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The Woman in Black

(The Woman in Black #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  50,527 ratings  ·  5,824 reviews
What real reader does not yearn, somewhere in the recesses of his or her heart, for a really literate, first-class thriller--one that chills the body, but warms the soul with plot, perception, and language at once astute and vivid? In other words, a ghost story written by Jane Austen?

Alas, we cannot give you Austen, but Susan Hill's remarkable Woman In Black comes as close
Paperback, 138 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published October 10th 1983)
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Aaron VanAlstine Well, I don't know about scarier but Shirley Jackson's book The Haunting of Hill House is pretty creepy and atmospheric. Also, her short story The Sum…moreWell, I don't know about scarier but Shirley Jackson's book The Haunting of Hill House is pretty creepy and atmospheric. Also, her short story The Summer People is probably the scariest short story I ever read.(less)
Jingizu Yes, the movie is based on the book although the ending is slightly different.

@ Lewis Szymanski - no, the 2012 movie is NOT a reboot of the TV movie o…more
Yes, the movie is based on the book although the ending is slightly different.

@ Lewis Szymanski - no, the 2012 movie is NOT a reboot of the TV movie of 1989. It is new adaptation of the novel. And frankly, I thought the 2012 movie a lot better than the 1989 one.(less)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  50,527 ratings  ·  5,824 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A man may be accused of cowardice for fleeing away from all manner of physical dangers but when things supernatural, insubstantial and inexplicable threaten not only his safety and well-being but his sanity, his innermost soul, then retreat is not a sign of weakness but the most prudent course.”

 photo woman in black_zps9wfl3zjg.jpeg

The young solicitor sent to Crythin Gifford to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased Mrs. Alice Drablow is a man by the name of Arthur Kipps.The people of Crythin Gifford are like the people o
Bill Kerwin

A disappointment. I kept hearing about how this was a real honest-to-god, old-fashioned ghost story steeped in the tradition of James and James (Henry and Montague Rhodes)that delivered a frisson of genuine terror and some very fine writing as well. Alas! I didn't find any of this to be true.

For starters, I didn't believe the narrator. He is a man in his forties--self-described as "unimaginative"--who years before suffered a scarring supernatural experience, yet he sounds for all the world like
Emily May
Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classics
I said in another review that I'm near impossible to scare because my parents were relaxed with horror movie censorship when I was a young kid. I was oversaturated with horror from a young age and tend to find it more laughable than spine-tingling.

However, this book may be the only exception I have found so far. In recent years I have flat-out avoided horror stories because they do nothing for me... I can stomach Stephen King but only because his books tend to be about more than the basic horror
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, kb, historical
Arthur Kipps (an up-and-coming solicitor) is sent by his employer to Crythin Gifford (a remote village) to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client (the late Mrs. Alice Drablow) of Eel Marsh House. When he gets there he is haunted by the ghost of a woman in black...

This was a very eerie, spooky read. I had a hard time putting this book down, I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. The book had a terrific gothic atmosphere, especially the creepy, very isolated Eel Marsh H
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A chilling, traditional ghost story, with a strong Victorian feel: a lone lawyer goes to a spooky house on the marshes, plagued by stories of madness and death. No great surprises, but shocking none-the-less. It is skilfully written, so that most of the scary stuff happens in your head, rather than being explicit on the page.

Arthur Kipps, the main character and the narrator is very pragmatic and always tries to dismiss his fears and find a rational explanation, which serves to make his
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghosts-horror, culled

Rating Clarification: 2.5 stars.

Disappointing and predictable, this Gothic ghost story isn't a patch on the classics of the genre such as Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. The writing is uneven and the author fails to keep the suspense building often interspersing awkward/boring moments between the tense scenes, which unfortunately were all too few. Part of the problem with the tension was that it was all so predictable I didn't even feel the need to check the ending like I usually do. In othe
After finishing and loving The Silent CompanionsI really wanted to another gothic/period style ghost story to creep me out and when The Woman In Black came up in in my recommendations feed I was excited about the novel after reading the book's blurb.

