The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black - Susan Hill, John Lawrence

This is a lovely, slow-paced gothic novel, and I enjoyed it.


The atmosphere was elegant and well-done, and I did enjoy the slow build-up. I was intrigued by our main character, and I always love the framing device of someone looking back on their past and writing about it--I'm not sure why, but that always sells a book for me.


My problems with it were two-fold.


Firstly, I was expecting a little more horror. Perhaps that was silly, but I never quite managed to get scared, and I am a complete scaredy cat when it comes to horror and ghosts and creepy houses. I even made sure to read it properly, as an e-book on The Normandy in the dark with all the lights off and all alone in my bedroom. I really wanted shivers down my spine and to start at shadows, and I didn't get that.


Secondly, it was a bit too predictable for me. Some of that may very well be the age--it is old enough it has probably spawned imitators, and young enough that it was certainly drawing (playfully, at times) on the older gothic novels. I was hoping for something to throw me a little bit, but I knew very early on the basic outline of what was going on, and I saw the ending coming as well.


With all that being said, I'm very pleased I read it, and I do recommend it if you are looking for something eerie and atmospheric, but light on the horror. I'm going to be looking for more of Susan Hills' books, and I might even break down and see the movie at some point.