The Woman In Black

by Charlotte Reads Classics

The Woman in Black, Susan Hill

There is nothing like a ghost story on a winter’s evening. I have seen the stage adaptation of this book before, and it is brilliant, and pretty faithful to the original story: A young solicitor is sent from London to tend to the affairs of a recently deceased client in a remote part of the country. With a creaking old house separated from the rest of the village by marshland and rising tides, the main character starts work.

If I hadn’t known anything about Susan Hill, I would have assumed she was a victorian writer, a jumble of Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins perhaps. An old fashioned ghost story; with mysterious wasting women in graveyards, rocking chairs in nurseries, and drownings in the marshland. Hill captures atmosphere and builds tension perfectly.

The main difference between reading and watching The Woman in Black is the sound of the novel; during the play, the sounds were what made it terrifying. I was lucky to be able to remember them as I was reading; although I think that even without this background, I could create the sounds out of my imagination because the novel is so well written.