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101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A proper, traditional sort of ghost story
A few weeks ago, The Woman in Black was read, in half-hour instalments over the course of a several midnights, on BBC Digital Radio 7. I was hooked and didn't even investigate what I might be missing on the telly. As soon the reading was completed, I bought the book and was surprised to discover how modern it is - first published in 1983. It's like a real, traditional...
Published on 10 Jun. 2006 by T. Bobley

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and slow
As a great fan of horror / ghost stories, I was keen to read this book, especially since the cover is full of reviewers' exclamations about how amazing it is. It is well written and the story makes sense. Formally, it is indeed a a good book where all the pieces fit together, the characters don't behave irrationally, it has a beginning and an end... That's probably why...
Published on 5 Mar. 2012 by Michaela Drizhalova


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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You won't walk about at home in the dark ever again!, 27 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Woman In Black (Paperback)
I read the book first a few years ago and it truely made the hairs on my arms stand on end. The incident when all the lights in the house at Eel Marsh have gone out and the narrator realises the "woman in black" has just walked past him in the dark, has to be the one of the most spine tingling pieces of literature I have ever read. Even to this day I won't get up in the night without putting a light on !
The TV adaptation was disappointing after the story. I went to see the play in London twice, which was excellent and made me jump even though I knew what was going to happen!
This book is in a league of it's own and a definite read if you love ghost stories and don't mind being scared senseless. You just can't help thinking "why doesn't he get the hell out of that house?"!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great recording of a classic spine-chiller., 13 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
A really excellent recording of a classic ghost story. Paul Ansdell reads this chilling novel extremely well, the mounting suspense slowly building throughout. It's worth listening to even if you've already read the book, or seen the play, and a must if you haven't!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's all the fuss about?, 25 Feb. 2012
Having read all the hype about the new film I thought I'd read the book before going to see it and to be honest i was a little disappointed. From reading other reviews I was expecting it to be quite scary but for me it never really seemed to get going and the 'scary' bits were mediocre at best. I've not read any other Susan Hill books so don't know what her normal style is but I also found the story clichéd with nothing that makes it stand out from any other run of the mill ghost story. The book may have benefitted from being longer so that the tension could have been built up a little more (I thought Arthur may have actually spent more time in the house!) and the ending wasn't that unexpected considering he'd already mentioned at the beginning that he was widowed. Overall, a bit boring and maybe for the first time (in my experience) the film may be better than the book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More creepy than scary, but a good read!, 22 Jan. 2012
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I purchased this book after seeing it was being made into a film coming out soon - and I like to read books before seeing the film. The story is of an older man remembering the terrible experience he had as a young lawyer regarding 'the woman in black' vowing that his story will not be read by his family until after his death. I'm not a particularly quick reader but I finished it in 3-4 hours, at night and I absolutely loved it.

The descriptions in the book of creepy sounds etc really get your imagination going, and I confess that evening I was very nervous as it was a very windy night, and since then whenever I think of the story I have to turn all the lights on! The book has a very typical set-up of a spooky novel - an empty house, secrets thought to be "buried", a village of very nervous people and a hero who doesn't believe in the nonsense that country people do. However, without giving too much of the plot away, the woman in black isn't a character you can easily dismiss as being an evil monster with no humanity...

If you watch the trailer of the film there appears to be plenty of scary moments - the woman in black creeping up on him, kids toys coming to life... but, without giving too much away, the film adds a lot more "physical scare" than the book has. What brings the scare in the book is more what you don't see, what you thought you saw/heard, and what you know - your own imagination, and that of the characters.

Definately recommend, definately read again. You won't be disappointed! Make sure you keep the lights on...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The kind of horror that stays with you, 29 Aug. 2011
By 
Britishwotsit (ENGLAND, SUSSEX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Woman In Black (Paperback)
Finished this book less than 60 seconds ago, and here i am, again, sitting before my iMac. Contemplating whether to give this book four stars or five. I have settles on four, but that will no doubt be altered if i have a change of mind.

