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The Small Hand and Dolly

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Two chilling ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black, both set in crumbling English houses that are haunted by the spirits of thwarted children. A VINTAGE TRADE PAPER ORIGINAL.

In The Small Hand, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garde
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Vintage
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3.57  · 
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 ·  645 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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I requested this from NetGalley based on two things:
1) The fact that I really enjoyed The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
2) That cover. So deliciously creepy.

And I really enjoyed these two stories, despite reading them in snippets and bite size pieces over the course of forever.

I loved the creeping foreboding feeling of these stories. I loved the way that the everyday life went on around these... phenomena, and that lent even more eeriness to it.

The second story was by far my favorite, though I
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
These are by far two of the most chilling ghost stories I have read together in a long time. I'm so glad Amazon suggested it and that my local library had a copy, so I could get my hot hands on it. If you read this and DON'T get the chills/goosebumps then something is wrong with you. Just sayin'.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, read-in-2014
Susan Hill is a master of building anticipation until it becomes unbearable. I love it. It's a slow burn, subtle at first, but the tension tugs you along until you can't look away, even if you desperately want to, so you keep turning pages until...

That was me finishing "Dolly" last night. Doll stories always scare the hell out of me. The ending, while jarring, didn't quite work for me. And I'm generally okay with that -- I don't expect perfect endings with horror. (They are few and far between.
Carla Remy
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Small Hand is a touch slow, but it is a slightly different version of a ghost story, and after the slow beginning, it gets quite interesting.. The haunted gardens reminded me of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial. The second short novel, Dolly, is a very entertaining gothic style psycho horror tale.
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Old houses, overrun gardens, spectral children

I loved these novellas and with Halloween around the corner it was a great time to read them. So many ghost stories are wonderful in the development section but the endings fall short. Not so with these. They're both about children. They're both sad and necessarily tragic. As always with Hill they're atmospheric. She's magic in this aspect. As she so often does her main characters in both stories are male. They both exude tenderness and sensitivity w
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I ended up liking this one way more than I anticipated, primarily on the strength of the second story, after all one can't go wrong with creepy dolls. The first tale was just ok, something about modern Victorian fiction just doesn't work for me, you can't just have all that gloomy atmosphere with modern technology, it's just too jarring of a juxtaposition stylistically. And so it's a decent haunted story about a book dealer haunted by a small child with...yes, small hands. The second sto ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
What's better than a ghost story? Two ghost stories! And that's what Susan Hill gives us in The Small Hand and Dolly. I love the cover -the doll's eye is unsettling and just set the tone for what awaits the reader.

I've fallen in love with Hill's Simon Serrailler detective series, but it was only on looking at the author's website that I realized she was the author of The Woman in Black - a classic ghost tale that has been made into a stage play (opened in 1989 and is still running) as well as a
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Adam Snow is into antiques. That is his job. To travel all over the world finding lost treasures. While heading back from one of his trips, Adam comes upon an old, abandoned house. The White House. Adam gets out of the car. While standing looking at the house Adam feels a small child's hand grab a hold of his hand. Adam leaves but he is haunted by the memory of the small child's hand. He starts doing research on the White House. Adam will uncover something about the house and the child that will ...more
Diane S ☔
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
These two stories are not the shivering kind of scary, but more of the creepy, atmospheric kind of scary. Like Tales of the CRypt, for those who know of or remember that show. They both feature a family connection, but in all other ways they are very different. Love everything thiS author has written, all her books are well done and this one is no different.
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Susan Hill is the author of “The Woman in Black”, and so I expected some very creepy ghost stories. With “The Small Hand” she delivers beautifully. A man, lost while driving to a client’s house, accidentally comes across a deserted house and garden in the English countryside and he feels drawn to it; while there, he experiences a small, childlike hand grasping his own- except there is no child there. Most people would want no more to do with the premises at this point, but the man- Adam Snow- de ...more
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Small Hand and Dolly are two novella ghost stories from Susan Hill. This book is a Random House publication. This is a September 2013 release. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The first story is about a rare and antique book dealer that takes a wrong turn. He sees a white house with what had once been beautiful gardens. He knows it's unlikely anyone lives there, but he approached the house hoping someone could give him directions. I
Ray Palen
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
No one quite writes good old fashioned style British ghost stories like Susan Hill. It is a pleasure to read her work --- the most famous being THE WOMAN IN BLACK --- and I cannot praise her enough for keeping this style of writing alive.

