Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Woman In Black"

Source:  Goodreads

From the back cover...
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 it's 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 in black.

Susan Hill


"And then, from somewhere within the depths of the house--but somewhere not very far from the room in which I was--I heard a noise."
From The Woman in Black page 108

I chose to read this book for no other reason than I saw the preview for the movie and immediately knew I wanted to see it.  Then I discovered that it was a book, and I always try to read the book first.  The previews look very creepy, so I was super excited to start this one.  However, after reading the book and seeing the previews I know that the movie must be only "loosely" based on the book.

There was a lot of build up in this book and lots of talk of how Kipp's experiences had affected the rest of his life, but there were actually very few ghosts.  The description of the setting--the marshes, estuary, the small village, the house itself--was very well done and very creepy in itself.  I could see the vastness in my mind and imagine what lonliness Kipp must have felt in that huge old house all alone.  One thing I would have loved to read more about in the book is the background of Alice Drablow, the late owner of the house.  Unfortunately all we know of her is that she was standoffish, had no family or friends, and lived her live as a recluse in Eel Marsh House.  I would have loved to know more.

I have to say that The Woman in Black wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be.  I really had trouble "settling in" to this book.  You know how when you really get into a book and you're enjoying it you almost absorb the pages? That never happened for me with this book.  I was conscious of every word I read and found myself having to reread words, sentences, and even paragraphs often.  It really bugs me when that happens.

Anyway, even though I scare VERY easily, this book just wasn't scary to me, but I won't go as far as saying it was bad.  It was ok for me.  If you like ghost stories and are interested in this book, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it.  Everyone is may love it. 

My husband and I are going to see the movie this weekend, so I'll definitely be doing a blog comparing the movie and the book.  I'm really looking forward to see the movie, but I'm even more excited about the very rare date night I will be enjoying with my husband (:


An estuary is mentioned several times in the book.  I had a vague idea of what an estuary is, but I wanted a more precise definition.  According to the EPA, "an estuary  is a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where freshwater from rivers and streams meets and mixes with salt water from the ocean.  Estuaries and the lands surrounding them are places of transition from land to sea and freshwater to salt water.  Although influenced by the tides, they are protected from the full force of ocean waves, winds, and storms by such land forms as barrier islands and peninsulas." (Source:



  1. I scare very easily as well. I'm glad that you weren't scared. I haven't seen the movie trailer or book for this one before.

    1. Hi Mrs. Q! I hadn't ever heard of it either, but I saw the preview for the movie on Goodreads and figured it was a book too. Turns out it is!