and the deadly danger posed by Professor Parmitter's painting of Venice in The Man in the Picture, Susan Hill's ghost stories never fail to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and keep you turning the pages long past midnight.
Here, collected together for the first time - and also including the bestselling Printers Devil Court and The Small Hand - are all of Susan Hill's spine-chilling stories of murder, magic and mayhem.
Read on if you dare.
What I Liked:
- Obviously the stories themselves! Susan Hill definitely has a method when it comes to structuring her ghost stories and how she brings them from beginning to end. But there were plenty of unexpected twists and turns, and I felt that the concept for each story was very original and clever. I've heard about creepy dolls and haunted paintings before, but never quite like this. I was especially surprised by the subject of 'Printer Devil's Court' for example, it takes a subject seen a lot and puts a whole new spin on it.
- Hill really has a grasp on the use of visual description and atmosphere without boring the reader. It builds the tension and the chills running down your spine, and makes this book the kind that you'd read wrapped up in you softest dressing gown on a cold, blustery night with a cup of cocoa. It didn't matter the setting: the streets of London, Venice, Cambridge University or the fens of England. All came with their own kind of energy that could seem beautiful in one instance and sinister in the next.
What I Disliked:
- I had no issues with these stories at all, which is surprising considering that in every short story collection, there's normally at least one that I won't enjoy. That being said, despite 'The Small Hand' being one of my favourites, Hill's writing style felt a little too dated for a contemporary story. Casual mentions of modern commodities such as airports, or colloquialisms such as 'bro' really didn't fit when all I could picture was a man of the Victorian era.
Not many authors have cracked the 'horror story' formula, but Hill definitely has. I don't scare easily from words printed on a page, but I felt shivers run down my spine and my eyes were wide while reading these stories. I think it's because Hill is very creative in her hauntings. She's not afraid to hurt or affect children either, shown in both 'Dolly' and 'The Woman In Black' and her penchant for ghostly women who are impossible to reason with or appease ('The Woman In Black Again', and 'The Man In The Picture') are a great trademark. Anyone who likes to be scared should read these. You won't be disappointed.