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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chilling read
The first Susan Hill book I ever read was the Woman in Black. Her talent for gripping the reader from the word go is, in my opinion, unrivalled. The Mist in the Mirror is one of those books you just can't put down and you become totally absorbed in the story from the very first page. The characters and the scenes just come alive. Each chapter is more un-nerving than the...
Published on 6 Dec 2006 by MYSTICSHAZ

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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly atmospheric, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Comparison with The Woman in Black is inevitable, and unfortunately The Mist in the Mirror is not quite in the same class.

The reason? Well, to echo most other reviewers, I feel Susan Hill missed a great chance to turn out a fantastic ghost story by copping out on the ending.

For instance, there's Vane standing in the chapel, heralding (so I thought)...
Published on 27 Dec 2006 by Chris Cohen


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chilling read, 6 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
The first Susan Hill book I ever read was the Woman in Black. Her talent for gripping the reader from the word go is, in my opinion, unrivalled. The Mist in the Mirror is one of those books you just can't put down and you become totally absorbed in the story from the very first page. The characters and the scenes just come alive. Each chapter is more un-nerving than the last - it's one of the most chilling books you'll ever read.

I agree with some of the other reviewers about the ending - you do feel a little cheated, but the book is so enthralling, it more than makes up for it.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wanted more!!!, 24 Sep 2006
By 
Lilly Penhaligon (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
As soon as I found out that Susan Hill had written another ghost story, I literally ran to my nearest Waterstones to grab a copy. Having been well and truly terrified to the core by the Woman In Black, I couldn't wait to experience the same thrills which I expected from the Mist in the Mirror. In some ways, I wasn't disappointed. Susan Hill has the uncanny knack of being able to describe in vivid (and some disturbing) the stuff of nightmares. I felt trapped in the claustrophobic, winding, pitch black halls of the old school in Alton, felt genuinely unnerved by the account of what happened to the protagonist, James Monmouth, when he visited the Old Library in the dead of night (NO WAY would I have gone there at that time, not for a million pounds) and felt completely uneasy at the descriptions of the malevolent presence and the feeling of being watched. Truly scary, unnerving stuff. Fans of gory horror beware, this book relies completely on the supernatural - there is no gore. Hill is the master ghost story-teller - she knows exactly how to prey on the all the senses and knows how to unravel a mystery slowly but surely - this is what makes books like the Mist in the Mirror and the Woman in Black completely addictive - you will keep reading even though the hairs on the back of your neck will be standing from page one.

The only reason this gets a 4 and not a 5 was because of the ending. There were too many unanswered questions - who WAS the old woman he saw at the Cross Keys Inn? What WAS IT behind the curtain adn the locked door that terrified Monmouth so much that he dare not look? What was the secret of the dreaded mirror and why did it appear in several of the places that Monmouth visited... I needed an extra 100 pages to tie up these loose ends - at the moment I feel like I'm still on teh edge of the mystery...

If you like supernatural/ghost stories that rely on building up a sense of creeping horror rather than over-the-top descriptions of ghostly apparitions, then this is the book for you.

If you would like a more complete, yet thoroughly frightening scarefest - read the Woman in Black (see my review).
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mist in the Mirror and Gothic, 22 Nov 2004
By 
Avi Haffner (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
The Mist in the Mirror is one of the most archetypally Gothic books of modern times, so much so that it is almost Gothic in excess. Set in the labyrinthine streets of London and the bleakly sublime moors of the north, it utilises both aspects of a gothic setting to great effect.
The effect of Conrad Vane and the spectral young boy are also deeply disturbing, which has prompted its label as a 'ghost story'. What is interesting though, is that The Mist in the Mirror brings together the ghost story and the gothic tradition (which are not the same) to create a chilling impact.
Overall, this is a very interesting yet disturbing read. It is a little weak in comparison with her other works, notably 'The Woman in Black', but compulsive reading nevertheless.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing tale, 22 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
Susan Hill very skilfully evokes a mysterious and chilling atmosphere which she manages to maintain throughout the story. My only criticism would be that the end of the tale seems to be a little inconsequential, however, for me this was made up for by the quality of the storytelling in the rest of the book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy To Like, Hard To Love., 25 Sep 2008
By 
P. Smith "Long long gone" (South Shields UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that the Susan Hill novel The Woman in Black (and the superlative ITV adaptation) was one of the defining moments in my love affair with the Ghost Story. I can honestly say it stayed with me for years and as any fan of the genre will tell you, that's harder than you might think when you read a good deal of literary ghost stories. So understandably when I came to The Mist in the Mirror the freight of expectation was heavy, and for the most part I wasn't disappointed. Any readers thinking they're in for a similar experience to The Woman in Black however, most definitely will be. Unfortunately The Mist in the Mirror is rather less than the sum of its parts.

I think there are few writers who can conjure that Victorian spirit (no pun intended) Like Susan Hill. Almost immediately you're right in the thick of it; James Monmouth, an Englishman raised in Africa bequeaths a manuscript to an acquaintance at his club. What follows is thoroughly entertaining, well written but not necessarily frightening or ultimately very satisfying.

Obsessed with the travels of the explorer Conrad Vane, Monmouth returns to England after years of tracing the mysterious adventurer's footsteps. Fresh off the boat he begins researching Vane's history and his own, having no memory of his childhood in England. Cue swirling mists, dark rain-soaked cobblestones, unfriendly innkeepers (aren't they always), cries in the night and half seen apparitions at the end of corridors. What keeps this fresh and sets it apart from every other rendering of Victorian London as some kind of pitch black urban hell is that Monmouth sees it as we would, as an awestruck stranger. The narrative voice is easy and confidential, and the language is fairly unadorned which allows the reader to concentrate on the action and there's plenty of it.

