Well what do I say? Where do I begin? I have literally just closed the pages of this book and have taken a complete U-Turn of my thoughts and opinions!
This is the final read of the Read By Spooktober challenge over on Instagram and it was one epic ending! I picked up this book thinking it’s far too short to really hold much detail or much of a story (160 pages) but as I began to read it, I thought it was about 100 pages too long- I was bored and waiting for the scares.
I had seen the film starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2012 (so long ago!) and although it was rated a 12, I distinctly remember the character of Arthur Kipps looking out into the night at Eel Marsh House and the face of the Woman in Black leaping out at him through the window (both my mum and I literally jumped a mile and screamed! I was a youngster back then and not ashamed to admit it scared the life out of me!) so I had high hopes of major jumps and scared for this read, but it seems Hollywood used its artistic licensing to add more to the story than what was originally there.
Susan Hill gives you the most amazing descriptions of Crythin, it’s village and residents, as well as the vastly changing Nine Lives Causeway and unsettling Eel Marsh House, but it isn’t until that very last chapter that the scare comes.
When Spider almost lost her life I was in pieces! I had sudden flashbacks to watching THAT scene in The Never Ending Story (if you don’t know it, a horse is swallowed by marshland leaving his human companion, and viewers of all ages, utterly broken, devastated and a tearful mess) and thought I couldn’t read on, couldn’t bare witness to the Marsh taking a life, but then Arthur rescues her and literally becomes Man of the Hour and all round hero. So I read on feeling less bored and watched as the puzzle was put together and all the pieces fell in to place, leading to the devastation and horror of an innocent pony and trap ride. And that was when I closed the book and though “woah” and couldn’t think of anything else until I re-read that chapter again.
For 160 pages, Hill has gifted the world with a short but exceedingly detailed novella full of a hauntingly devastating love and the lengths of revenge and retribution that a soul will seek out in order to feel justice. The Woman in Black is well and truly worth the short amount of time to read and makes for a better book than film (in my opinion) and Hill did a fantastic job of submerging the reader without them even k owing it.