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The Small Hand

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  4,910 ratings  ·  602 reviews
Returning home from a visit to a client late one summer's evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow takes a wrong turning and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiosity, he approaches the door, and, standing before the entrance feels the unmistakable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, 'as if a child had taken hold of it'.

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Hardcover, 167 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Profile Books (first published 2010)
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Holly 'The Small Hand and Dolly' is a collection of two Susan Hill stories: 'Dolly' and 'The Small Hand'. You can buy both stories separately as well.…more'The Small Hand and Dolly' is a collection of two Susan Hill stories: 'Dolly' and 'The Small Hand'. You can buy both stories separately as well. They're two different stories, though! I hope that answers your question.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,910 ratings  ·  602 reviews


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Krystal
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, owned
Creepy, but average.

I mean, if I stop and think about that little hand ... *shudder* There's just something special about evil kids, even if they are ghost kids.

But there was a relative lack of creepy occurrences, and the chill factor was slightly underwhelming. I'd probably appreciate this story more as an episode of Supernatural. Get some sass into this ghost story.

It's got some lovely descriptions but it never really builds a haunting atmosphere because he's always moving. TBH I was probably
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Ian Kirkpatrick
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having recently re-read The Woman in Black I decided to read Susan Hill’s most recent ghost story “The Small Hand”. I wanted to try and review it without giving the ending away as I felt that this would spoil a truly wonderful piece of traditional storytelling.

Hill’s gentle nod to M R James is not just in the structure of this slight tale, but also in the emotionally barren life of her central protagonist, who is a dealer in antiquarian books.

The plot structure is straightforward and uncomplicat
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Obsidian
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I am annoyed that I didn't just wait for this via the library, but since my house is empty of furniture and my bookshelves are wrapped up, I don't want to have a pile of books just sitting around from the library. "The Small Hand" starts off very well and then flounders from there to a very disappointing and confusing ending. I was left with way more questions than answers and kept trying to see if any reviewers had any insight into this book. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any ...more
James
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another great Gothic ghost story from Susan Hill - great narrative and genuinely creepy as you would expect. Susan Hill on fine form.
Sandy
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Susan Hill's first ghost novel, 1983's "The Woman in Black," had recently surprised this reader by being one of the scariest modern-day horror outings that I've run across in years. Thus, I decided to see if lightning could possibly strike twice, and picked up her more-recent "The Small Hand" (2010). This latter title is the fourth of Ms. Hill's five ghost novels to date, following "The Mist in the Mirror" (1992) and "The Man in the Picture" (2007), and preceding her recent "Dolly" (2012). "The ...more
Rose
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews, horror
An interesting and well written book
Abbie | ab_reads
Whenever I want a quick dose of spine-chilling goodness, I turn to Susan Hill! She has long since cemented herself in my eyes as a professional of the unsettling, and while her books are often short, they always deliver!
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Having said that, The Small Hand is not the best Hill I’ve read. I can’t quite put my finger on what was wrong, it was just lacking a little of the subtlety and menacing chill of say The Woman in Black or The Man in the Picture.
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I enjoyed the unsettling presence of the White Hou
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Blair
This is the most recent of Susan Hill's ghost stories, and in reading it I have completed the author's quartet of novellas of the supernatural. This one deviates from the previous three in that it's set in something like the present day; though much of the story has a timeless feel, references to a few modern innovations let us know that it's taking place in the modern age (email is mentioned, for example). Other aspects display reassuring similarities to the others, however, with a backdrop of ...more
Mark
May 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Maybe i was spoilt by ' The woman in black ' but this came nowhere close. As a story it was ok but I think it would have worked much better as a short story than a novel. If it had been then it would have been more stark and perhaps would have flowed better. Much of the detail seemed padding, it didn't really contribute to the movement of the plot. Why did we ned to be told about Adam's flights to US or Europe on book business; it served no real purpose? The denoument seemed contrived and I wasn ...more
Sarah
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
There were no actual "scares" in this ghost story, but I got so worked up anticipating one that the tension while I was reading this tiny book was the same as if it was a horror movie and there was creepy music playing. I was speed reading through most of the book, looking for the "scare" that never came. The story kept me guessing as to who the "small hand" belonged to for the whole book, I couldn't work it out until the book revealed it.
Richard
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Straight forward ghost tale, cleany told, but I would go for waters' 'little stranger' over this
Amy (Other Amy)
It was a place which had been left to the air and the weather, the wind, the sun, the rabbits and the birds, left to fall gently, sadly into decay, for stones to crack and paths to be obscured and then to disappear, for windowpanes to let in the rain and birds to nest in the roof. Gradually, it would sink in on itself and then into the earth. How old was this house? A hundred years? In another hundred there would be nothing left of it.

I turned. I could barely see ahead now. Whatever the garden,
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Jaksen
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a short novel, a term I prefer over novellete, novella, novel-ista. Just as I like the term: short story, as it states exactly what is it is, and you needn't go looking for, like, just how many words is that? And do I like reading THAT? IMO I like reading everything, shorts, short-shorts, long, and many thousands of words long...

The review:

A man is haunted by an old house in the countryside of England. It's creepy; it's derelict; it has old, abandoned, but obviously-once-beautiful garde
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Melora
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. Short and quite enjoyable in the "cozy ghost story for a cold, gloomy day" sort of way. I liked the antiquarian book dealer narrator and his "bookish" world, but the story's conclusion was a little disappointing. Abrupt. It was actually pretty much what I expected, but no explanation was given for an action that seemed uncharacteristic and seemed to call for a bit more elaboration than was given. Still, I enjoyed the story.
Helen
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cosy supernatural tale, a nice spooky quick read.
steph // bookplaits
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
In three words: moody, chilling, tense.