This is the kind of horror story i like best. No blood, gore, in-your-face-shock, repulsion or monsters. This book brings with it, that eerie, disturbing atmosphere that lodges itself in your mind, and re-awakens when you are alone.
My parents went out at one point when i was reading this. My mum at work, my dad taking my little sister out. And all the while, my mind was tuned into every creek of the house, every moaning door. And to sum the picture up, it was also raining. Just to scare me a bit more, the weather outside was dull and dreary like that described at Eel Marsh house.

I picked the book up, in the first place, because i saw the trailer for the new movie, featuring Daniel Radcliffe as his first role out of Harry Potter. The main character is as far from Harry Potter's character as possible. I found it hard to imagine him as the role, but i tried to nonetheless. I am keen for this movie to be released, so i can see how he does. Again though, i cant see how this would make a satisfying movie. The horrors, and scares are mostly in the mind, as Arthur Kips, the main character, often describes. For this to be made into a movie, there would have to be a more climatic ending, or some change at least.

I won't sum up every little detail about the short novel (extremely short novel. 160 pages i think. In fact i'd like to add a private message here directed to Waterstones book shop. Being charged £7.99 for 160 pages is disgusting). Ok so where was i, yes, the highlights and lowlights.

Highlight number one, the writing was brilliant. Victorian-like prose, which really added to the spooky atmosphere.
highlight number two, whilst the story can be seen as very typical and maybe cheesy in places, it is still undeniably ominous. Especially when Arthur Kipps finds out that little snippet of information towards the end of the novel. That was REALLY disturbing.
Highlight number three. The book is unputdownable. Although since its 160 pages long, i really do see that as a requirement.

OK, now the lowlights... hmm..,

Lowlight number one, the most obvious lowlight. As previously mentioned. The book is extremely short. (Remember Waterstones, i hate you). Although it didn't really suffer from its shortness. I did often look at the remainder of pages left though, and think "How can the story end in 30 pages?".
Lowlight number two. It isn't a book for everyone. Its ending is as bleak as the centre-part of the story. It is the story that stays with us for all the wrong reasons. If you don't wish to be frightened, or are perhaps easily spooked, i wouldn't recommend. its easier to digest full-frontal in your face zombies and blood-bath-horror than it is this. In my opinion.
Lowlight number three. OK i'm lying, i can't think of another lowlight.

If you see this book (anywhere other than Waterstones, since you don't want to pay £7.99 for it. Bastards) Then buy it. It only takes a couple of hours to read. That is all ;)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What haunts a small English town?, 29 Aug. 2011
By 
Andrea Bowhill (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Always loved ghost stories, as a child and even now. I've walked into old Tudor houses, upon arrival, someone is there to greet you, and as you walk those dark corridors a tale of the house unravels, or even a ghost story for good measure. Always listen intently, because somewhere in that story is the hidden truth. It maybe over the centuries its been woven to intensify, maybe by a descendant family members, the servants or even the villagers, they evolve, stories of the present become entangled with a story from the past but whichever way its told, it's still a great story, and that's exactly what The Women in Black is, a ghost story that is extremely well told.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill written in 1983 but it could have been yesterday. I read this book in one sitting the author nailed this with description, flooding my whole imagination. It's a short story 160 pages, which starts as one story, enchanting but then it takes a darker route and develops into a ghost story.

Christmas Eve, a family sit around a roaring log fire, each member of the family asks if they have a story to tell, the father has a story to tell, about a woman in black. He sets his story in the Victorian era, London at first. We follow a young man by the name of Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor whose sent to Crythin Gifford, a mysterious market town. Kipps once there attends the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, an elderly reclusive widow who lived alone at Eel Marsh House. Kipps was to end his business at the house and return to London within a few days. Eel Marsh is a windswept, isolated place, it holds secrets, once unlocked, the fear will creep up on you, those with curious minds will not resist.

