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This House is Haunted

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  9,620 ratings  ·  1,549 reviews
Written in Dickensian prose, This House Is Haunted is a striking homage to the classic nineteenth-century ghost story. Set in Norfolk in 1867, Eliza Caine responds to an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall. When she arrives at the hall, shaken by an unsettling disturbance that occurred during her travels, she is greeted by the two children now in her care, Isabella and Eu ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Other Press (first published 2013)
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Jeri I know exactly what you mean, Karen, and I agree - I can't fully decide that either. I felt Eliza sounded and acted more like a mature woman of…moreI know exactly what you mean, Karen, and I agree - I can't fully decide that either. I felt Eliza sounded and acted more like a mature woman of middling years than the young woman she is supposed to be.(less)
Catherine I thought it was scary. I have also read Turn of the Screw. I personally think this book is slightly more creepy. Worth reading if you enjoyed Turn of…moreI thought it was scary. I have also read Turn of the Screw. I personally think this book is slightly more creepy. Worth reading if you enjoyed Turn of the Screw.(less)

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Delee
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.

1867 London:

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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.

1867 London:

 photo a76ddeb2-95cd-4559-b89f-74387b482faf_zpsiwfvkpdn.jpg

After the loss of her father- 21-year-old, plain Jane Eliza Caine- accepts the position of governess at Gaudlin Hall, in Norfolk.

 photo 8994b492-93bc-408d-bab7-5df60464fdea_zpsdhnws2rc.jpg

...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.

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Where are the children's parents??...and why will no one tell her what is going on?

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Confused young heroine.
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Eerie old mansion.
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Lots-o-foggy nights.
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Sinister staff.
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Creepy children.
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Angry ghost.
 photo 64c59704-f66c-4029-a55c-8dec8a747ad2_zpssqs9urkm.png

...all the boxes are ticked- to make THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED an enjoyable tale, for ghost lovin' readers, in the coming cold weather months.
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Blair
What do you get if you mix Rebecca and The Turn of the Screw with a dash of Jane Eyre and a pinch of Dickens? The answer is This House is Haunted, a gloriously gothic confection revolving around - you'll never guess - a haunted house. This actually IS a haunted house too, not some metaphorical type of haunting, although there's also an element of humour to the proceedings, which serves to set this story apart from the many historical ghost stories it could be compared to.

In 1867, a young woman, Eliza Caine,
...more
karen
this book is available for spooky month!

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:

this book is available for spooky month!

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:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

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.

humbled, bowing...

come to my blog!
...more
Amalia Gavea
''Where are you?''
''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
Beverly
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first book by John Boyne, one of the most treasured authors on Goodreads, This House is Haunted did not disappoint. A Victorian era ghost story, this novel tells the oft told tale of a governess who because of the death of her only living relative, her beloved father, must go out into the world and seek her living. Unlike the heroines of most of these stories though, Eliza Caine had a loving home and is a skilled teacher before she begins her adventure. She is tenacious, smart and loyal to he ...more
B the BookAddict
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-hist
“I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father”

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
Lisa
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**No update required on 2nd reading - 5+stars - just a fab ghost story with a brilliant protagonist**

Original review:-
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
Dem
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dem by: Lisa
Shelves: favorites
In my opinion John Boyne is one of Ireland's most versertile writters. I am rarly dispappointed when I pick up this author's novels and This House Is Haunted was a haunting and very satisfying read.

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
Char
This was a haunted house story so Dickensian in style, Dickens himself is a catalyst within. I listened to the audio version, narrated by Alison Larkin.
 
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
Shaun
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Really, NPR ... one of the best books of 2013? Ugh!

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
Candi
"What if a soul departs this life but is neither in heaven nor hell? What if they remain?"

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
Chris
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 19th century gothic, ghostly Dickensonian read.

