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The Small Hand: A Ghost Story (Ghost Stories)

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,309 Ratings  ·  424 Reviews
Returning home from a client visit late one evening, Adam Snow takes a wrong turn and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiousity he decides to enter, only to be repelled when he feels the unmistakeable sensation of a small hand creeping onto his own. This is just the beginning of a series of odd experiences.
Hardcover, 167 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Profile Books (first published 2010)
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Holly 'The Small Hand and Dolly' is a collection of two Susan Hill stories: 'Dolly' and 'The Small Hand'. You can buy both stories separately as well.…more'The Small Hand and Dolly' is a collection of two Susan Hill stories: 'Dolly' and 'The Small Hand'. You can buy both stories separately as well. They're two different stories, though! I hope that answers your question.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ian Kirkpatrick
Mar 28, 2012 Ian Kirkpatrick rated it it was amazing
Having recently re-read The Woman in Black I decided to read Susan Hill’s most recent ghost story “The Small Hand”. I wanted to try and review it without giving the ending away as I felt that this would spoil a truly wonderful piece of traditional storytelling.

Hill’s gentle nod to M R James is not just in the structure of this slight tale, but also in the emotionally barren life of her central protagonist, who is a dealer in antiquarian books.

The plot structure is straightforward and uncomplicat
This is the most recent of Susan Hill's ghost stories, and in reading it I have completed the author's quartet of novellas of the supernatural. This one deviates from the previous three in that it's set in something like the present day; though much of the story has a timeless feel, references to a few modern innovations let us know that it's taking place in the modern age (email is mentioned, for example). Other aspects display reassuring similarities to the others, however, with a backdrop of ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
Straight forward ghost tale, cleany told, but I would go for waters' 'little stranger' over this
Amy (Other Amy)
It was a place which had been left to the air and the weather, the wind, the sun, the rabbits and the birds, left to fall gently, sadly into decay, for stones to crack and paths to be obscured and then to disappear, for windowpanes to let in the rain and birds to nest in the roof. Gradually, it would sink in on itself and then into the earth. How old was this house? A hundred years? In another hundred there would be nothing left of it.

I turned. I could barely see ahead now. Whatever the garden,
May 25, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok
Maybe i was spoilt by ' The woman in black ' but this came nowhere close. As a story it was ok but I think it would have worked much better as a short story than a novel. If it had been then it would have been more stark and perhaps would have flowed better. Much of the detail seemed padding, it didn't really contribute to the movement of the plot. Why did we ned to be told about Adam's flights to US or Europe on book business; it served no real purpose? The denoument seemed contrived and I wasn ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft

Adam Snow is a dealer in antiquarian books and travels extensively in search of rare & seemingly unattainable volumes for his clientele. By chance, he finds himself accidentally lost in the English countryside and stumbles upon The White House. The White House is a derelict Edwardian house and the once extensive show garden a wilderness, now lost to time; w
Nesa Sivagnanam
May 19, 2011 Nesa Sivagnanam rated it it was amazing
This is such a small book and it's wonderful. I love the way Hill uses language and the simplicity of her stories. The protagonist is an antiquarian bookseller. His is a calm life filled with quests for beautiful books. He only accepts commissions from people who love books as he does. On a summer evening on the way to such a client he gets lost and arrives at an abandoned house with a massive garden now being reclaimed by the wild. Standing in a dim green-lit clearing he feels a small hand cree ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
What a lovely book, inside and out. It's a hardback, but so small - about two thirds the size of a standard paperback and it has a beautiful cover. That's what first drew me in.

It's a proper ghost story, well written with just the right amount of 'scaryness' without being over the top. The plot is really good and a fab ending which didn't leave any unanswered questions.

I would certainly recommend you read this. If you're not into horror, don't worry, neither am I. This book in no way could be cl
The standard gothic tropes just don't work very well when books are set in an era with modern technology.

This book starts when the main is driving home through the countryside, gets lost, and ends up at an old derelict country estate but why does he get lost? Does he not have a cell phone with navigation?