What I heard next chilled and horrified me....
The noise of the pony trap grew fainter and then stopped abruptly and away on the marsh was a curious draining, sucking, churning sound, which went on, together with the shrill neighing and whinny
A very good ghost story with creepy sounds, a marsh with lots of fog and danger, and a haunting revengeful spirit. I was all set to give this book a strong 3 stars until the last chapter's chilling, horrid surprise ending. Now I can't wait to see the movie with Daniel Radcliffe. This is a GREAT October read! ...more
Nandakishore Varma
You know, what I love about British ghost stories are that they are so understated, like everything else in the country. They don't come bellowing and and dripping gory entrails - they creep upon you, and whisper "boo" almost apologetically in your ear. I think M. R. James started this trend, and all others seem to be following it.

Susan Hill starts her novel, "The Woman in Black", showing Arthur Kipps, an elderly lawyer and the first person narrator, having a quiet Christmas Eve with his family.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-spookening
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
2.5 stars

The story starts with our main protagonist- Arthur Kipps narrating his paranormal experience to his close family and friends.
The start of the book reminded me of The Turn of the Screw as this also starts with a similar narration pattern and both these stories revolve around an isolated house.
But that is where the similarity ends.

The setting of 'Eel Marsh House' is spooky, it is foggy surrounded by marshes and the accessibility to the house is blocked during high tide....

Arthur see's Th
This hardcover book is copy 40 of 300 (Plus 20 copies for contributors) printed and signed by:

Susan Hill
Reggie Oliver - (interior art)
Simon Prades - (cover art)

Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen the movie a few years ago and quite liked it so of course I had to read the novel it was based on. This is a classic gothic novel (though much younger than the original ones).

We start with a now settled lawyer named Arthur Kipps who lives at a nice house with his (second) wife and four stepchildren. One Christmas, they ask him to tell a ghost story. He's quite shaken by their request, shuts himself away and writes down what happened to him many years ago in the hope that this will fina
A quickly read, old-fashioned ghost story that I enjoyed but that also left me wanting...

The setting is a little hard to place, because phones and cars are mentionned, but people travel mostly by train, smoke pipes and live in country estates... Between the two World Wars, perhaps? In this not-quite-modern time, Arthur Kipp, a young sollicitor, is sent to a small country village to represent his firm, who are the estate executor of a Mrs. Drablow, who just passed away. Mr. Kipp attends the funer
Horace Derwent
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
there's never final tears, sadness can last forever, some people we just can never bury even when we're dead

the whole hole in our chest will still remain, when the ocean pours in, it still leaks...

reminiscing can kill, love loves blood

irene, when i remembered you in the mid of some night, i coughed like a dud grenade exploding, i just felt the hole in my chest that wud never be filled. it was not like emptiness which cud be somehow filled, no, it's not like an abyss, it's a barath
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.

I was very disappointed with this book. It's much shorter than I thought it was going to be, for one. That's my fault for not checking to see how many pages it was.
I found the prose to be overly descriptive. I get it, the house is located in a marsh by the sea. I get it that there is fog. I get it that the only road to the house is underwater during high tide. Enough already, where is the woman?
Even when the woman shows up, the story continues to be boring.
I did not fi
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the way this was written and read it quite quickly. It wasn't as scary as I had anticipated - having seen the film adaptation starring Daniel Radcliffe (which I enjoyed) I suppose I couldn't help but compare the two. I actually think I preferred the film just a bit more, but the book was strong. I loved the dog, Spider a lot. She really added something to the story.
The ending was great, though I won't be specific as to why. It hit me quite hard, even though it came with a strong sense
"Indeed, all the horrors and apparitions of my first visit to the house and the marshes had quite evaporated, along with the mists that had for that short time engulfed me".

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

How eager I was to start this book. As some of you are aware, I'd been seeking an eerie and beguiling book to read. Something that would scare without gore. This was recommended by two people and looked, at first glance to be my type of book.

And I disliked it. Deeply. Sorry but..I wasn't scare

I make a habit of not watching the based on movie before reading the propagating book, so the fact that I’m reading not one but two of said unfortunate works (A Clockwork Orange sneaking in during my youth due to college fanboys and the like) is not something I plan on ever happening again. However, it happened, and I will not lie that my expectations have been adjusted accordingly.

While the book is horror, the movie is horror horror horror, tragic past combined with morbidly saturated cine
kwesi 章英狮
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: susan-hill, owned, 2011
Every November we used to play and go in someone's houses and go hunting the ghost that lurks. It seems that I read the book earlier than what I have thought. I can feel the tingle of the cold and smell of the estuary. The dead is coming and hunting me again a little earlier than what I thought.

