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This House is Haunted [Kindle Edition]

John Boyne
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Book 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Eliza Caine is orphaned at 21 when her father succumbs to the flu after he insisted on attending a reading by Charles Dickens in cold, wet weather. She is bereft and, like most heroines of the time, without resources. She has lost her home, and so she leaves her teaching job to take a position as governess to two children in Norfolk. The advertisement is somewhat irregular, but she summons her courage and travels to what should be her new life. But secrets and mysteries abound. There are no parents present, and no servants to speak of. No one will share any information, and terrible things keep happening. Isabella seems old beyond her years, while Eustace is sweet and lovable. Through dogged pursuit, Eliza ferrets out the horrific truth and survives the malevolence of the presence that haunts the house. As the fearful situation grows worse, Eliza finds a strength that is unexpected for her time and place. Does she solve the puzzle, and do she and the children survive? A perfect, shivery gothic tale. --Danise Hoover


"A perfect, shivery gothic tale." ---Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 1616 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590516796
  • Publisher: Other Press (October 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CGHRC06
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,340 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Ghost Story October 14, 2013
By tpolen
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a great book - a true 19th century classic ghost story with a wonderful setting of a sinister old family mansion full of secrets in a small English town. It's not an in-your-face horror novel, but an elaborately written tale that is chilling and suspenseful.

Eliza's character was very well-developed and easy to like and she was such a strong woman for the time period. Not exactly a "modern", as they said in the book, but a woman who wasn't afraid to be a little more assertive and determined than most of that period.

The children were a little creepy - not Children of the Corn creepy - just a little off, although Eliza grows to care for them and doesn't go screaming into the night and abandon them when strange things begin to happen. The ending offered a twist I never saw coming, but it seemed appropriate.

I could easily have read this book in one sitting due to the pacing and suspense and would have preferred a dark, rainy night to do so - an ideal time to read ghost stories - but unfortunately wasn't able to do that. With Halloween coming, this is the perfect time to read a ghost story and if you prefer foggy, eerie, and ominous over blood, guts, and gore, this is the book for you.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Eyre meets Turn of the Screw November 7, 2013
This House Is Haunted is like Jane Eyre meets Turn of the Screw.

The author John Boyne writes 19th century sensibilities with the absolute authority of a waistcoat-wearing, mutton chopped Victorian. So much so, I was surprised to see his other books include The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. In fact, these two works are so different, I actually researched the author on Wikipedia! I thought there might be two John Boyne writers.

When newly orphaned Eliza Caine travels to Norfolk to assume her post as governess, she is dismayed to find more questions than answers. Where are the parents of her young students Isabella and Eustace? Why does Isabella speak in an adult tone—at times helpful, at times hostile? Why do otherwise gentle townspeople turn away upon hearing Eliza is the new governess at Gaudlin Hall? That's just the beginning of puzzles Eliza must decipher. Soon things begin to go bump in the night, for Eliza is facing a furious, jealous ghost.

All the props and symbols you have come to expect from Gothic novels are present. Flickering candles, dark corridors, hidden staircases. (A part of me wonders if the author wasn't having some fun here.) Impressionable young governess? Check. Precocious pupils? Check. Decaying mansion? Check? Dark, eerie English fog? Check. Suppressed sexual awakening? Check, check.

Author John Boyne has thought of and researched every detail to bring an authentic feel to this work. Only one part of This House Is Haunted does not feel authentic to me. I don't think the title serves this sub-genre well. A title more in fitting with the Gothic subject matter would be Gaudlin Hall. For me, This House Is Haunted conjures images of gaudy slasher flicks on the order of Friday the 13th, which this book is definitely not. Rather, This House Is Haunted is a meticulously researched Victorian-era gem that I highly recommend for anyone with a hankering to get her Gothic on.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This House is Haunted October 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although This House is Haunted entices the reader with the requisite components of an old fashioned ghost narrative, and on some levels accomplishes the suspense and mystery that consists in some of the classics of the Gothic literature era; it all ends with a clear distinction that crosses the line into the contemporary versus staying true to the era. It really disappointed this reader to find this distinctive line crossed, and in anticipation of the season I really desired a Victorian inspired Gothic tale that was more treat than trick.