Her latest effort features two short novellas each with similar themes. THE SMALL HAND finds an antiquarian book-seller being drawn to an abandoned home where he gets the feeling of a small child's hand entering into his own. He becomes obsessed with this feelin
Rebecca McNutt
These two chilling horror stories are both amazing, each one focusing on the paranormal and each one really imaginative and original.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Both of the short novels in this volume were beautifully atmospheric in a way that calls Shirley Jackson to mind. A must read for fans of ghost stories and modern gothic.
David Caldwell
I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads.

This is actually two short novels. Both are horror stories, but not the type of horror stories that are so common now. There are no hordes of zombies or vampires. There is no clown with a mouthful of razor sharp teeth and a chainsaw wanting to hack the characters into bloody bits. In fact, there is no blood (well at least in The Small Hand, I haven't read Dolly yet). But there is plenty of suspense and creepiness. It isn't the terror of the trapdoor and that
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-fic, brit-lit
With Halloween fast approaching, this is a quite timely release of two spooky novellas from Hill. I read her mystery series just last year and though I enjoyed some installments more than others, all clearly display Hill’s talents with words and atmospheres. And this collection shares this same extent of her talents.

The first story starts off as a sort of traditional ghost story - complete with a decrepit, crumbling manor and some downright treacherous vibes. And in under 150 pages, the plot man
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book took me back some fifty years to the time I fell in love with books..Hill brought back memories of some of the great writers. There were two ghost stories in this book and both were so well crafted and masterfully done...The Small Hand tells of a book seller taking a wrong turn and comes across a run-downed Edwardian house. Looking for help he knocks at the door when he feels the sensation of a small hand slide into his...Dolly is a story about Edward and his cousin Leonora. Edward an ...more
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic
I have loved Susan Hill ever since I read A Woman in Black. While these were not my favorite of her stories they were still pretty good. The first story was about a man who feels a small hand in his constantly tugging towards water. The descriptions of the decaying garden and it's house were wonderful. When Adam finally visits the house and meets it's inhabitant the creepy factor was at a ten. The second story was about two cousins who visit their aunt one summer. The girl, Leonora is given a do ...more
April robinson
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Already finished the first story in this 2 story story book. I was surprised at the ending, can't wait to finish Dolly...starting out great so far !! :}
ok finished the 2nd story in this book, it's called Dolly and this is a scary was actually good. I liked it very much it is a very easy read and not very big.
David Marshall
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
The are two novellas in the classic British tradition of ghosts associated with old houses. They are both elegant and ingenious in balancing the realistic against the possibility of the supernatural. I strongly recommend them.
My favorite kind of horror--creepy, a heavy hand with atmosphere and setting, a "slow burn" style of disturbing revelations and scares, British setting (especially the fens), and a just-right balance of character development that is detailed enough to enable you to care about the main characters but not so deeply attached that you cannot handle the horrors that befall them.

I absolutely <3 <3 <3 love love love this author's style.

Most positive reviews I found of this book praised "Doll
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
The timbre of these stories is wonderful and eerily chilling and exciting all at once. The Small Hand was quite satisfying as a haunting story, but Dolly was, though equally well written, not quite so.
Sylvia Dugan
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read the first of the two novellas in this book. It was interesting, but seemed to drag on quite a bit. I felt the climax was easy to see coming midway in the story.

I started the second story, Dolly, and decided it wasn't very interesting, so stopped.
Rachelle Kirby
I know this is a fairly beloved gothic horror novella, but I feel kind of luke warm about it. The small hand was a little slow moving for me. Dolly was pretty good though.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointing to me
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Both novellas were creep creep creepy! Enjoyed both.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nice psychological horror. Two stories, diverse, nice.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Deliciously creepy and atmospheric. I wanted a little more out of the ending of the second story, but I really enjoyed both of these.
Ashley  Marie
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was good I really love spooky stories :)
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you're in the mood for subtle creepiness, you might enjoy these old-fashioned (yet set in the present) ghost stories.
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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