Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
This is our current selection for our high school reading group, Books a la Carte.  We obviously try to choose books that appeal to a wide range of high school readers.  This one was selected because of the film's recent release.  The film is popular among our high school students because of Danielle Radcliffe (who I will forever refer to as "Harry Potter"), who plays the lead role of Arthur Kipps.

Arthur Kipps is an aspiring young man working for an attorney in London.  He is sent to a remote village nestled among the moors of England to attend the funeral and settle the estate of a reclusive client, Mrs. Alice Drablow.  Arthur is frustrated and confused by the villagers' odd response to the deceased woman, but after spending some time in the isolated residence, Eel Marsh House, he is begins to understand their terror, and ultimately, their tragedy.

I love this style of writing... very detailed and descriptive.  Although some of our students have said that they had a hard time getting through the first few chapters, I was immediately captivated.  Hill draws you in and makes you feel a part of the setting.  One evening, I was reading this at home after my children had gone to bed and my husband had gone out for the evening.  Several chapter in, I was too creeped out to go back downstairs.  Keep in mind, my house is nearly 100 years old and makes a tremendous amount of creaking and other odd noises.  The shutters outside would bang against the house, and I would jump in my chair.  I imagine this was Hill's intention, and she did a masterful job of the old-fashioned ghost story!  I am curious to see how it translated to film.

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