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
Elaine
May 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A quick glance at my GoodReads will confirm that I don't often give poor reviews. But this book deserves one. Despite this, I implore you to read it, for it is a book so bad it has to be read to be believed. From the beginning, with it's picture-perfect ghostly atmosphere, this book is more pomp than plot, and entirely fur coat and no knickers. Eliza Caine is painted as the ugly girl with the big heart. Or at least she was supposed to be. Her entire character falls as flat as John Boyne's attemp ...more
Laura
4.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this ghost story. It was exactly what I was looking for: atmospheric, British, well-written, and as believable as books of this genre can be. It wasn't too predictable and there was even a bit of a "gotcha" ending. It loses half a star because the writing wasn't as stellar as I think books with a five star rating should be, and it was a bit predictable in places. But overall, it gave me what I was expecting, which is what it's all about, for me. I enjoyed it, and ...more
Carol
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ok, I'm happy....finally a good old-fashioned nineteenth century ghost story!

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!

Janet Doolaege
I had been looking forward to reading this book, as I love a good ghost story, particularly those by M.R. James. I’d read a favourable short review and the cover looked intriguing.

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
Diane S ☔
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although a haunted house with a governess and two young children is nothing new, this is a wonderful read for October. The atmosphere is just scary enough, the back story all the authors own with a few unique touches. A very young governess named Eliza Caine who is just wonderful. Two children, a girl and boy, though it was the young boy that I loved. A big old house with many secrets within and without and of course a mystery to solve. Who is haunting this house and why? The pace is quick and t ...more
Stepheny
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-great-escape


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
Julie
This House is Haunted by John Boyne is a 2013 release, published by Doubleday.
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
Latasha
A nice ghost story

This is a nice old fashioned ghost story. We don't get many like this anymore. Good story, well written and likable characters.
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
Well that one ticked every single box.
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 ;-)
Patrice Hoffman
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This house is clearly haunted. So why stay there in this haunted, decaying, country estate? For the sake of a good story, that’s why. 21 year-old Eliza Caine is left parentless, optionless, and eventually homeless when coming across an ad in the newspaper for employment as a governess. Her grief for losing her father, of which she blames on Charles Dickens, motivates her to leave work as a school teacher in hopes of finding a new beginning in Norfolk. She just didn’t anticipate her new beginning ...more
Rachel
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish, horror, 2018, own, gothic
This House is Haunted is essentially a love letter to Victorian and Gothic literature - it's like if you put The Turn of the Screw, Jane Eyre, and the complete works of Charles Dickens into a blender, with an occasionally tongue in cheek contemporary spin. It's also a reminder of why John Boyne is one of my favorite authors; there's such a compulsively readable quality to his prose, where it's witty and compelling and tense all at once.

I feel like a very common pitfall of the ghost story horror genre
...more
Bettie
Description: 1867. On a dark and chilling night Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

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
Kaora
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been in the mood for a good ghost story for quite some time.

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
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Victorian ghost fans
Recommended to Ivonne by: Amazon Kindle Daily Deal
At the death of her father, plump, plain Eliza Caine at 21 finds herself in the common situation of 19th century English girls of good breeding but little money. With no real skills, Eliza’s only prospects are marriage or teaching. Earning little at a day school, Eliza thinks her prayers have been answered when she secures a better position as governess to two children in Norfolk.

Yet, almost immediately, Eliza begins to reconsider. She nearly suffers a fatal accident en route to her
...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
3 stars for this pleasant but not particularly scary tale of Eliza Kane who takes up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall following the death of her father.

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
Susan
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliza Caine is a young woman, who lives in London with her father. He works in a museum and she teaches in a school for girls; their lives uneventful but happy. However, when her father dies suddenly, Eliza decides on impulse to answer a newspaper advertisement for a governess in Norfolk. To her surprise, she is offered the post with what seems great haste and, almost before she has time to consider, she is on a train and leaving her old life behind. However, on arrival at the fog shrouded stati ...more
Rane

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
Nancy Oakes
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghostly-tales
How's this for perfect timing? The American release of this book is just around the corner, just in time for Halloween. My thanks to Other Press for an ARC of this book, although I had actually preordered my own copy some time back.

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
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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  

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6,324 followers
John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.

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
“There is cruelty in the world Eliza, you can see that, can't you?
It surrounds us. It breathes on us. We spend our life trying to escape it.”
11 likes
“You are not there, Father,” I cried. “I wake up at Gaudlin Hall, I spend most of my day there, I sleep there at night. And throughout it all there is but one thought running through my mind.”
“And that is?”
“This house is haunted.”
3 likes
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