- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan (10 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552778427
- ISBN-13: 978-0552778428
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
This House is Haunted Paperback – 10 Apr 2014
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"Wonderfully creepy…This magnificently eerie novel takes us on a skilful journey through fear" (Observer)
"A superior ghost story… Truly spine-tingling" (Mail On Sunday)
"A lesson in classic storytelling… Boyne takes us on a highly original, entertaining journey that, like all great ghost stories, saves its most unexpected twist for the very end" (Sunday Independent)
"Great fun…A constant barrage of surprises and the pace is terrific" (The Times)
A chilling Dickensian ghost story by one of Ireland's finest writers.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
To base the story on a governess and two children and to place the action in the midst of the nineteenth century points to no lack of bravery on the part of John Boyne. Comparison with James’ “The Turn of The Screw” in particular, not to mention “Jane Eyre” is inevitable. And as if that weren’t enough the story starts with the dramatic “I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father.” Dickens himself was no fool when it came to ghost stories, though perhaps wisely he stuck to the short story form. Anyway, three major novelists invoked set the crossbar high.
On top of all this clichés and stereotypes beckon at every turn. The desolate, crumbling manor house, the fog, the storms, the brooding, suspicious locals, the sullen retainers are all called upon to leave us in no doubt as to what manner of tale we have here. Eliza Caine is a not unpromising heroine, though again out of the mould. At times I find her maddeningly inconsistent – at one moment understandably on the brink of nervous collapse and then within no time full of courage and obdurate resolution. Such a character is, perhaps, necessary to carry the plot, which I find sadly predictable. A few unexpected twists and red herrings would not go amiss and it is a pity that the conclusion to the final chapter is so transparently obvious.
There is a sense in which, I suppose, many of us turn to fiction of this nature to find precisely these ingredients – and fair enough, but I’d have liked to have felt a little more quickening of the pulse and a few more surprises.
Arriving in Norfolk, after a rather frightening incident at the train station, where she almost falls in front of an approaching train, Eliza is surprised when she arrives at Gaudlin Hall and finds two children: twelve-year-old Isabella Westerley, and her brother, eight-year-old Eustace, waiting for her in what appears to be an empty house. Deciding to investigate this unusual situation the next day, Eliza retires to her room looking forward to a good night's sleep, but as she stretches out her tired, aching body in the huge bed, something very strange and alarming happens which she can only explain to herself as the consequence of her being overwrought and overtired.Read more ›
From the start, there was a feeling of familiarity with both the storyline and characters. New governess, haunted house, swirling mists, whispering locals, a dead mother, churlish servants and weird children. Unfortunately, whilst a few scenes were strong in atmosphere, there was little new in the tale or telling and it felt very contrived. As a pastiche it pays homage to a number of authors and styles and there may be some passing interest in making those literary connections. But there was nothing in the well written narrative to make this exceptional or interesting. I felt little in the way of suspense and was waiting for something dramatic or unexpected to happen. It just felt comfortable and predictable and rather disappointing.
I feel a bit mean being critical because I don't underestimate the amount of research and effort required to produce a well written tale. But other authors have done the same kind of story so much better. It's OK, but not great.
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy.
As things progress, Eliza soon finds that although she enjoys the company of the two children in her ward, she herself seems to be in danger from supernatural forces. As an enjoyable ghost story then this is okay, but it also is set in 1867 and thus would also fall into the historical novel category, which is when things start to unravel. There is no author’s note saying that things have been altered for the sake of storytelling, and so we find no excuse for certain facts being completely erroneous.
When Charles Dickens gives one of his public readings in this book, and starts one particular story that will soon be published, this is quite erroneous. The story started here is ‘The Signalman’ which was published in All The Year Round as the Christmas special of 1866, which is one of the tales that make up Mugby Junction. It is hardly a new story that will be published, when it was published the year before. The hanging that is mentioned in this book would probably have been public, as it was general until 1898 when Parliament passed an act making them within prison walls.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an easy read, with a few twist. A little hard to put down as 'you' want to know the outcome.Published 24 days ago by C. Matthews
Recommended this to a friend and she loved it too. Get a copy, you won't be disappointed.Published 25 days ago by Janet Lewis
This story is rather a predictable, in places anachronistic, pastiche on the Victorian Ghost genre, referring back quite obviously to Charles Dickens (one of the minor characters... Read morePublished 2 months ago by alexandria1121
A very good ghost story. Could not put the book down once I had started to read it.
The ending gives the reader something to think about.
A wonderfully atmospheric ghost story, perfect for cold, dark autumn nights! Intelligently written with lots of references to Dickens, and the language evokes the period setting... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Char Louise
A totally different read to my normal. A great story with a fantastic unexpected twist. This is a highly recommended read.Published 5 months ago by TDB