I am a big fan of the Woman in Black, in whatever form: Book; Play; Film; or, misbegotten ITV TV drama. However, I am less impressed with this attempt to produce a sequel to the Woman in Black. My principle complaint (after asking 'why would someone feel the need to do this, other than to earn some money, and the blame I place for this is Hammer, who are producing a film of this book) is that it in no way corresponds to the original story. I don't mean this in content, but rather in style. The book was subtle, insidious and took a long time to develop, the sequel is full of cheap (and frankly unnecessary) contrived situations for the Woman to appear in - billeting a school of disturbed evacuee children in Eel Marsh House lacks subtly and tells us exactly what kind of story we should expect, something the original doesn't. It reads like a book that is intended to be a film, with short/ pithy chapters and endless, sudden scares. (If you've seen the film version of the original then you'll know what I am talking about).
Whereas the original was nasty: there was a developing sense of dread, leading to a cruel and vicious denouement, taking us back to the original and leaving us feeling vulnerable, in this there is no layering of dread, no development of the fear. It's more like a punch to the face, repeated ad nauseum until the conclusion. There is an attempted shock at the end, but it's expected and not particularly shocking. One doesn't come away feeling haunted or threatened (the feeling I get from the ending of the original) more disturbed that such an opportunity was missed.
Some novels are classics and should be left alone. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is one such classic. This book should have been left in the mind of the author. Unfortunately Hammer want to produce a sequel to their film version of the The Woman in Black and thus art is sacrificed on the altar of capital.