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This House is Haunted Paperback – October 8, 2013
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written engaging characters and fast-moving plot. Exactly what you want in a summer beach read. A suspenseful spooky tale with a strong female protagonist. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Pam Grimes
A gOod old fashioned gothic ghost story. Has atmosphere with a definite creep factor. Would highly recommend reading this bookPublished 1 month ago by Gayle H. Stegall
This book was great! I couldn't put it down. The characters in this book were alive!! I enjoyed the whole book, start to finish!Published 1 month ago by Michelle M. Washburn
This was a decent book, a little slow to start but good once it got going.Published 1 month ago by R.Mc
Indeed it is, very haunted. Very enjoyable Victorian gothic ghost tale with all the traditional accoutrements... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mia
Was not the best ghost story I've read. Kind of all over the place.Published 3 months ago by Heidi Klier
This book is so good! I got my aunt and grandfather copies after reading itPublished 3 months ago by wsherrill