Susan's Reviews > The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
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's review
Jul 23, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: family-relationships, fiction, friendship, gothic-fiction, historical-fiction, library-books, paranormal, read-in-2009, reading-challenges
Read in September, 2009

The Little Stranger is a delightfully creepy Gothic tale of the first order. Set in the dreary English countryside after WWII, this is the story of Hundreds Hall, a once great estate decomposing around it's occupants, the Ayres family. Dr. Faraday first visited Hundreds Hall when he was just 10 years old in 1919. Returning to the house after thirty years, he is shocked at the decline and decay of the mansion. Faraday has been called upon to treat the Ayres' young maid, and becomes a bit obsessed with the family over time: Mrs. Ayres, the matriarch of the family, and a woman desperately clinging to the past; Caroline, the eldest daughter and town "spinster;" and Roderick, the son, damaged while serving his country during the war.

Disturbing things begin to happen at Hundreds Hall after Dr. Faraday begins treating Roderick with electrical currents to help with his limp. Things are going bump in the night - Caroline's sweet old dog Gyp violently and without any provocation, attacks a house guest and has to be put to sleep, and Roderick begins behaving really strangely, seeing and hearing things that cannot possibly be there (or can they?) And that's just the beginning of this well-written, beautifully crafted story.

The Little Stranger is my first Sarah Waters book, and I really enjoyed it. I have heard it compared to some of my favorite classic Gothic literature: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The Little Stranger is definitely in the same league as these esteemed novels. Sarah Waters has crafted a spine-chilling, magnificent tale of terror. My advice to you, is to read The Little Stranger only by light of day. Pay no attention to that shadow moving in the corner, or the noise just behind your chair. I'm sure it's nothing...
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Susan Thanks Danielle :) It was an interesting read.

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