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“A classic ghost story: the chilling tale of a menacing specter haunting a small English town. Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford–a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway–to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images–a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black.”

I was looking forward to reading this book, but I was let down. It was beautifully written and would have made a wonderful book in a different genre. As a horror novel, it was weak. This is one of the few times I can say the movie was better than the book. I will look forward to reading other books by this author, but I just hope she does not write horror as this example of her horror writing left me falling asleep while reading it.

The book had a very slow build up. Something that seems really common in adult horror. It drags out so you are bored, but know every nook and cranny of the back story. Most of the book was spent before Arthur had any run ins with the Woman in black in the house. However there are extra scenes of seeing the woman ahead of time that were sorely missed in the movie as they were alarmingly creepy in the book. This lack of Woman could have been fine, if it was as detailed as the movie about his finding of the documents that explain the back story of the Woman. The book glosses over them in a way that it was hard to catch.

The book did have extra elements that the movie lacked. It explained the relationship between the characters better and didn’t make it seem so odd that a man just randomly gave Arthur his dog. The book goes into a lot more detail about the dog and even has a scene where the dog almost dies. I am a sucker for a sad dog story, but a dog drowning in the bog around the house while Arthur was trying to save the screaming child was creepy and added an element that was better than expected.

The horror element is very subtle and often lacking is any form of excitement. Despite the story being creepy and well written, I was often bored and had to force myself to read it (I had to return it to someone I was borrowing it from). The ending was also lack luster. The movie had the creepy ending where it was bittersweet. The book explained how Arthur’s wife died, but didn’t have the soul warming ending of the Woman trying to help him out. It also lacks the villagers’ back stories of the damage of the Woman.

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1 out of 5 stars. I do not recommend this book, the movie I do recommend.

You can buy this book here or better yet, buy the movie here.

~Isaiah

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