The guy's a younger male, works on a commission basis for wealthy clientelle and travels constantly. Such a man would definitely have had a cell phone and probably a smart phone of some sort by
Deidre(Dee) ~ Johnny's Grandma ~
The Small Hand is the story of antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow, as he takes a wrong turning one day, and stumbles across the derelict, old White House, in rural England. Curiosity draws him toward the house, and the unmistakable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, attracts and intrigues, rather than scares, and creeps him out. Drawn strangely to this house, Snow does a little research, discovering that the owner's grandson, drowned there many years before, and as he discovers more, ...more
Jan 19, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok
Having taken a wrong turn on a country road, Adam Snow accidentally comes across a once beautiful, but now run down abandoned house. As he stands admiring it, he feels a little hand slip in to his, but to his horror, there is no one stood beside him. As he tries to forget the experience, he feels the hand slip in to his again, and realises he needs to find out more about the house that led him to the hand...

A pretty disappointing read overall really. I was expecting a scary ghost story and it wa
Nov 01, 2013 Georgina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. I used to love Susan Hill - rated her as a must read and even wrote her a fan letter once upon a time. I am worried.....
I loathed the one Serrailer book I read - not keen on that genre, but it was the clunkiness of the writing that put me off more. I love a ghost story and I actually gave the gorgeously bound edition as Christmas presents, but have only just got around to reading it myself. After the dark magic of The Woman in Black, and the eternal top-notch spookiness of a child ghost
Carole Tyrrell
Mar 14, 2011 Carole Tyrrell rated it liked it
Since the Woman in Black, Susan Hill seems to have cornered the market in the English ghost story. I enjoyed the Woman in Black immensely but her previous ghost story, the Man in the Picture, had some serious flaws. The Small Hand is more a novella and opens promisingly with the narrator, Adam, an antiquarian book dealer, becoming lost on the South Downs whilst travelling to visit a client. He ends up turning into an overgrown drive that leads to a derelict, abandoned, Edwardian house surrounded ...more
Jan 10, 2016 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: ghost-story
Diverting enough, but I found the protagonist oddly unlikeable and the mystery, such as it was, disappointing. Also a lot of extraneous detail I had hoped would become relevant but never did - I think it would have worked better as a short(er) story.
Oct 12, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
There were no actual "scares" in this ghost story, but I got so worked up anticipating one that the tension while I was reading this tiny book was the same as if it was a horror movie and there was creepy music playing. I was speed reading through most of the book, looking for the "scare" that never came. The story kept me guessing as to who the "small hand" belonged to for the whole book, I couldn't work it out until the book revealed it.

Sep 17, 2012 Nikki rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, horror
The Small Hand is a rather gentle ghost story -- I don't know why I was oddly disappointed to find it not-that-creepy, since I don't deal well with creepiness. Maybe because I screwed up my courage to read it. Anyway, it was fairly predictable and all, but quite well written. There was nothing really bad to say about it, but it didn't work for me.
✟ℜoxanne✟(Death by ßook Avalanche)
After browsing through the shelves at my local library I spotted this book and knew I recognised the author's name...the brilliant author who wrote The Woman in Black (which I read quite recently and very much enjoyed) so I thought I would pick this one up.
The Small Hand is a nice, enjoyable ghost story which unfortunately lacked a certain chill, I did not find it to be scary in any way and I found that perhaps I was somewhat spoilt by the rollercoaster of The Woman in Black. I got a bit bored
Dec 30, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
Decent ghost story in the classic style
K.B. Goddard
The small hand tells the Story of Adam Snow an antiquarian bookseller. One night on his way home from a visit to a client he gets lost on the way home through the country lanes. That's when he stumbles across a crumbling, decaying old house with overgrown gardens. As he stands contemplating the sight he feels a small hand slip into his own, a child's hand; but the child is invisible.

Firstly, what did I like about this book. As always with Hill's books there's plenty of descriptive writing goin
Dec 21, 2010 Pamela rated it really liked it
One spring evening, while driving home to London, Adam Smith loses his way and stumbles onto a derelict old house, set in a ruined garden. As he pauses there in the twilight, he feels a small hand--a child's--take his own, though there is no one else there. At first, Snow is oddly touched by this strange occurrence; the hand, in his memory, seems benign, even comforting. But when, after he returns to his normal routines, the hand begins to seek him out again and with increasing urgency, Snow rea ...more
Feb 18, 2012 Ange rated it liked it
I've not read anything by Susan Hill previously, although I saw The Woman in Black on the stage nearly 20 years ago. I enjoyed The Small Hand, and I thought the ending was fine - perhaps I'm slow, but I didn't see what was coming until I was nearly at the end. The settings were lovely, although I felt the Monastery turned out to be a bit of a red herring - it didn't have any connection with the story except for being where the Shakespeare First Folio was located. However, I couldn't figure out w ...more
Feb 21, 2011 Karen rated it liked it
Susan Hill is probably best known to Crime Fiction fans for her Chatto and Windus series, but THE SMALL HAND is a ghost story with mysterious overtones which would appeal to anyone who is looking for something which is just simply beautifully written.

