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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,224 ratings  ·  57 reviews
In a house in London a woman starts a new life, trying to put tragedy behind her. Then a pretty blonde child runs into view, bringing with her an inexplicable suggestion of evil.

Once Julia Lofting had a husband and a daughter. But everything has changed since she bolted from her marriage, in flight from the unbearable truth of her daughter's death. For Julia, there is no e
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Ballantine Books (first published 1975)
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The Shining by Stephen KingThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensGhost Story by Peter StraubHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Ghost Stories
127th out of 760 books — 1,262 voters
Shutter Island by Dennis LehaneJulia by Peter StraubThirty Scary Tales by Rayne HallThe Other by Thomas TryonA Twisted Ladder by Rhodi Hawk
Best psychological/gothic horror
2nd out of 34 books — 19 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,084)
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Edward (The Book Pusher) Lorn
Julia is my first Peter Straub read in over a decade. I came across a bulk lot of his books on Ebay, all of his novels in paperback for less than eight bucks, and couldn't help myself. I'd previously read Ghost Story and Koko, and loved both, but I find myself in a dark gray area with Julia.

What started as one hell of a creepy ride soon became an exercise in tedium. All the book's major questions are answered around the halfway mark, but I trudged along anyway, because I was invested in the stor
Holly Lindquist
One of those rare cases where the book isn't quite as good as the movie. Still worth reading, but if you like the story definitely check the movie out. It's called The Haunting of Julia and it stars a wan-looking Mia Farrow... very creepy. Lovely music too.
A wonderful creepy and perverted tale that was the basis for the movie, The Haunting of Julia. It doesn't bust out till around page 200, so stick with it.
"Julia" is an incredibly well-done modern Gothic in the same vein as Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" or Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," though not quite so masterful. We see through they eyes of a main character, the fragile Julia Lofting, who at best is an unreliable narrator, and at worst an outright madwoman. Straub crafts an eerie novel about madness, death and the notion of true evil. If you like this kind of story, it's a definite must-read, but good luck finding a cop ...more
"Evil isn't like ordinary people. It can't be got rid of. It gets revenge. Revenge is what it wants, and it gets it."

"There was no safety, only its illusion."

INTENSE - the most terrifying book I've read in a long time. Peter Straub is a master at psychological horror, at getting under your skin and making you believe, even if just for a few moments, that you are the character being watched, stalked, threatened. Staying up late to read this the other night, the only one awake in the house, I hear
Kevin Lucia
Excellent read. Wonderfully tense and atmospheric, with classic gothic sensibilities. Thing is, I've heard lots of folks say, "If you loved GHOST STORY, JULIA will blow your mind!" In this case, I beg to differ. GHOST STORY painted with a much richer story, and the characters were far more likable, with a lot more substance. But still, that doesn't say anything bad about JULIA. I just like GHOST STORY a whole lot more.
Victoria M
First time I came across Peter Straub - that I knew of - was during a Stephen King spree I had some years back, which eventually led me to read The Talisman and Black House, two The Dark Tower-related novels that he and King wrote together. Only in November last year, did I realize that a horror movie I had watched at the tender age of 11-ish was in fact based on another of his books, Julia. What exactly made me look the movie up that random evening in November, I do not remember anymore, but I ...more
Cecilia Solis-sublette
So no one's written a review of this 1970s novel, yet, huh? Well, let's see. The writer is good in keeping you guessing, through the end, as to whether this woman is crazy, whether her husband and brother-in-law are driving her crazy, or whether she is really being targeted by a supernatural force. The fact that her sister-in-law dabbles in the spirit world helps as does the fact that she is a grieving mother living in the house of another past-grieving mother. The elements are all there for a g ...more
Matt Guinard
This is the first review where I have something good to say about the novel. so let's get going.
"Julia" is a classic style haunting sorry. It reminded me very strongly of "The Haunting of Hill House" and "Hell House" with its brutal ghost and unreliable main character.

Now there will be SPOILERS.

The Good: the pace is fast and it is a very quick read. The antagonistic husband is genuinely unlikable but you do manage to feel for him towards the end (which surprised me a great deal). He is an assh
Mukta Mohapatra
I love Peter Straub's work and I was so excited to find a copy of Julia at Powell's bookstore.

I am still a little confused about what happened because Julia was such an unreliable narrator.

After Julia's daughter Kate dies, Julia goes into a madhouse for a bit. After coming out of the hospital, she buys a new house and attempts to start a new life away from her husband. Unfortunately, the new house is haunted by an evil little girl named Olivia. Olivia has returned because her mother Heather and
Pamela Scott

I really enjoyed Julia. The novel reminded me of all the things I love about Straub’s novel Ghost Story. It’s an early novel so it has some faults. I’ve never seen the movie but plan to seek it out along with the adaptation of Ghost Story.


Straub does a great job of creating suspense throughout Julia. He leads the leader through a dark tunnel and gives them the occasional shimmer of movement in the walls around them to keep them guessing what the fuck is going on. Stra
I didn't like this one nearly so well as Straub's other novels. The beginning was promising, and the tension builds nicely through the first 3/4 of the book, but the ending seemed really abrupt and overly vague to me. I kept reading because I thought there was going to be a pay-off, and I was going to find out something really creepy and interesting, but instead things just stayed obscure and I was left confused by the ending.
This story leaves the reader with a lot of questions. I tend to believe that Julia, a haunted woman, was fated to become the victim of the haunted house.

