Woman in Black

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Overview

Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again, plus he also hears the terrifying sounds of adult and child passengers sinking into the ...
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The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story

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Overview

Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again, plus he also hears the terrifying sounds of adult and child passengers sinking into the quicksand on a pony and trap.

Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil hi professional duty.It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Rescued by Mr Daily, a friend he met on the train, Kipps discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with tragedy, with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099563044
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2011

Meet the Author

Writer, journalist and novelist Susan Elizabeth Hill was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1942. For part of her education she attended a grammar school in Coventry before studying English at King’s College, University London. By then, she had written her first novel, The Enclosure (1961), in the evenings and at weekends, and it was accepted by a publisher while she was in the 6th Form, and published just as she arrived at King's.

On gaining her degree in 1963, Susan became book review editor for the Coventry Evening Telegraph. After five years in this post she turned to writing full-time.

Gentlemen and Ladies was published in 1968 and this was followed in quick succession by A Change For the Better, I’m the King of the Castle, The Albatross, Strange Meeting, The Bird of Night, A Bit of Singing and Dancing and In the Springtime of the Year all written and published between 1968 and 1974.

Susan married in 1975 and moved to Stratford upon Avon. Her daughter, Jessica, was born in 1977, followed by a premature daughter Imogen in 1984 who died 5 weeks later. After a period of grieving her creative output continued, particularly in non-fiction and plays for radio. She began writing novels again in the early 1980's, with the successful The Woman in Black (1983), a ghost story, which has achieved great success on the stage, then went on to publish Air and Angels (1991), The Mist in the Mirror (1992), Mrs de Winter (1993) and The Service of Cloud (1997).

Susan now lives in a farmhouse set in 50 acres of the North Cotswold countryside.

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Reading Group Guide

1. The novel opens with a detailed description of happy family life and builds to a ghastly climax. How does the author create the continual suspense to bring things to their terrifying conclusion?

2. The novel's narrator, Arthur Kipps, seems a straightforward character and surprisingly level-headed through the extraordinary drama of the novel. Do you as a reader trust the narrator more because of this? How does this calmness contribute to the effect of the more chilling and supernatural events later in the book?

3. The description of the woman in black is a gradual unveiling throughout the novel. How effective is this style of description? How do details, such as the cloak or hints of disease, contribute to our growing impression of her?

4. The author has chosen a woman as the central ghost figure - how is the concept of gender handled in the novel?

5. The story is set very firmly in Victorian times, with clear descriptions of daily life at that time. How does the historical setting add to the horror? Would a "modern" version of The Woman in Black be as frightening?

6. The Woman in Black is a modern ghost story not only in the strength of its writing, but also in its use of the conventions in this genre of writing. How does the author use these conventions to effect, and how does the novel compare to other ghost stories, not only in books but in film as well?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 296 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(144)

4 Star

(74)

3 Star

(42)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(23)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 296 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Wonderful!

    The release of the movie made me search out the book. I dislike horror stories, but love a mystery and suspense story. This book met and exceded mt expectations! I highly recomend it! Great fast enjoyable read!

    34 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Ghost Story

    This was a good spooky ghost story not gory but psychologically suspenseful. Arthur Kripps is given the task of going through the papers of a woman he has never met her, but his firm is handling her affairs after her death. What Arthur finds in the town and house is something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

    This book was written very well with just the right amount of suspense and trepidation, as events happen to Arthur I found myself with butterflies in my stomach and was glad no one came up behind me while I was reading. I liked that the author made you feel the darkness, smell the marshes, and hear the sounds and that's what's great about this book it has great atmosphere and does a good job at pulling you in.

    If you are a fan of Victorian ghost stories I highly recommend this book this will be a book I will recommend to anyone who likes ghost stories that are suspenseful without any blood & gore.

    This was my first book by Susan Hill and after her descriptive writing in this book I will try others by her.