A short (and sumptuously packaged) book, THE SMALL HAND is the story of antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow as he takes a wrong-turning one day and stumbles across the derelict old White House deep in rural England. Curiosity draws him towards the hous
Feb 19, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, ghosts, 2013-reads
'The Small Hand' is probably one of Susan Hill's lesser known ghost stories but having now finally read it I would say that it is just as good as its more famous counterparts, 'The Woman in Black' and 'The Mist in the Mirror'. I was certainly not disappointed with it at all.
The strength of this story, along with all her previous works, lies in its simplicity and old-fashioned charm. The writing is atmospheric and sets the scene nicely, the storyline is straightforward and easy to follow, the sca
Mallory Heart Recommends
Jan 12, 2012 Mallory Heart Recommends rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Supernatural devotees, mystery lovers
From the author of The Woman in Black, this is a cosy British mystery/Supernatural to which the reader can settle in like curling into a padded armchair under an afghan in front of a roaring fire on a wintry, snow-filled night. Ms. Hill has such a talent for writing that she conjures literary fiction and makes me love it. This book is totally re-readable (and I will reread it). Unlike The Woman in Black, I’m not racing through this one-instead, I’m savouring it as I would a walk through an exten ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Ugh rated it liked it
I suspect - although I can't be bothered to find out for certain - that the "ghost story" is considered almost a genre in itself, and that complaining about what is and isn't found in A Small Hand would be akin to complaining about all the wise-cracking in a noir novel. However, I'm about to do it just that...

I've wanted to read this ever since it first came out in hard back and I came across a summary of the plot in some paper or other. So it would be fair to say that my expectations were high,
Dec 27, 2010 Anne rated it it was amazing
It was with great anticipation that I opened up my beautiful copy of The Small Hand - I'd known it was lurking in my Christmas stocking for weeks and had been looking forward to getting my own small hands on it.

Susan Hill again conjures up an air of unease and menace in her writing. Set in modern day times, this story has a dark and gothic feel to it, yet it is set mainly in the summer months, not as one would expect, in the dark of winter. It is Hill's brilliance that can portray such terror to
Oct 30, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it
The Small Hand by Susan Hill is one of the most attractive books I own. Okay I know that beauty is only skin deep, never judge a book by its cover etc etc but who could fail to be enchanted by this small but perfectly formed volume..

Here, Susan Hill succeeds in cranking up the tension in another chilling tale. Antiquarian bookseller, Adam Snow discovers an abandoned Edwardian house and experiences a supernatural moment when his hand is grasped by that of a small child.

...we stood for a time whi
The Small Hand sounded like a really interesting ghost story and lately I’ve been looking for more spooky reads so I didn’t hesitate to pick this one up.
The Small Hand wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be to be honest. In truth I felt it was more of a classic style horror which is to say it uses more sophisticated language and not so much of the scary factor.
The book reminded me a very tiny little bit of The Ninth Gate movie but I think this was only because the main characters in both deal
Apr 18, 2016 Maryam rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it
Susan Hill's The Small Hand is the ghost story for people who are afraid of ghost stories. That's right. Even if you're terrified and an utter wimp at handling scary stories alone (like myself), I guarantee you will make it through this short novel.

That's not to say that it's not at all creepy or that the story is bland, but that it's easy to disassociate yourself with the protagonist. Adam Snow journeys to a monastery high in the mountains as part of his work as an antique book trader, whilst m
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Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor
More about Susan Hill...

Other Books in the Series

Ghost Stories (6 books)
  • The Woman in Black
  • The Mist in the Mirror
  • The Man in the Picture
  • Dolly
  • Printer's Devil Court

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