Tag Archives: the woman in black

Dolly by Susan Hill

Dolly by Susan Hill

Set in the dank dark landscape of the English fens, orphan Edward Cayley is sent to spend the summer with his Aunt Kestrel, whom he has never met. With him is his spoilt and spiteful cousin Leonora, also visiting for the summer. After Leonora’s birthday wish for a beautiful Indian doll is not fulfilled, the furious rage she unleashes unsettles Edward and haunts him for many years to come. Years later when Edward and Leonora are the only surviving members of the family, he returns to the the fens, and discovers the frightening consequences of Leonora’s actions, which are inescapable…

‘In the distance he heard the sound of paper rustling and the muffled crying of Dolly, buried beneath the earth.’

The problem with reading ghost stories by Susan Hill, is that her fans expect it to be as good (if not better) than The Woman in Black. While I will say this one isn’t quite as frightening, I also don’t think they’re particularly comparable. Dolly is quite a short story, only 153 pages long, but it feels a lot shorter. The majority of the book is leading up to the terrifying consequences of Leonora’s actions, which means that 80% of the story is spent on the edge of your seat waiting…

‘The grasses whisper, the wind moves among the gravestones. And somewhere just about here, by the low wall, another sound, not like the grass but like paper rustling. But there is no paper.’

What I liked the most, were her brilliant descriptions of the English fens, and the old gothic decaying house. Her writing style is such that you could read any of her books and be happy just reading her atmospheric writing, even if the story isn’t perfect. I would however highly recommend Dolly – it is a short but intriguing ghost story, great for reading in front of the fire on a winter’s evening. Just don’t expect it to be the next Woman in Black.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

‘The dread came from nowhere. Without warning, my flesh began to crawl. I felt the hairs on my scalp prickle and rise. I couldn’t see anything except the bear post and its cairn of stones, but my body braced itself. It knew.’

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Dark Matter is a deeply chilling ghost story.

Jack Miller is living a lonely life in London (1937), so when four other young men offer him the chance to be the wireless operator on an expedition to the Arctic, he jumps at the opportunity. They travel to the remote desolate landscape of Gruhuken, isolated from the rest of the world.
Slowly strange misfortunes begin to arise, and one by one Jack’s companions are forced to leave. Despite the warnings from people across the shore, Jack continues the doomed expedition. As the polar night descends, Jack must face months of darkness, all by himself…or is he?

I’ve always thought Michelle Paver is exceptionally talented when it comes to telling a story. Her descriptions are fantastic, and in Dark Matter, they are beautiful but also deeply haunting.
It’s not a gory horror story, it’s much more a psychological frightening tale of isolation, depression, and ghosts. The stark backdrop of the eerie landscape coupled with Jack’s complete isolation really sets the scene for a tale full of suspense, which she keeps up very well throughout the entire novel. It’s not a long novel, but it’s an effective one. It reminded me of a cross between The Woman in Black and Frankenstein, and if you are a fan of either of those books, you will love this one.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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