Children Make the Best Ghosts

by Charlotte Reads Classics

The Small Hand, Susan Hill

Yes, the cover is that beautiful. Susan Hill is queen of creating the perfect amount of atmosphere for modern victorian-inspired ghost stories. This one is about an antiquarian book dealer (so, yes, there is a lot of rarities here to satisfy a lover of books) who stumbles upon a derelict house in the country. He is magnetically drawn to the house, and upon visiting feels an icy hand of a child holding his own. Obviously anything else I tell you would ruin the point of finding out what happens for yourself, but there are unexpected settings and mysterious family histories involved.

I loved the notion of the building being a factor in the story, almost like a character. This theme appears in quite a lot of the books I have read and loved; like The Little Stranger or Rebbecca. And coincidentally this months UK Vogue had an article by Joanna Briscoe about the identities that places have, so I can’t be the only one who loves elements like these.

This book is not dissimilar to The Woman in Black, if you enjoyed that, you’ll enjoy this. I don’t necessarily think that writers should be experimental in the kind of writing they do – to me, it isn’t a criticism to say that an author’s books are stylistically obviously theirs. I love finding authors that write a particular genre brilliantly and stick to it.