The supreme positives of This House is Haunted were: the author's ease with Victorian dialogue, atmosphere, creating mystery and the unknown opposed to relying on gore and shock to capture the reader's attention, the understated messages of family and devotion and finally an entertaining spin on explaining the supernatural. On the other side of the coin however, the negatives were mainly caused by the aforementioned use of modern thinking that crept into the main character's actions and musings, the final dramatics, the absurd end resolution and the overall predictability that was caused by clear foreshadowing that haunted every other chapter. Do I regret my decision to spend my nights with This House is Haunted? No, I do not. The novel held a flickering of the read I anticipated ever since I saw the synopsis advertised and I suppose I could recommend This House is Haunted to those who are just looking for a Gothic themed novel but for those who are looking for something a little more, you may be disappointed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
(3.5 stars) In this Dickensian melodrama, set outside of Norfolk, England, in 1867, twenty-one-year-old Eliza Caine decides to leave the family home in London to accept the position of governess for a family she does not know in a city she has never seen. Just the previous week, her father had ignored her pleas that he remain at home to nurse a bad cold and had, instead, attended a reading by Charles Dickens on a miserable, rainy night. He succumbed to fever shortly afterward. Eliza then learns that the family home is not, in fact, owned by the family, and that she will have to vacate it. Seeing an advertisement in the newspaper for a governess, signed by "H. Bennet," which reminds her of the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice, she immediately leaves her current teaching job at a girls' school and moves to Norfolk.

From the beginning of the novel, Irish author John Boyne draws parallels between Dickens' work and his own. The Dickens reading, which Eliza and her father attend, is of a ghost story Dickens wrote for a mazazine, "a most terrifying tale...of the paranormal, of the undead, of those pitiful creatures who wander the afterlife in search of eternal reconciliation," according to Dickens. Eliza, vulnerable to suggestion, has recently seen another face just below her own in her mirror, a face resembling that of her deceased mother and which she sees again as she walks to hear Dickens.

Boyne's story about the inhabitants of Gaudlin Hall, the estate to which Eliza is traveling, directly parallels much of what Charles Dickens has included in the story he has read to his audience, and many clichés of spooky Victorian novels are repeated here. Eliza arrives by train during a dense fog. Upon arrival in Norfolk, she collides with the "H.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, Leisurely-Paced Ghost Story With Exciting Climax, Scary Ending
THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED is a very good novel-length ghost story, written in the Dickensian style. The main character even attends one of Dickens' lecture-performances of his own... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Lynne E.
4.0 out of 5 stars New take on an old plot
Well written and very approachable, Boyne's novel avoids the death trap of Victorian-era wordiness to deliver a creepy tale of madness and love. Read more
Published 3 days ago by jaydynomite
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 days ago by Donna
5.0 out of 5 stars had checked it out of the library and read but glad to add this ghost...
opps. had checked it out of the library and read but glad to add this ghost story with a twist to my library
Published 6 days ago by Erin Aderholdt
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunted is right!!!

OMG! I could not put this book down! I confess I had to read it in daytime hours as it creeped me out a wee bit!!!! Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sonja Heinie
4.0 out of 5 stars This House is Haunted
I really enjoyed this book. Hard to put down was I started it. Really have to wonder about old houses like this
Published 11 days ago by Roberta
5.0 out of 5 stars I breezed through it and was sad to finish it
This was a stunning book. I love how it was old school horror that did not have graphic violence or language. I passed it on to all my family and we all loved it. Read more
Published 17 days ago by fury81
3.0 out of 5 stars Contrived and disappointing although well written
This House is Haunted

I thought this was the only book I'd read by John Boyne until I realized that he's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas author. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Bookie
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary!
Very, very good. It is in the style of "The Turn of The Screw" and The Woman in Black". It kept me guessing up until the surprise ending
Published 21 days ago by roberta yates
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read !
I was glued to every page, hope to explore more of John Boyne....He captivates his audience with "what happens NEXT".
Published 23 days ago by Catherine R
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More About the Author

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and is the author of seven novels for adults and three for children. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas won two Irish Book Awards, was shortlisted for the British Book Award, reached no.1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and was made into an award-winning Miramax feature film. His novels are published in over 45 languages. He lives in Dublin.

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