When Arthur Kipps asked to summon and attend a funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, the inhabitant and owner of Eel Marsh House, secrets and lies behind the four walls of the house went blown through the atmosp
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2018-shelf
In an age (the 80's) when horror was at its peak and ravening monsters of supernatural and human types ravaged the bookstores, Susan Hill decided to write a Victorian ghost story using modern sensibilities but the distinctive flair of the classics.

Since then, it's enjoyed modest popularity and I don't doubt why. It's simple and direct. It tugs at the heartstrings, from sympathy and shared horror to the mystery and even the heartwarming companionship of a plucky dog on the moor during the darkest
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I purchased my copy of The Woman in Black at the gift shop whilst seeing the play in the West End.
It’s was one of them stories that I really should have read by now.

I really liked the structure of the story as the main protagonist Arthur Kipps recounts he’s experience of ghosts whilst working as a junior solicitor.

The secluded house is effective and creepy whilst the reason of the haunting is incredibly chilling.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. A pseudo-Victorian gothic ghost story that has a very un-Victorian length of 140 pages. To be honest, it's not very good. It reminds me of 14 year old me when I started reading things like Dracula, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and thinking 'there's not much to this writing a classic novel business- I should give it a try'. Cue the dull, rational protagonist (lawyer or doctor obviously) who is thrown into some spooky goings-on and slowly becomes undone in such default settings ...more
Kevin Ansbro
I read this a while back: it's a grim, good old-fashioned horror story.

For a much more informative review, please may I redirect you to @Cecily's superb appraisal of this book?
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980s, horror, reviewed
Christmas was once known as a time for ghost stories (and in some places, still is). As we start this one, a family is sitting around the fire trying to one up each other, all save Arthur Kipps who wants nothing to do with ghost stories. We will find that he has a pretty good reason not to enjoy them.

As a young man Kipps was sent on an assignment to attend the funeral of a client and then go through all her papers. Her house is old and filled with paperwork seemingly in every drawer and cabinet
Oct 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
A nicely written, creepy, vengeful ghost story. It took a while to get going, although once the main character narrating the story goes to the scary house things move along. The ending while not unexpected, is satisfying.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have known of this story for some time and I will admit I have wanted to read it even before the film (and now its sequel) but it wasnt until recently that I found the book (dont ask books seem to disappear in to the void that is my collection).

The book itself is incredibly atmospheric - which I think makes up a huge part of the appeal to me. The story itself is excellently told as you would expect from Susan Hill, the plot however if you have read much of gothic horror and ghost stories is p
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A bit of a fun ghost story, complete with a house right out of Poe. "I looked up ahead and saw, as if rising out of the water itself, a tall, gaunt house of gray stone with a slate roof, that now gleamed steelily in the light."

Our narrator first confronts the woman in black in a graveyard. How appropriate is that? The story is Gothic in flavor, reminiscent of The Turn of the Screw, and crammed with cliches that work perfectly. I was surprised by the ending, which doesn't happen all that often. I
✨Bean's Books✨
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great little ghost story. A short read but rather suspenseful and written in a Victorian style, this book packs quite a punch for how small it is. I really enjoyed reading this one. The ending however was so very sad and ended rather abruptly. Other than that it was a very enjoyable read.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BR with my friend Sophie!

This is considered to be a classic ghost story, and rightfully so; I found it to be genuinely creepy, and it definitely did not end the way I’d anticipated.

Susan Hill writes in an atmospheric prose style which feels like an homage to the Victorian and Edwardian eras of ghost stories. In fact, one of the chapter titles (“Whistle and I’ll Come to You”) appears to be a nod to a similarly-named story by M.R. James.

It’s a short book, but I think that works to its benefit. An
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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

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Articles featuring this book

For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
184 likes · 63 comments
“For I see that then I was still all in a state of innocence, but that innocence, once lost, is lost forever.” 46 likes
“A man may be accused of cowardice for fleeing away from all manner of physical dangers but when things supernatural, insubstantial and inexplicable threaten not only his safety and well-being but his sanity, his innermost soul, then retreat is not a sign of weakness but the most prudent course.” 25 likes
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