"'For me, everything is the better when faced. You draw the sting. But you only can make this choice.'"

Challenge: #ColourMeReadChallenge

October is of course the perfect month to read a creepy story or two, and I'm glad that I saved The Small Hand for reading last month (I originally hoped I would be able to post this review in October, but nope...). Thank you to Profile Books / Serpent's Tail for sending me a copy of this gorgeous book!

In this story, the p
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Laura
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft

Adam Snow is a dealer in antiquarian books and travels extensively in search of rare & seemingly unattainable volumes for his clientele. By chance, he finds himself accidentally lost in the English countryside and stumbles upon The White House. The White House is a derelict Edwardian house and the once extensive show garden a wilderness, now lost to time; w
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Emma
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This is my first Susan Hill read and I was eagerly anticipating it. I bought this beautiful, hardback copy in a small charity shop in Tenby at the end of May. I was both surprised and excited to find this tucked away in one of the far corners of the shop, especially as it only cost £1!!! Having finally gotten the chance to read this book, I have fairly mixed emotions about the experience. I have decided to include the book in this list as, on the whole, I enjoyed reading the majority of this sho ...more
Tim
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2010s, reviewed
A fine and delightful read; a modern ghost story told in a classic M. R. James style. The plot follows Adam Snow, an antique book dealer, who takes a wrong turn and ends up at an old manor know as “the White House.” Once famous for an amazing garden, the house has fallen into disrepair (with some beautiful passages about how nature seems to have taken it back). There he feels a small child-like hand grab his own. What follows is his investigation into the hand.

The story is extremely atmospheric,
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Georgina
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. I used to love Susan Hill - rated her as a must read and even wrote her a fan letter once upon a time. I am worried.....
I loathed the one Serrailer book I read - not keen on that genre, but it was the clunkiness of the writing that put me off more. I love a ghost story and I actually gave the gorgeously bound edition as Christmas presents, but have only just got around to reading it myself. After the dark magic of The Woman in Black, and the eternal top-notch spookiness of a child ghost
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Autumn Is Azathoth
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Supernatural devotees, mystery lovers
From the author of The Woman in Black, this is a cosy British mystery/Supernatural to which the reader can settle in like curling into a padded armchair under an afghan in front of a roaring fire on a wintry, snow-filled night. Ms. Hill has such a talent for writing that she conjures literary fiction and makes me love it. This book is totally re-readable (and I will reread it). Unlike The Woman in Black, I’m not racing through this one-instead, I’m savouring it as I would a walk through an exten ...more
Karen
Sep 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a lovely book, inside and out. It's a hardback, but so small - about two thirds the size of a standard paperback and it has a beautiful cover. That's what first drew me in.

It's a proper ghost story, well written with just the right amount of 'scaryness' without being over the top. The plot is really good and a fab ending which didn't leave any unanswered questions.

I would certainly recommend you read this. If you're not into horror, don't worry, neither am I. This book in no way could be cl
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Maria Hill AKA MH Books
This was the second of my "Halloween Reads".

It's a charming little novella telling a classic ghost story. It reminded me of the "true" stories in my first Halloween read Ireland's Haunted Women, in that there are more questions asked in the end than answered. For example was the ghost real or is it imagination/mental illness, if the ghost is real who is s/he, is it something to do with the history of White house? etc. etc.

Worth a read on Halloween, or by an open fire one winter night.

Kath Middleton
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Adam Snow, antiquarian book dealer, is lost and comes upon an abandoned and isolated house. As he stands looking at it, he feels a small hand take his. From this, the story is born.

Susan Hill masterfully evokes an unsettling and creepy atmosphere, not only in the isolated countryside but in Oxford and in a remote monastery. The owner of the small hand haunts him. The link is not what I expected and this short and intense story hit the spot for me.
Margo
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
Good old-fashioned ghost story nicely read by Cameron Stewart.
Paul
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Decent ghost story in the classic style
Berenike
And as I stood I felt a small hand creep into my right one, as if a child had come up beside me in the dimness and taken hold of it. It felt cool and its fingers curled themselves trustingly into my palm and rested there, and the small thumb and forefinger tucked my own thumb between them. As a reflex, I bent it over and we stood for a time which was out of time, my own man's hand and the very small hand held as closely together as the hand of a father and his child. But I am not a father and t
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Karen Barber
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A knowing nod to the Gothic, while nothing too horrific happens.
Antiquarian book dealer Adam Snow takes a wrong turn on his way home one day. He finds himself in the deserted grounds of an abandoned country home, The White House. Snow feels the grip of a small child’s hand in his. He feels calm, and strangely compelled to learn more about the place, but this marks the beginning of a series of strange occurrences.
This is rather short for a novel, but it has a classic ghost story feel. The ending
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Andreea
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised the GR rating for this is rather low. I really liked it.

Quite atmospheric, though not really scary.

It had a good story, a bit of a twist and a likeable main character.

Glad I read it.
Angus McKeogh
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
A knockoff novella reminiscent of Peter Straub’s Ghost Story. Not too shocking, not too scary, and not too surprising. Just okay in my book.
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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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“I walked up the stairs and hesitated at the open door.” 1 likes
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