review by Maryom
When I've commented on Twitter or Facebook that I haven't found such and such book particularly frightening, people always recommend The Woman in Black. My not-easily-freaked-out Teen certainly found the film scary. So I decided it was time to borrow the library's copy and read it as part of our Halloween week.
Arthur Kipps reminisces about the time when as a young solicitor, rising in his profession, he was sent to attend the funeral and sort out the affairs of a recently deceased client - for this it's necessary to spend some night in the deceased's house out on the lonely marshes in a house only accessible by causeway and cut-off at high tide. Of course, none of the locals would do this - ever! - but Kipps is either braver or more foolhardy, so off he goes. Out there he encounters stranger things than he'd expected - things that will mar his life forever....
So, how did I find The Woman in Black. Atmospheric? Yes - there are wonderful contrasting descriptions of the marshes under the winter sun and blanketed in fog. Very compelling? Certainly. A real page turner that I didn't want to put down. But scary? Not really, or at least not for me. The reader knows from the beginning that something very frightening happened and too often the narrator seems to say "Careful, there's a scary bit coming up". For some readers this may have added to the tension - in the way creepy music does on a film - but by preparing me for the horror it made it less scary.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Vintage Books
Genre - ghost stories,