Ugh Grosvenor is now the heir to a legacy worth than 9bn I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old It was the summer after the war and the Ayreses still had most of their money then were still big people in the district I recall most vividly the house itself which struck me as an absolute mansion I remember its lovely
AGEING DETAILS THE WORN RED BRICK THE COCKLED WINDOW details the worn red brick the cockled window the weathered sandstone edgings They made it look blurred and slightly uncertain like an ice I thought just beginning to melt in the sunWhat I liked most about this my first Sarah Waters
book were the striking descriptions of the magnificent Georgian mansion Once were the striking descriptions of the magnificent Georgian mansion Once splendid home that was renowned throughout the district of Warwickshire Hundreds Hall now stands in a state of ruination due to the effects of World War II and the Ayres s declining family fortune The characters are well drawn including the dignified Mrs Ayres her surly son Roderick who returned from the war with his share of battle wounds her slightly awkward yet intelligent daughter Caroline and the ingratiating family doctor Faraday From the time he first set eyes on Hundreds Hall as a child Dr Faraday has had a peculiar fascination with both the house as well as its inhabitants When summoned to the estate to tend to the so called illness of Betty the newest family maid Dr Faraday rapidly becomes immersed in the Ayres s lives and their attendant troubles The novel is constructed skillfully from the outset to be an eerie Gothic ghost story with the rambling and decaying manor and a series of baffling and disturbing happenings The story is written as a first person narrative from Dr Faraday s point of view Now I generally don
T FIND FAULT WITH BOOKS WRITTEN IN THE FIRST find fault with books written in the first as long as done so effectively In this case Dr Faraday is not directly involved in many of the menacing goings on at the house Rather he recounts the events told to him by the occupants of Hundreds Hall He tells us what he heard from Caroline or Mrs Ayres or Roderick or in some cases the maid Betty The suspense was subseuently watered down for me as a result Dr Faraday is a famously unreliable narrator as well which is not a complaint in and of itself however his removal from the events as well as his uestionable credibility took me out of the plot a bit There was no single character I liked nor one sufficiently detestable for me to revel in my distaste not even the purported ghost Perhaps I unfairly ept making comparisons to one of my all time favorite novels Rebecca I was searching for my Mrs Danvers trying to sympathize with the narrator and looking for a climax that would electrify me It just didn t uite happen I was left with too many uestions and felt a shred of dissatisfaction as a result Since finishing the book I have drawn my own conclusion that I would like to put to Ms Waters I suspect she didn t mean for me to truly now her intent however so I will have to be content with my own interpretation Despite my slightly lukewarm review there were enough redeeming ualities to this novel that I will certainly read another title in this author s repertoire at some point in time The subliminal mind has many dark unhappy corners after all 375 Stars I ve had THE LITTLE STRANGER on my wish list for years so I decided to use an Audible credit and listen to it in October The audio was narrated by Simon Vance and I enjoyed his performance very much I love his voice first heard him when I listened to BRING UP THE BODIES which was wonderful THE LITTLE STRANGER is a slow burn atmospheric novel of suspense I thought it was beautifully written uite absorbing and downright creepy at times It was a story that I looked forward to jumping back into That said I also thought it was a bit too long and drawn out and the ending doesn t wrap up with a tidy bow Set in the late 1940s this book centers around an English physician s relationship with a down on its luck aristocratic family and their crumbling ancestral home called Hundreds Hall Odd things are happening in the house and family members suspect the cause is a malicious supernatural presence but the doctor is not easily convinced Like I mentioned before th. Ty to nine but are the ayreses haunted by something sinister than a dying way of life little does dr faraday now how closely and how terrifyingly their story is about to become entwined with his prepare yourself from this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us now comes a chilling ghost stor. .
Departing from her preferred 19th century "CONTEXT AS SHE DID IN HER "as she did in her book The Night Watch Sarah Waters sets her latest novel in post World War II Warwickshire and tries her hand at an Old Dark
HOUSE HAUNTED OR IS IT STORYHaunted Or Is It story the Jamesian tradition of subtle ambiguous psychological chillers The Turn of the Screw The Beast In the Jungle But while James intuitively understood that the atmosphere of such tales depends on sustaining the unsettling mood and so they re best realized and indeed intensified by the concentrated form of a novella or short story Waters book trudges on for than 450 pages grinding all the tension and eeriness out of her narrative as it inches glacially forward like a literary Bataan Death March No suspense story can maintain its energy at this pace it s like one of those jazz singers who sing standards so slowly that t This review is going to be like one of those fridge poetry thingymabobs because I m tired and coherency isn t a top priority of mine right nowHere are some words and phrases that came to my mind after finishing this book in no particular orderAtmospheric Subtle DON T LOOK THROUGH THE KEYHOLE Observations are almost clinical at points Man I need
