A wonderfully creepy story, which has arrived just in time for Halloween, Susan Hill's latest novella 'Dolly' is set in the damp and desolate landscape of the English Fens. Orphan Edward Caley, a small, anxious and polite young boy is sent to spend part of the summer holidays with his elderly spinster Aunt Kestrel, in her large, decaying home, Iyot House. Arriving shortly after Edward is his cousin, Leonora, a striking red-haired, spoilt and wilful young girl, who is determined to get her own way regardless of the consequences. Thrown together in desolate surroundings, Edward enters into a uneasy alliance with his cousin, but when Leonora's birthday wish for a beautiful Indian doll is not fulfilled, the rage she unleashes is so fierce and shocking, that it has an unsettling effect on poor Edward for years afterwards. Many years later when Leonora and Edward are the only surviving members of their family, they both return to Iyot Lock for the reading of a will, and it is only now that the frightening consequences of Leonora's act of fury really begin to haunt them...
Very atmospheric, with some wonderful descriptions of landscape and setting, this competently crafted story makes for an absorbing, creepy and unsettling read. One to be read and enjoyed on a chilly evening in front of the fire, while the shivers run up and down your spine.
Note: This is a very slim novel containing 153 pages - so easily readable in one sitting.