This House is Haunted

This House is Haunted
By:  John Boyne
# of pages: 
  R.I.P., Full House (European author)


Goodreads description:

Written in Dickensian prose, This House Is Haunted is a striking homage to the classic nineteenth-century ghost story. Set in Norfolk in 1867, Eliza Caine responds to an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall. When she arrives at the hall, shaken by an unsettling disturbance that occurred during her travels, she is greeted by the two children now in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There is no adult present to represent her mysterious employer, and the children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, another terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment Eliza rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence that lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realizes that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past. Clever, captivating, and witty, This House Is Haunted is pure entertainment with a catch.

My opinion:  I read this book in 2 days because it was an easy,  suspenseful story.  The story follows a young woman named Eliza as her world crumbles after her father’s death in the late 1800s in London.  Still reeling from loss, she responds to an advertisement for a governess position at an estate in a remote part of England.  She is immediately confused and on edge upon arriving at the house where two children are living…alone.

Eliza tries her hardest to find answers to her many questions in the following weeks.  The reader is right there with her, not only wondering what will happen next, but also what happened in the past.

I felt that this story “flowed” better than many other modern ghost stories/suspense/Gothic/horror books.  The story is told in first person narrative by Eliza, so the reader knows what she’s thinking and why she does what she does.  However, I do wish that her relationship with the children was better developed.  She’s apparently so attached to the children that she gives up her own safety to stay with them, but it’s confusing as to how she becomes so attached.  She doesn’t seem to spend much time with them and honestly doesn’t seem to have much of a relationship with them at all.

Other than that, I was intrigued and surprised throughout the novel and enjoyed it overall.  I recommend it to lovers of paranormal suspense, Gothic tales, and ghost stories.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Suspenseful read that kept my attention throughout.  I do wish the characters and their relationships were better developed.

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