The scene where Julia meets Heather Rudge was quite chilling. Two women, both with sanity issues, both of whom have a daughter in the grave, both women have lived in that house on Holland Park. The deeper connection that they both share is really the clincher.
John Kim
Peter Straub's breakout book that launched him in the ranks of premier horror writers such as Stephen King and Clive Barker.

It established him as the master of the modern day ghost story and all his books have a running theme of past mistakes catching up with you in really bad ways.

It's very gothic, a damsel in distress, a haunted house and a very evil ghostly presence, but updated to our times.
alessandra falca
Ho fatto fatica a finire questo libro. Julia ha una buona trama e dei buoni personaggi ma non ce l'ho fatta ad entrare e questa volta i "fantasmi del libro " mi hanno respinto. Non è un libro scritto male solo che in maniera molto soprannaturale non mi ha fatto entrare. Non ero nel mood. Pazienza Peter, sarà per la prossima volta.
Jan 20, 2012 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes horror
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
When Julia Lufting loses her child horribly, she moves to a new house to deal with her grief. What she finds is that her house is haunted by a little girl who died mysteriously. Now she must deal with her own grief and discover how the child from her house died. I sort of enjoyed this book and give it a B+!
Freaky thats just one word to describe it. Another word may be boring. I was expecting more but for it being so old it was good. Now adays however you want to be so scared that you have to have the light on to go to sleep.
Rebecca McNutt
Julia isn't a modern horror novel racing with flesh-eating zombies or vampire romance or evil imaginary friends; it is a ghost story in a sense, but it's more so about how evil people never die... they get revenge. Julia was made into a movie as well, and the movie, albeit very good, isn't as descriptive or disturbing as the book.

The book follows Julia Lofting, a woman who has recently left behind her daughter's death, an involuntary placement in a mental hospital and her son-of-a-b!tch, control
This one confounded me. It didn't have a single story element that would normally scare me, but ir utterly messed with my head and had me checking in the closet and under the bed for boogeymen. How does he do that!?
Rafal Jasinski
Klimatyczne "ghost story" z nad wyraz pobudzającą wyobraźnie narracją, ale dość sztampową fabułą i niezwykle rozczarowującym finałem. Poza tytułową "Julią", masa bohaterów wydaje mi się niesamowicie irytująca, nosząca w sobie jakieś nieuzasadnione pretensje do głównej bohaterki, tudzież snująca się bez celu po kartach tej powieści. Niektóre wątki znajdują tu dość dziwaczne zakończenie, przy czym większości z nich nie spina satysfakcjonująca puenta.

Jednak, mimo wszystko jest to dobry horror, z ki
Pure stubbornness got me through this one. Do not recommend.
Jan 07, 2014 Jack rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
I love good haunting books. If there is such a thing as a literary vice, that is probably mine. Straub is an excellent writer, and creates a lot of atmospheric tension. This novel definitely falls in to the "quiet horror" side of the genre, and while there are some grotesque scenes, the horror is generally accomplished by what you don't know, and what you haven't seen. Julia is the quintessential haunted female, spiraling down into madness, but is the madness a result of the haunting, or is the ...more
Geert Daelemans
Great opening, poor ending

After the sudden death of her nine-year-old daughter, Julia Lofting decides to leave her tyrannical husband and move to London to start a new life. She buys a house but is unaware of the bad history of this new residence. When the first day she sees a nice young girl that looks very much like her deceased daughter, Julia is unable to find her much sought for peace of mind. Slowly but surely she starts to suspect that something supernatural is watching her, waiting for t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've been looking for a copy of Julia for quite some time, and was lucky enough to find one at a book sale. This is a weird little tale, centered around a quiet and beautiful woman who flees from her husband after a tragic mishap and moves into a new house. That's all you're getting from me; the less you know about this book before you read it, the better it will be. I accidentally spoiled it for myself by flipping through and catching a phrase or two when I first noticed it lying there inside a ...more
Andrea McFirst
Primo romanzo di Straub ad avere successo. Francamente mi aspettavo una prosa più acerba anziché trovare già l'impronta stilistica di uno scrittore che sa il fatto suo.
Da un interessante incipit si articola una ghost story delle più classiche. Ma i macabri omicidi intervallati da punti morti, il passato che ritorna in modo un po' troppo insistente ed i personaggi spesso privi di spessore rendono questo libro del tutto trascurabile e poco interessante. Finale inconcludente.
Robert Grant
A good early one from Peter Straub. Very reminiscent of the books of that era and that is a good thing as the 1970's were filled with good works in the horror genre. Glad I came across this little gem of a ghost story. A marriage that is crumbling, a dead child and a spooky house in England. All the ingredients for a good story and it is exactly that.

3 1/2 stars out of 5
Rachel K
This is one of my favorite movies. The side characters are definitely more interesting in the book, but what the movie has that the book lacks is Mia Farrow.
She is just so good in the movie. Go watch it! It's on Netflix now!
There used to be 2 video stores in town that had copies of this movie and I rented/watched them both frequently until the tapes started to wear out from age and bad storage. For ages you just could not get this movie, but we live in the future now, and it's awesome.
I did lik
Francesca Tessari
Tentenna un p all`nizio, ma poi comincia a recuperare verso la met e mantiene una buona tensione narrativa con una scrittura abbastanza scorrevole. Peccato per il finale, che si rivela troppo prevedibile. ...more
Kingsley Adrian
His first book I read. He tried though the work is not so masterful. Haunting, slightly creepy, evocative, with the spirituality of life and the blood of evil embedded in the work. Don't stay up for it
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
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“She thought, instead, with longing of more books—of buying books—of slipping into a narrative of other people’s lives. That was release.” 7 likes
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