to read of Sarah Waters books Passionate Perfectly paced Holy twisteroo Batman WHAT DOES THATread of Sarah Waters books Passionate Perfectly paced Holy twisteroo Batman WHAT DOES THAT Don t go upstairs and investigate you fruit loop Grow a pair Doctor Something bad is going to happen to that dog isn t it Sinister SERIOUSLY UIT WITH THE KEYHOLE Astonishing I wonder if the Tipping the Velvet adaptation is still available on Iplayer What the eff Um OK I m sure my door wasn t open a second ago The TV adaptation of this that is inevitably going to be shown at Christmas on the BBC is going to be as terrifyingcracked outwhat the hell is going on esue as Whistle and I ll Come To You Yeah thanks for ruining Christmas for me John Hurt Always listen to the raving crazy when it comes to ghosts andor the apocalypse they have never been wrong Remarkable Deleterearrange as you pleaseI only have one gripeview spoilerI was expecting lesbian ghosts Sigh Looks like I m going to have to write that book hide spoiler I was uite torn about how to rate this book and went between 2 and 3 stars I love most of Waters books I loved Tipping the Velvet and Affinity was a great ghost story but this book was like her other book Night Watch long drawn out and left me wondering what the point was Faraday the main character is not really likeable but that being said neither are any of the other characters The book ends with no real wrapping up of any details though you are left with this feeling that the author is trying to be clever and point the finger many different ways By the last page I stopped caring who the Little Stranger was It took way to long to try and figure that out I wish Waters would go back to writing about the Victorian time period I give it three stars because some of her writing especially with the mishaps in the house that were exciting and propelled me on through the mire of the rest of the writing I just wish when I got to the end it was an actual ending sigh i tried to read this slowly and still finished it in two days i suck but i can t help it she writes so well and her stories are so damn compelling the pages virtually turn themselves but sorry ladies no lesbians this time i never thought i would see the day what else is sarah waters for if not lesbian love evidently dickensian ghost stories in postwar settings ooooorrrr iiiiisss iiiittttcome to my blog Dr Faraday is called over to Hundreds Hall on summer day when someone on the estate falls ill While there he strikes up a friendship with the family and in the coming months is pulled into their problems Hundreds Hall is said to be haunted and as the months pass by it becomes and confusing to tell whether the effect of the house on the people living in it is due to it being haunted or the steady deterioration of the estate and the status of the people who inhabit it in a world changing around them Really well written if a tad bit long I love when authors leave things ambiguous and it could go either way There was one thing that annoyed me though was DrFaraday s obsession. After her award winning trilogy of victorian novels sarah waters turned to the 1940s and wrote the night watch a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime britain shortlisted for both the orange and the man booker it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart in a dusty po. With the Ayres and his desperation to be friends with them I just couldn t stand his constant feelings of inferiority stemming from his childhood and how he still so desperately
NEEDED EVERYONE S APPROVAL I KNOWeveryone
s approval i now was the whole pointapproval I now was the whole point it was so irritating It was really well done though and his obsession with the estate really just added to the whole creepy feeling surrounding it The book did build up really slowly though and there isn t any clear outcome about what was happening in the house so if that sort of thing will bother you I would skip this one The one thing I ve learned from reading my first two Sarah Waters novels Tipping the Velvet and The Paying Guests is the value of patience She starts things slowly building character and the environment with deliberate care and copious detail Plot is secondary and it can take awhile for the endgame to come into focus With The Little Stranger however my patience nearly ran out The Little Stranger is a bit of If you are looking for a traditional horror novel you won t find it in The
Little Stranger This Book IsStranger This book is a variant on The Shining that just happens to be set in post WWII Britain it is essentially historical fiction that happens to have a touch of the supernatural about it And as historical fiction it is excellent Sarah Waters evokes the atmosphere not only of another time 1947 but for Americans at least another place as well because in many ways The Little Any reader of Fingersmith will now how Sarah Waters drags the old tricks of ancient fiction out of retirement and makes them dance for us again There it was Dickens and Wilkie Collins here its Henry James and his Turn of the Screw The Fall of the House of Usher and any number of novels and movies with huge crumbling stately homes at their centre Operating where the psychological and the supernatural ooze along together The Little Stranger unhurriedly creeps the reader into its Gothic murderousness Lightly and effortlessly the political cultural background weaves into the tale which is set in 1947 as the radical Labour government steams ahead with such socialist solutions as the National Health Service and the upper classes personified by the blighted Ayreses crumble and visibly wither One of the many pleasures of this wonderful novel No I m so sorry That is the review I would have liked to write But I can tSorry Sarah but you now what were you thinking You who wrote the mighty Fingersmith And who latterly thrilled my very ventricles with The Paying Guests In parenthesis is she trying to win Most Boring Novel Title of the Year The Paying Guests The Night Watchman The Little Stranger What next The Middle Manager The Folded Knapkin The Acceptable Reservation For here we have a lengthy tale of a working class lad made good he s become a doctor and the local decayed upper class family he befriends These toffs have the stately home and the land but they have no money at all so the whole pile is gradually falling to bits For 500 pages Yes it s a metaphor Like all huge old houses or castles Dracula Gormenghast Bleak House The Shining Manderley Wuthering Heights Hill House A typical passage from The Little Stranger A couple of panes in the window were cracked the sash frame crumbling around them A corner hand basin gave off a sour uriney smell and the boards beneath were almost rotting where a leaking tap had dripped The wallpaper had a raised pattern of loops and arabesues that had once she recalled suddenly been very colourful It had been painted over with a drab distemper which the damp was turning to a sort of curdIt s a long slow mournful crepuscular celebration of decay but what we may ask is the point of it all That the upper classes were clapped out and finished by the convulsing social order of the post WW2 radicalism What nonsense A lot of families like the Ayreses had to look sharp and reposition themselves get with the new land management and farming sciences for example or open their vast mansions to the public otherwise I m sure some did go the way of the unpleasant posh tossers here exhibited But has the upper class gone away Oh no I don t think so The 7th Duke of Westminster 25 year old St war summer in rural warwickshire a doctor is called to a patient at hundreds hall home to the ayres family for over two centuries the georgian house once grand and handsome is now in decline its masonry crumbling its gardens choked with weeds the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twen.