This House is Haunted
After the loss of her father- 21-year-old, plain Jane Eliza Caine- accepts the position of governess at Gaudlin Hall, in Norfolk.
There is something about fall and winter that puts me in the mood to read spooky books- I soooooooooo love cuddling up with a good ghost....story.
After the loss of her father- 21-year-old, plain Jane Eliza Caine- accepts the position of governess at Gaudlin Hall, in Norfolk.
...but no one is there to greet her upon her arrival- which seems rather strange to Eliza. The next morning her creepy little wards- the Westerly children- Isabella-12 and Eustace-8, are present and accounted for...but still no adults to be found anywhere- and and this goes on for days and days.
Where are the children's parents??...and why will no one tell her what is going on?
Confused young heroine.
Eerie old mansion.
...all the boxes are ticked- to make THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED an enjoyable tale, for ghost lovin' readers, in the coming cold weather months. ...more
In 1867, a young woman, Eliza Caine, ...more
pssst - spoiler alert - THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED!!
i made the mistake of reading blair's review of this before trying to write my own. one, it is much better than anything i could attempt and two, she saw something in this book that i did not and it has kind of clouded my impressions and judgments of the book and made me think that maybe i missed the point.
here is a link to hers so you can read how it should be done:
until i read hers, to my mind this was a perfectly serviceable gothic horror novel. the plot is the same as about 900 other books in this vein - a plain girl who is alone in the world takes a position as a governess in an unfamiliar place and finds herself in a big crumbling house full of secrets in a town full of people who seem quite inclined to gossip, just not with her. they stare at her with expressions both pitying and frightened, and always seem to be on the verge of revealing the truuuuth. the children she is meant to be watching (although she seems to leave them alone in the house quite a lot while she goes off on her attempts at fact-finding missions and such) are well-behaved but unusual with their knowing smirks and haunted eyes. naturally, the children's parents are not present, for reasons no one seems willing to divulge. and what happened to the five previous governesses within the year before she arrived is just as mysterious. she begins to experience strange circumstances in the house which frequently imperil her and begins to think, you got it, "this house is haunted!". this is gothic lit 101.
i thought it was very typical and traditional, reminiscent of and referential to both jane eyre and turn of the screw. the characters trot out all the expected behaviors you find in the gothic novel genre: in-the-know characters who cut off their sentences right before they reveal too much, as though alarmed to find themselves speaking at all and the governess whose response to this is "well, guess i just won't ask any more questions right now, lalala!"
all the props of the classic gothic are also lined up for inspection: secrets in the attic, multiple mysterious deaths, a cranky caretaker, ominous and escalating accidents which befall characters, secret passageways, dropped teacups, figures seen in windows who vanish without a trace, paling as a response to upsetting turns of conversation, spooky old-beyond their years children spouting ominous proclamations, and big closing sequences.
the outcome's pretty predictable but the book is well-written enough to still be enjoyable even without the suspense you would likely feel if you had never read one of these before. i myself have read far too many to be surprised, but i thought it was a fine light entertainment.
but now - NOW - blair is making me rethink everything. she read this as a tongue-in-cheek treatment of the very conventions i am calling textbook and perfunctory. i think that is a very interesting reading of this book, and it really gives me pause, and her review makes me appreciate the book more. if that's what he was doing, though, it wasn't obvious enough.you really gotta call attention to it to make that joke work. because if that was indeed his intention, then blair's the only one who got it. after reading her review, i decided to see if i was stupid, or if blair was a genius, and none of the other reviews i found, professional or regular-reader, interpreted this as a humorous send-up to the genre.
BUT IT IS SO MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU READ IT THAT WAY!!
because i did notice the comical number of times she called herself plain and and the light fantasies she entertained about the menfolk she encountered, but i wrote that off as a side effect of having been fairly sheltered and without prospects.
and i thought this was actually inconsistent with the way her character handled herself in the other, spookier situations. someone with that much of a romantic turn of mind seems unlikely to be so unimaginative when confronted with the spooky goings-on in the house, and so slow to put things together, so willing to shrug it off and continue as though nothing is amiss. which is, in itself, another convention of the genre. but as a humorous jab-at-genre, it works. and there are other situations miss blair pointed out where this reading holds up and makes the book more original and worthy. i kind of wish i had read this with blair's eyes.
so, again - blair is a genius and knows how to read books so they are way better than when i read them my ownself.
come to my blog! ...more
''But answer came there none.''
Eliza Caine may have found the answer to her question at some point, but unfortunately, I never found mine as to why I was expecting so much from this ‘’ghost’’ story...A story that tried too hard to include many Gothic tropes, to appear scary and intellectual at the same time, but eventually fell flat on all levels, in my opinion. But for the sympathetic protagonist, the intriguing children and some scarce glimpses of a remotely creepy atmosphe ...more
So begins John Boyne's gothic tale of a young woman, Eliza Crane, suddenly alone in mid 1800s London. Orphaned at twenty-one, and forced to leave home, she answers a rather cryptic advertisement for a governess position in a mansion, Gaudlin Hall, in Norfolk.
A brooding house, a series of mishaps, unanswered queries and the non-appearance of the parents make for a puzzling arrival for Eliza, not to mention the two sweet but precocious chi ...more
This is what I would call a good old traditional ghost story;
Large austere house - check
Tragic circumstances - check
Moody weather - check
Frightening children - check
Mystery surrounding what the hell is happening here - check
And it is brilliantly done!