Highly recommended reading, ghost story lovers for the book I suggest alone and by candlelight. For those looking for more ghost The Woman in Black London play is still running and the new film version is on release in 2012. Also by this author I would recommend Strange Meeting

Andrea Bowhill
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, don't be put off by the film, 6 July 2012
By 
C. Wilson "Christine" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Woman In Black (Paperback)
I first read this soon after it first came out and it was in Cosmoliptan magazine, believe it or not. The way it is written, the slow build up of tension to pure fear and terror and the classic elements of good ghost writing - the old spooky house, the mist and marshes and the terrified villagers - and the delicate hand the author uses to build suspense as the truly haunting story unfolds is a master in story writing.

If you wonder why this book is so GOOD then take a look at the film of the book starring Daniel Radcliffe. It's a good, scary film but subtle ... no. It seems modern storytellers are unable to tell scary yet strangely plausible stories without adding horror after horror and adding in the macabre that previously may have exisited in our own heads. Years of watching horror films have made us unable to imagine fear unless it is spelt out for us in great detail. This book, is scary enough and needs NOTHING more. (the liberty the film took with the story is almost as scary as the novella itself.

On a personal note, I had recalled from the first time I read this that the dog, Spider ran off and died in the marsh and I had to leave the film when the dog ran off as it flashed back to me and I felt tearful. I nearly cried with job that SPOILER ALERT - the dog was OK.

Read this in daylight with all the lights on!

If you didn't like this then you have no imagination and/or you don't appreciate a master storyteller.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.. spine tingling and terrifying, 11 July 2006
This review is from: The Woman In Black (Paperback)
I bought this book as it had been recommended to me. It begins rather slowly but as you read it you will see that this is a ploy to ensure that the terror slowly builds with each page you turn.

Arthur Kipps is a young solicitor, sent to deal with the affairs of a deceased client Alice Dreblow. Mrs Dreblow lived in an old isolated house, Eel Marsh House, settling in the middle of marshland. As Arthur becomes accustomed to the odd inhabitants of the nearby village and their strange reaction to Mrs Dreblow a wider and more sinister story unfolds.

Watch out for the scene where Arthur settles down for a night in Eel Marsh house.. terrifying.

If you love ghost stories, especially of the Victorian era, that are well written then do get this book, it is one of the best books I have ever read, and I have read hundreds.

Its only a shame it was not longer, but then the shortness and sharpness is what also makes this book so successful.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully atmospheric writing, 26 Nov. 2007
By 
DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This short story is beautifully written and atmospheric. The descriptions of the marsh and isolated island in all weathers are wonderful and the characterisations are excellent. My one criticism would be that it wasn't heartstoppingly chilling as advertised on the cover.

Arthur Kipps is a young lawyer dispatched to attend the funeral of reclusive Alice Drablow. While visiting the isolated Eel Marsh House he is to put Mrs Drablow's affairs in order and then return to London.
What appears to be a routine task turns out to be anything but; with repercussions that will affect the rest of his life.
The villagers refuse to be drawn on the subject of Eel Marsh House or the mysterious woman dressed in black whom he first sees in the churchyard at the time of the funeral. When Arthur visits the isolated house scary events become more frequent and he begins to unravel the mystery of the Woman in Black.

I enjoyed this book more for the descriptions than the story itself.
I have seen it performed on stage, where it was much more spooky and enveloping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly Average, 20 Nov. 2012
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Having read some of the other reviews regarding the Woman In Black, I was expecting a fine and scary read. Sadly, I was disappointed. It didn't feel particularly atmospheric and certainly was not at all creepy. To be honest, it felt a little pedestrian. For me, seeing the character of the woman in black early in the book really reduced any element of surprise or anticipation - to me there was nowhere the author could really take the story to induce a feeling of dread or menace.

The author strives to continually heighten the anticipation by saying how terrifying an experience the whole situation was. In my opinion, that feeling should be evident in the way the story is written and the sense of impending terror should evolve without the need to be constantly told how scared I should be. Unfortunately it did little for me. I also think the ending was poorly thought out, a bit rushed and a little predictable. Sorry, but not the most enjoyable of books I've read recently!
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The Woman In Black
The Woman In Black by Susan Hill (Paperback - 6 Aug. 1998)
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