Book Review

‘This House is Haunted’ by John Boyne

jb thihSTORY: 1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wro

REVIEW: Eliza Caine lives frugally in London with her father and teaches in an all girls school. Her mother had passed away some years earlier.  A huge fan of Charles Dickens, her father insists on braving the cold and rain to attend a reading by this renowned author only to quickly be stricken by a cold that soon claimed his life.

When she finds that she must leave the home she has known, Eliza decides to answer an ad for a position of a governess at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk.  When she arrives, she is perplexed to find only the children to greet her.  They are 12-year-old Isabella and her brother, Eustace, a few years younger.  They are well-groomed and polite yet they tell her she is to be the adult of the home and is also to prepare their meals.  The person who oversees the finances for the home is a solicitor, Mr. Raisin, who lives in the town.  While trying to understand all of this, she explores the house and decides to visit Mr. Raisin the next day and find out what is really going on.  

That’s when the nightmares begin.  She feels someone’s hands on her feet dragging her from the bed.  When she awakens from her dream, no one is there.  Many strange and frightening incidents occur that show there is an evil presence in the house, yet as Eliza is a sensible young woman, she is determined to find out what is happening at the home.  When she learns that she is the sixth governess in a year and all but she and another one are dead, her fear grows.  

I can’t give away anymore of this plot but suffice to say that it was written very well and just scary enough.  I think it would make a good movie.  Stick with it until the end because that’s when you will probably, as I did, say, “Uh-Oh!”

*Connie for b2b.

*Book provided by my local library.

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