Colleen's Reviews > The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
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Apr 12, 12

bookshelves: nook-books
Read in April, 2012

OK, I admit it--I bought this on my Nook based on the movie trailer. It was an impulse buy. When I downloaded it, I was surprised to see it was only 127 pages long. How can you get a good ghost story going in 127 pages? And that turned out to be precisely its problem. This is not a novel, it's a novella, or even a very long short story ($9.99 for a long short story--hmmmm...). I gave The Woman in Black 3 stars for atmospheric creepiness. Here are some good atmospherically creepy lines about London fog: "...seething through cracks and crannies like sour breath, gaining a sly entrance at every opening of a door. It was a yellow fog, a filthy, evil-smelling fog, a fog that choked and blinded, smeared, and stained." I wish the plot was this heavy, instead, it's whisper-thin. And not all that original or even interesting. I got to the end and felt disappointed, even cheated--this is it? I could see the ending coming, but at least it came with a twist I wasn't expecting. The description of Eel Marsh House and the marsh it stood on--the mist enveloping everything, the sucking mud, the screams borne on the wind--that gave me goosebumps. But the woman in black was a weak character and the reason she was haunting the town of Crythin Gifford was weaker still. Author Hill could have done SO much more with this story! So, read it for the shiver-inducing setting, but don't expect interesting characters or a unique plot--it doesn't deliver that.
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