    4 Stars

    27 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Great Book. enjoyed it. I was very entertained

    23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    I love horror. It was a Great Book with great story line.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Good Read

    I wanted to read this before the film was released and I'm happy I did. I would NOT reccomend this book if you're looking for the big "BOO" moment. However, in all honesty, no other novel has ever…unnerved…and chilled me more than "The Woman in Black". Susan Hill's precise descriptions leave you just as uncomfortable as you would be had there been a big surprise scare. Her careful suspense building peaks a certain discomfort in you that makes you almost nervous to turn the page, and the resulting, seemingly small reveal turns out to chill you more than you would have imagined. This novel is definitely one that will make you look over your shoulder should you read it in the dark! I'm very interested to follow more of Hill's work.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2000

    Spine chilling

    This book is very good it keeps you guessing until the very end. It is a bit old but it would be great if it was more modern. Worth reading!

    14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2000

    Scary Stuff!

    This book is extremely well written with a well thought-out storyline. I found it very scary in some places and also frighteningly realistic. The theatre prodution which is showing in Covent Garden is also superb.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Omg

    Wondeerful book. Good movie to. Saw the movie with my friend and it was amazing! I recommend this to horror lovers! Amy 13 yrs old

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Better than the movie

    Although I invisioned Daniel R in the role, this book was very well done and just when you thought the character was out of harms way... well.... read and see!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2012

    Pretty good

    The descriptions of the town and house are superb. The plot is a little slow, but it's still creepy. A quick and enjoyable read!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    A bit slow....

    This story is intriguing and has a lot of room for more scariness. The subsequently developed stage production was quite scary. The development of the level of terror felt by the main character never seemed to jump off the page.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    :-) Good!

    This book was great, not all that scary, but a good read. And for people wondering, it is age appropiet. I'm only 13 and I wasn't scared during this book. The movie is very different from the book. The movie is exagerated. The book will keep you anxious, but not scared.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Packs a punch

    While the setting isn't modern, that is what makes this all the more wonderful. It's different from the modern day ghost story. You can never tell what's going to happen next. It may not be full-blown horror but it still delivers that creepy feeling causing you to glance around occasionally.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A very interesting book.

    Susan Hill's "The Woman In Black" is an excellent read. This was my first experience reading one of Hill's novels, but after reading the Woman In Black, I am excited to give her "Simon Serrailler" series a shot.

    My Overview:

    A young solicitor by the name of Arthur Kipps is sent to the small english town of Crythin Gifford to settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow. What Kipps doesn't know is the disturbing secret that lye on the other side of Nine Lives Causeway. Kipps experiences some quite frightening moments on and around Eel Marsh House, which includes the sight of the mysterious Woman in Black, a child's cry in the marsh, and a eerie nursery with a slow-moving rocking chair. Find out what happens in Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black."

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Spooky Good!

    Definately a book to keep you up in the night hours. Spooky enough to give you the creeps, old English style writing, a nice classic. I enjoyed this. Have read scarier but worth the time and money. If you are looking for a quick one nighter with creep factor I recommend this one. This was perfect for tonights stormy weather.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Amazing

    First book I bought on my new nook and I never put it down. Kept me wanting to know more buy it you wont regret it. I read it in less than 24 hours it was so good and everytime i guessed one thing would happen it didnt kept you wondering till the end! GREAT BOOK

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Boring

    If i had known this book was only just over 100 pages i meve would have bought it. I daresay the movie was actually better.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Scary!

    This is my first scary novel and I have to say that while I wasn't scared, I did become freaked out. I found myself noticing my heart beating faster and I did have to turn lights on at some points. The ending is the "scariest" part and I am excited to see the upcoming motion feature.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Best ghost story I have ever read! You will not be disappointed if you like gothic atmosphere.

    Very spooky. It gave me chills when I finished the last page.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2011

    A terrifying, must-read ghost story.

    You know it's a good ghost story when you look over your shoulder constantly as you walk through dark rooms and jump at mysterious sounds in your house. This one will stay with you for a while. Great suspenseful read, and a well developed tale. It will keep you up at night but it thrills you as a good ghost story should.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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