Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Candle in Her Room” as Want to Read:
A Candle in Her Room
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Candle in Her Room

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  239 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Melissa was sure it was the doll, Dido, who brought evil to the family, not once, but again and again. Three generations were haunted by the strange wooden doll. Each time Dido came to light there was disaster and tragedy. What could be done to overcome the power of the doll? This is a book about many things: evil, the dimensions of reality, the flow of generations, and su ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published December 28th 1972 by MacMillan Publishing Company (first published 1966)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Candle in Her Room, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jennifer Yes, it's a book that has haunted me since I read it as a teenager. I'm going to have to read it again as an adult. I remember being quite frightened…moreYes, it's a book that has haunted me since I read it as a teenager. I'm going to have to read it again as an adult. I remember being quite frightened by the ending, I think. Hard to know, sometimes, whether it was the book or the time of life that made it so influential. I've just re-read My Cousin Rachel, by Daphne Du Maurier, and that was also very influential and hard to shake.(less)
Thursday's Child by Noel StreatfeildJane-Emily by Patricia ClappFog Magic by Julia L. SauerMarianne Dreams by Catherine StorrA Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively
Obscure Children's Vintage Gems
36th out of 363 books — 90 voters
Dolly by Susan HillThe Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing HahnAmong the Dolls by William SleatorBad Girls Don't Die by Katie AlenderCoraline by Neil Gaiman
Haunted Dolls
12th out of 112 books — 22 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 561)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 23, 2011 Melody rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5/2011 Oh, how I love this book. It's tightly written, suspenseful without being terribly scary, haunting and utterly infused with a gentle love. It's rooted so deeply in its place that one comes away from it loving Pembrokeshire-as-was. Full of insights into obsession, forgiveness, family and above all love, this story is one of the classics. Scary haunted doll aside, there's just so much in this book that's rewarding. We learn about war, about cruelty and madness, about art and music and danci ...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 03, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 11 & up, especially girls and women
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
I loved the voices of the 3 girls/women over 3 generations whose voices told the story. The book is told is 4 sections, by Melissa, Dilys (Melissa’s neice), Melissa again, then Nina (Dily’s daughter and Melissa’s great neice). I was so attached to Melissa’s character that when it was Nina’s turn to tell the tale I occasionally briefly forgot it wasn’t Melissa anymore. All 3 of these characters are well drawn as are many others; I especially enjoyed Emmy’s character.

It’s an incredibly well writte
Perhaps Arthur's best known book and certainly the most unsettling. It begins:

"I suppose if we had not come to live in Pembrokeshire, Judith, Briony and I, this story would never have been written, for in another set of circumstances our lives might have run very differently. There would have been no Dido."

The story is about three generations of women who are haunted by an evil doll, and how it changes their lives.
Jan 22, 2014 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger
I received this by mistake amongst some other books I had ordered. I am reading it before returning it. A bit of a funny mistake, as Arthur was in fact an author I was slightly interested in obtaining, mostly to see if I had already read her as a child, but not urgently enough to have gotten around to getting her books since they weren't available from the library.

So far (I'm still in part one of what I believe is a three-generation story) I'm still uncertain as to whether I had read this or me
Victoria Tirrel
Mar 01, 2011 Victoria Tirrel rated it really liked it
I read this book when I was in fifth grade in 1972...I am now 51 and could walk to the shelf in my grade school library and know its exact location. I think I checked this book out 10-12 times in the two years I went to that school. I loved the way the book focused on the lives of the though what the adults were doing barely mattered. My husband bought me a copy for Christmas this year, read it through in one sitting and found it as good as ever.
Claire S
Jan 11, 2009 Claire S rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like a good scare - not children without adult reading first!
Recommended to Claire by: 5th grade teacher
I won a copy of this book in 5th grade, in relation to doing some number of book review. I've been haunted by it ever since!
This is one of the spookiest, most gripping things I've read. Of course - disclaimer - blood and gore are a whole different thing, this has none of that. So if that's 'gripping' for you, what I'm writing won't apply.
But it's about a doll that has ... an effect on people. And it traces that effect across multiple generations of a family that buys the house in which it resi
In the fifth grade, I borrowed this book from my elementary school library. I don't remember what attracted me to it - the book had no dust jacket so it can't have been the cover, it was a fairly old book by 1995, and I don't think I asked for any help selecting it - but from that day to this, the tale of Melissa Mansell and her lifelong connection to a doll named Dido has stuck with me. When the singer Dido became popular in the early 2000s, this book was my first thought; when I discovered Ama ...more
Sep 26, 2015 Andria rated it it was amazing
The title didn't ring a bell, but as I was reading it I remembered a short story I wrote in high school about a demonically-possessed doll and realized my story resembled this book SO MUCH, there was no doubt I had read it years before. A little digging and I learned it was re-published by Scholastic in the 60's with the title The Witch Doll and THAT does sound familiar. There's no way young me would have passed up a book with such a name.

I loved it then and I love it now. Creepy, gothic, and ch
Oct 05, 2007 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who aren't fond of sleep
Evil doll? Haunted family? Welsh backdrop? What's not to love about this book? Don't read it the night before you have something important to do, though, as this story will keep you keep you awake from sheer terror.
Feb 11, 2010 Laurel rated it it was amazing
Love love love this book. Jane Eyre meets Jane Emily.
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 07, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
Really amazing little horror/mystery story, I loved its strange and eccentric, original content.
Oct 14, 2014 Tricia rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
2.5 stars. I learned about this book from a discussion on about classic YA books, and decided to track it down. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more, or been creeped out by it, if I'd been younger when I read it. As it was, I found it moderately paced but not very suspenseful. Only the final section (Nina's) approached creepiness for me.