I absolutely LOVE the main character Eliza Caine who has a ...more
What makes a good Ghost stroy? For me it has to be set in Victorian times, with an isolated country manor and unexplainable happenings and you have my interest.
This house is haunted is set in Norfolk in a country house called Gaudin Hall. Eliza Canine arrives to take up her ...more
I enjoyed this story of Eliza Caine attempting to fulfill her position as governess to two children, in a house almost falling down due to disrepair. How she got there and her attempt to keep the children safe I will leave for you to discover.
I liked the style of the storytelling and I enjoyed the character of Eliza, tho ...more
This House is Haunted is absolutely, positively, irrefutably NOT one of the best books of 2013, and the fact that it made NPR's list disappoints me.
Attempting to write in Dickensian prose, John Boyne has indeed penned a ghost story, only it isn't an especially good one.
First and foremost, the main character Eliza Caine, a twenty-one-year old teacher who applies for a position as governess following the loss of her father (/>This ...more
This was a fantastic, old-fashioned ghost story - it was just the ticket for a mid-October read to get me in the spirit of Halloween! John Boyne effectively created a very eerie, atmospheric setting for this book which takes place in England during the year 1867. The prose is quite tantalizing and drew me right into the story. I actually pictured each scene as if it were occurring in front of me on the big ...more
The cover of the book I got from the library was quite sinister looking so that lured me in.
Eliza Caine is our main character. She is a very young, innocent teacher at an all girls school. Her mother and her sister passed on early in her life; Eliza has no friends, no relatives other than her dearest Father. It is when her Father passes and her grief is consuming, she sees an advertisement for a governess for two children. Deciding to make a fre ...more
How would you like to attend a book reading by DICKENS himself telling a spooky tale? That is how this novel begins, and continues along in an unsettling manner for the new governess of Gaudlin Hall. For Eliza Caine, the secrets of the past are slowly uncovered, but "the presence" in the old house reveals itself from day one and becomes increasingly violent as the story evolves.
Not super scary, but still creepy good with a great ending!
What a disappointment. The story is sadly lacking in originality, with Charlotte Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James all showing through its flimsy surface. It starts promisingly but then lapses into gothic cliché, with the heroine being offered a post as a governess at creepy Gaudlin Hall in the wil ...more
John Boyne’s novel, This House is Haunted is an eerie tale set in London. The story takes place in the mid 1800’s and centers around Gaudlin Hall.
Our main character, Eliza Caine, has recently lost her father and takes a position as the governess for the Westerly children. From the moment Eliza arrives at the train station things start to happen that make her question her hasty decision to take on this new job.
When Eliza mentions in passing that she will be taking up residence as the ...more
I received a copy of the book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
When Eliza's father passes away, she needs to get away from the city and start fresh. This impulsive decisions leads her to accept a governess position in the country. Upon arrival at the crumbling home, Eliza is shocked to discover the two children are not being supervised. Their parents are not there and the o ...more
This is a nice old fashioned ghost story. We don't get many like this anymore. Good story, well written and likable characters.
Spooky, historical fiction. Simple story line, none of this to-ing and fro-ing that can sometimes get a bit tedious. Ghosts, eerie children, old mansion and posh talk of the era, how fabulous ;-)
I feel like a very common pitfall of the ghost story horror genre ...more
It is the start of a journey into a world of abandoned children, unexplained occurrences and terrifying experiences which Eliza will have to overcome if she is to survive the secrets th ...more
Unfortunately while this was okay, it wasn't a great book.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a great job of doing the voices. I think I enjoyed it more because of her.
That being said I felt a little like the author spoon-fed me a bit. For example, he hammers home the coldness of the tap water, mentioning it twice in a few chapters. I thought it odd at first, but then when he uses ...more
Yet, almost immediately, Eliza begins to reconsider. She nearly suffers a fatal accident en route to her ...more
After surviving a near death experience at the train station, and having been saved by the local Doctor, Eliza finds the children alone - no parents, no servants, no governess, and the children will not explain.
Eliza soon learns that she is the fifth governess in six months, all but one of them having met an untimely end. An ...more
Being the time of year for a nice cozy spooky read. I was happy to have come across a nice Victorian ghost story and with the title alone being a complete spoiler I hoped for a nice read.
This book is pretty standard Gothic novel from a haunted house, scary kids, and a poor overworked underpaid governess stuck cleaning up the whole mess.
Proving once again that the work of a governess is a.) never done b.) sucked royally and c.) needs better health and life insurance
In Eliza Caine's case aft ...more
This House is Haunted incorporates a number of my favorite components, including a Victorian setting, a governess, an English country home, and of course, a ghost that has the run of the house and goes around scaring people half to death or worse. As in many well-written gh ...more
|Goodreads Ireland: Q4 2018 QIR: This House is Haunted Discussion Thread||7||15||Nov 25, 2018 03:45AM|
|Question About Ending (spoilers)?||2||37||Mar 31, 2018 02:18PM|
|Amor y letras : The Enchanted House||21||23||Apr 07, 2017 12:20PM|
|Horror Reading Ch...: September 2016 Group Read: This House is Haunted||11||20||Oct 11, 2016 08:33AM|
|Around the Year i...: This House is Haunted, by John Boyne||1||19||Jan 19, 2016 09:26PM|
|The Readers: YWTB #8 - John Boyne||1||31||Aug 12, 2013 05:47AM|
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.
John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of ...more
It surrounds us. It breathes on us. We spend our life trying to escape it.”
“And that is?”
“This house is haunted.”