Jamie's Reviews > The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
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Oct 19, 10


There's nothing I love more than finding a good gothic escapist book when I least expect it. You step in Borders expecting to buy a cook book and instead you stumble across a book that's sure to keep you up until the wee hours of the night, slightly afraid of the dark and scared to walk down the hall to the bathroom.

While The Little Stranger had some loose ends and a lack of...point, in the end, the book overall was wonderful. Waters does a bang up job of making
Hundreds, the formerly beautiful mansion of a once rich family, a character on it's own. I loved the presence of the book and found myself simply wanting to be there, follow the mystery, imagine the dark office of the leading character's private practice, and imagine Caroline cutting vegetables and cleaning ornate details in crumbling mansion.

Like those movies that are so perfectly scouted for location but with a rather loose story, it's always a shock to realize you can deal with no concrete plot so long as the world created is a beautiful or interesting one.

It was a bit frustrating to find the book ended in a sort of choose your own adventure fashion, but some people are very fond of not quite knowing. I still enjoyed it very much, I just like to KNOW, if I read four hundred pages, what ACTUALLY happened rather than an on going speculation, because I can mentally speculate for years and tend to really love my characters, even if they were only with me for a fleeting moment.

This book was no Shadow of the Wind or Secret History, but it did have an essence of that wistful sort of beauty, just without nearly as solid a story. I do love the idea of a house being a character--not since Rebecca have I seen so much personification of a home--though Hundreds was nothing compared to Manderly.

Water's greatest book is yet to be written, but it will be, because she is absolutely working her way up. I'm happy to be along for the ride, and when she gets it, it will be exquisite.
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