The deeper Monmouth delves into the history of his hero Conrad Vane the more he is alarmed by the warnings of the various characters he encounters. Along with the usual suspects (threatening academic, kindly schoolmaster) there's an aristocratic clairvoyant in the mix, awesomely named Viola Quincebridge. Monmouth however is undeterred and continues to meddle with the past. There's something very, very sinister about Vane, could it be somehow connected to the sorrowful ghostly child that stalks Monmouth from London all the way to his dilapidated family estate in the North?

Sounds good? here's the rub. After such a great set up Hill squanders it in the final chapters on a rushed, unsatisfactory climax and an ending so ambiguous I thought I'd missed something. Major elements in the plot are left unresolved, so much so that I found it hard to believe that this is what Hill intended. Did she run out of time? Did she lose interest? like so much else in this book, you'll never know for sure. Of course there's enough of an explanation to cursorily satisfy but some of the most striking and well thought out elements of the novel are swept under the rug in the final sentences, and some, ultimately are utterly ignored.

That said,I did enjoy at least ninety per-cent of this book. If your after an entertaining, thrilling but not terribly scary ghost story and don't mind the fact that this novel won't answer all of the mysteries it sets up so well then go for it. I enjoyed every word of it but it didn't inspire me to read more Susan Hill novels, only to finish writing this one on her behalf.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious, 5 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Here is yet another excellent tale of the supernatural from Susan Hill. Perhaps not quite up to the heights of "The Woman in Black", but nevertheless, a frightening and sad story. Miss Hill is a worthy follower in the footsteps of masters of the genre such as M.R. James, Edith Wharton et al. If you like your ghost stories subtle and literate, I recommend this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good old fashioned ghost story, 13 April 2012
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A real good old fashioned ghost story told in true Susan Hill style. The tale of gentleman James Monmouth, who on his return to England (after living abroad for most of his life), is keen to research the life of mysterious English explorer Conrad Vale who he has long admired. Throughout his research however, he starts to discover hints of his own long lost childhood in England and the clues are in the ghostly visions that have been apparent to him since he stepped off the ship. SH's descriptions are so brilliantly executed, never rambling and always relevant. The chill of a London winter and the dismal courts and yards of the metropolis are so vividly described you can almost breathe in the sights and sounds. Wouldn't say that the story is as good as The Woman in Black, but most beautifully written all the same. The sort of book you would want to curl up and read on a cold winters night.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Story, 18 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Mist in the Mirror (Paperback)
This is beautifully written,as all of Susan Hill's books. It is dark, creepy, with tension building from the beginning. You feel afraid for the main character but also wish that he had listened to the warnings. Difficult to put the book down once begun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goosebumps on goosebumps.., 24 Sep 2010
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
It's hard for an author to match a perfect ghost story like The Woman in Black but here, Susan Hill again manages to recreate the chilling atmosphere of a subtly woven Gothic tale. Sir James Monmouth returns to England having spent most of his life abroad in exotic climes, following in the footsteps of his hero, the intrepid explorer Conrad Vane. He was orphaned at the age of five and has no recollection of his childhood in England nor any family to fill in the blanks in his history. Keen to settle down in England and have a focus in life, he embarks on research into the life of Conrad Vane with a view to publishing his findings. However, every time he seems to get closer to finding out more about Vane, the man, he is warned off with vague intimations as to the dark, evil side of the man he has idolised. He is haunted by a waif like boy whose melancholy sobs and doleful countenance fill him with great sadness. He sees the frightening apparition of an old woman behind a curtain

I saw the black pits of her eyes with a pin-prick gleam at their centre, and a swarthiness and greasiness about her skin; I saw her hands laid on top of one another, old, scrawny, claw-like hands they seemed to me; and the flash from a spark from jewelled or enamelled ring.

Susan Hill excells at the slow-build up of tension and terror which gives the reader goosebumps on their goosebumps. The atmosphere is wonderfully gothic from the opening description of dreary, rainswept Victorian London to the sinister, shaded cloisters of a public school to the windswept moors of the North complete with abandoned villages and a dilapidated country house. In just 180 pages you are taken on a rollercoaster journey with ever-increasing thrills and twists.

What disappointed me a little was the ending which fails to tie up loose endings and explain elements like the woman behind the curtain and the mysterious mirrors but I guess that uncertainty goes hand in hand with the nature of ghosts and the unexplained. This is an ideal story for those dark Autumnal nights as we approach Halloween and would be an excellent accompaniment to the ghost stories of M R James. If you haven't read this or The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, haste ye to the bookshop/library.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly atmospheric, but ultimately unsatisfying., 27 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Mist In The Mirror (Paperback)
Comparison with The Woman in Black is inevitable, and unfortunately The Mist in the Mirror is not quite in the same class.

The reason? Well, to echo most other reviewers, I feel Susan Hill missed a great chance to turn out a fantastic ghost story by copping out on the ending.

For instance, there's Vane standing in the chapel, heralding (so I thought) a terrifying and spine tingling climax, and.......? He's not mentioned again. Too many loose ends generally.

It's almost as if SH got fed up after 180 - odd pages and decided to finish off the story there and then, any which way.

Having slated the ending, I must clarify that the rest of the book is very exciting. Lashings of Victorian atmosphere and some genuinely scary moments. I'm glad I read it and would recommend to others, but with a note of warning over the disappointing ending.
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The Mist In The Mirror
The Mist In The Mirror by Susan Hill (Hardcover - 25 Oct 2012)
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