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This House is Haunted Paperback – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590516796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590516799
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

“Great fun… Boyne keeps up a constant barrage of surprises and the pace is terrific.” —The Times (UK)

“An adventure that will delight Dickens fans and intrigue anyone who dares to follow her on her journey.” —The Daily Express (UK)

"A perfect, shivery gothic tale." —Booklist 

"Like the writers of Victorian ghost tales to which he pays homage, Boyne is a master at creating an unsettling presence. This House Is Haunted gathers momentum right up to the stunning denouement, and ends with one word that serves as an icy finger down the spine." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Boyne’s plotting and pacing are first-rate, and his mastery of the slow-boil is evident..." —The Daily Beast

"[This House Is Haunted] is a classic Dickensian ghost story, with an unexpected and horrific twist." —Glamour

"Boyne paints a picture that is both gloomy and thrilling, creepy and enticing...The result is a novel, just in time for Halloween, that is fast-paced, unputdownable, lively and intelligent, without being oppressively creepy." —The Record

"This House Is Haunted is a good old-fashioned ghost story—a real indulgence and a fine read all around." —Book Reporter

"John Boyne applies his dependably fluid writing style to this eerie Victorian ghost story, which offers an unsettling—in a good way—blend of the conventional and the unexpected...Boyne knows the precise moment to shake things up with a sudden, sharp surprise."—Reading The Past

"
Literate horror fans will take wicked delight in [This House Is Haunted]..." —Bookpage

"Rife with Gothic elements, This House is Haunted will please fans of Jane Eyre, Ann Radcliffe and the like. A beautiful call back to the height of Gothic Literature." —The Readist

"‘This House is Haunted by John Boyne is everything a classic ghost story should be...pure Gothic fun." —Fourth Street Review

"Fans of Gothic novels will definitely enjoy This House is Haunted. Its appeal, however, stretches further than to just those who are looking for an entertaining Gothic homage...[A]n alluring work of fiction that encompasses what we most look for in a novel." –Acid Free Pulp

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.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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See all 146 customer reviews
Very good Victorian ghost story.
Rebecca Bartlett
I also found some of the writing style dull, with a lack of suspense.
Martha Bowman
I enjoyed this book, easy read and kept moving.
Janis Nelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By tpolen on October 14, 2013
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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Deb Atwood, author of Moonlight Dancer on November 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
(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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elspeth G. Perkin on 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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