Coincidentally, as I was reading this book I stumbled across the definition of dido: "n. - A shrewd trick; an antic; a caper". Makes me wonder if the dol
Aug 27, 2011 Sally rated it liked it
Actually... I'm not sure I could say I LIKED this book. I read it only once, way back, and found it so creepy I never read it again. However, it has stuck with my memory, so I assume it is well-written so I can't give it a ho-hum-not-so-good two stars. (So many books SEEM good while I'm reading them, but then two days later I'm stuck for the heroine's name!) I have quite a few books by Ruth M. Arthur, but don't seem to have reread many. This one is the only major memory-sticker.
Jun 01, 2015 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
This book is old and out of print, so it's taken me years to track it down. It's not part of the Boston Public Library system, but I just moved to another state and it only took me a week to get it in my hands.

Unfortunately, the story was not as scary as I was led to believe from every review I've read. Okay, I understand, this is a book about an evil doll written for children, but every review I've read made it sound like it haunted adults to this day (and maybe it would have made a bigger impr
Nov 28, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People that like magic without too much fantasy.
One of my favorite novels when I was 12 or 13, though I don't usually go for stories of more than one generation. Some seriously creepy sections (not for children susceptible to nightmares!) but very exciting, very satisfying. Like most of R A Arthur, just a bit of magic set in everyday Great Britain.

I love Margery Gill's illustrations! She also did some of the early Susan Cooper books.
M. Stafford
Nov 12, 2011 M. Stafford rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This novel had a profound affect on me as a teenager. I have tried to purchase it many times, but have been ripped off by different distributors. It is now a collector's item and out of my reach, sadly.

I love this book. Can't even reread it as it is out of print.
Oct 20, 2013 Jami rated it it was amazing
A creepy book that I never read after dark. Loved it. Read it many, many times.
Megan Smith
Dec 18, 2013 Megan Smith rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: girls age 11 and up
Recommended to Megan by: found at school library
Amazing characters, intense issues, engrossing story... This is a piece of literature in the truest sense of the word.

I could not review this stunning book any better than "Melody" did in this post, so I will just re-post what she said:

"5/2011 Oh, how I love this book. It's tightly written, suspenseful without being terribly scary, haunting and utterly infused with a gentle love. It's rooted so deeply in its place that one comes away from it loving Pembrokeshire-as-was. Full of insights into obs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2014 Therese rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary and memorable novel. We all read it, in my group of friends at school, when were about 12. It was a rather dark story for children, and has definite overtones of horror, as distinct from merely supernatural themes.

The evil doll, Dido, lives on in my recollections. I always recalled her with a shudder, although I had forgotten the other details of the story.
Jun 27, 2014 Bron rated it it was amazing
Dido the evil doll. I am amazed that my very straight school had this on their library shelves....supernatural, magic, old Welsh home, cliffs, and beautifully written. Still recall not being able to sleep after reading it as a 10 year old. Still love it now as an adult. My daughter also loved it.
Jul 08, 2014 Gina rated it really liked it
I thought it was really well-written, and the way it covers multiple generations, and covers some darker themes while still being okay for adolescent readers, worked for me.
Dec 10, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it
I read this story several years ago when I was a young girl. This book casts a spell on readers, because they remember it even years later. Too bad it is out of print.
JoAnna Wahlund
May 11, 2016 JoAnna Wahlund rated it really liked it
Chilling but well-written novel about an evil doll that curses women of each generation, until one brave girl finds away to end the curse.
Katy Wood
Jun 10, 2014 Katy Wood rated it really liked it
Shelves: child-hood
Oh. I read this book years ago in elementary school. It creeped me out and I have been trying to find it to read it again
Marianne Burke
Nov 19, 2015 Marianne Burke rated it it was amazing
Loved this read it as an adult when I looked for it at the library for my daughter!!!
Salena Moffat
Jul 15, 2014 Salena Moffat rated it it was amazing
A book that has stayed with me my entire life. Absolutely haunting.
Feb 23, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Read this as a kid. Stayed with me.
Sep 08, 2014 Melody rated it it was amazing
Love this book when I was growing up
Nov 17, 2014 Tracy rated it it was amazing
loved this book as a child!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Jane-Emily
  • Magic Elizabeth
  • Light a Single Candle
  • The Ghost Next Door
  • Kathleen (Sunfire, #8)
  • A Gift of Magic
  • A String in the Harp
  • Saturday, the Twelfth of October
  • Ghosts Beneath Our Feet
  • Serpent Never Sleeps
  • The Giant Under the Snow
  • The Ghosts of Stone Hollow
  • Silver Woven In My Hair
  • Bargain Bride
  • The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
  • Laura's Luck
  • Jessica (Sunfire, #6)
  • Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal
Working name of UK writer Ruth Mabel Arthur Huggins, long active as a children's author, her career beginning with Friendly Stories (collection, 1932). Most of her early work, like the Brownie sequence -- The Crooked Brownie (1936), The Crooked Brownie in Town (1942) and The Crooked Brownie at the Seaside (1942) is for younger children, but with Dragon Summer (1962) and A Candle in her Room (1966) ...more
More about Ruth M. Arthur...

Share This Book