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The Woman in Black | [Susan Hill]

The Woman in Black

Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Once, Mrs Alice Drablow lived here as a recluse. Now, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor with a London firm, is summoned to attend her funeral, unaware of the tragic and terrible secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows.
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Publisher's Summary

Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Once, Mrs Alice Drablow lived here as a recluse. Now, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor with a London firm, is summoned to attend her funeral, unaware of the tragic and terrible secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows.

It is not until he glimpses a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a sense of profound unease begins to creep over him and take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk about the woman in black or what happens whenever she is seen.

And Kipps has to stay on in the lonely house, sorting out Mrs. Drablow's papers, when the mist begins to enshroud both it and its surrounding graveyard and the high tide cuts it off from the world beyond.

©Susan Hill; (P)2005 Long Barn Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (441 )
5 star
 (182)
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 (139)
3 star
 (81)
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 (28)
1 star
 (11)
Overall
4.1 (136 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (129 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
 (41)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Carolyn Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom 07/01/2007
    Carolyn Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom 07/01/2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    4
    3
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    "Enjoy!"

    Spooky, atmospheric book. A real treat for a winter's evening! Suasan Hill always writes good books and it is read convincingly too.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard COVENTRY, WEST MIDLANDS, United Kingdom 23/09/2010
    Richard COVENTRY, WEST MIDLANDS, United Kingdom 23/09/2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    4
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    "As scary as M R JAMES"

    One of the most spine chilling ghost stories ever written. Atmospheric, absorbing, utterly spooky. Be warned, if you are of gentle spirit, this story is not for you. It certainly kept me awake a good few nights and I do not consider myself to be an overly sensitive soul. It will play havoc with your nervous system! Susan Hill is a wonderful novelist and her love of classic ghost stories has clearly driven her to write her own. Master of the ghost story M.R.JAMES would have been proud to have called this story his.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth lancaster, lancashire, United Kingdom 07/04/2008
    Elizabeth lancaster, lancashire, United Kingdom 07/04/2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    9
    4
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    "A Great Listen."

    Great story, reads like a diary account. The narrator is fluent and expressive. Recommended.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela London, United Kingdom 28/07/2011
    Pamela London, United Kingdom 28/07/2011 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    124
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    121
    46
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    8
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    "Spooky"

    I really loved this, so atmospheric and the narrator was great, he really captured the panic of the main character. I really loved to the language in this, so descriptive. You could nearly see everything happening in front of you as you listened. I would definitely recommend this, a great homage to the classic ghost story.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Gravesend, United Kingdom 23/09/2010
    Karen Gravesend, United Kingdom 23/09/2010 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    35
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    5
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    "Brilliant"

    I have seen the theatre production of this book about three times now and I loved every one. The book was just as good if not better.
    I love descriptive books and this one was very much one of those.
    The narrator was good too. Even though I knew what was coming I couldnt put my ipod down and got quite cross when it run out of power! This is one of those books that i could listen to year after year. Marvelous!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adele Strusshamn, Norway 19/10/2011
    Adele Strusshamn, Norway 19/10/2011 Member Since 2011

    Heaven is a place with lots of good books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    "A classic, spine chilling story"

    This is a dark, chilling and wonderfully mystical tale, brilliantly narrated by Paul Ansdell. Set in, or around, the Victorian era, the story superbly envelops and entwines its characters, ghostly atmospheres and settings. At times, one almost gets the feeling of being there, and more than once did I find the hairs prickle at the back of my neck! I am not surprised this book has now been adapted to the screen -it definitely deserves the attention!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M Luton, United Kingdom 27/04/2013
    M Luton, United Kingdom 27/04/2013 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing! A real treat!"

    I saw the stage version of this some years ago and was impressed. I have to say that the book is even better. Amazingly atmospheric and an excellent example of how a really good gothic horror story should be written. Five stars form me.A real treat!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Uttoxeter, United Kingdom 12/11/2011
    Gail Uttoxeter, United Kingdom 12/11/2011 Member Since 2011
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    "Terrifyingly unnerving - well recommended"

    Susan Hill has a talent for writing stories that unnerve by creating an atmosphere of creeping terror, rather than in-your-face horror. I have seen The Woman in Black at the theatre, and didn't think it could be improved on, but Paul Ansdell's utterly convincing narration took the story to a whole new level for me. I will be looking for other books narrated by him.

    If I may offer one piece of advice thought.... please do not do as I did and listen to it as you drive on your own down dark country lanes in the November fog!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cats22 Oxfordshire 14/09/2011
    cats22 Oxfordshire 14/09/2011 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
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    3
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    "Classic ghost story"

    I finally got around to listening to the unabridged reading having first heard the radio dramatisation and then seen the stage play and now feel that is not the best order. Having been scared out of my wits by the stage version, I found the book much less frightening as the play heightens the shocks in the story.

    It is a good ghost story and is well narrated. It has the classic style of the narrator reliving the events long afterwards around the fire on a dark winter night. The climax is very chilling and the theme of grief and loss pervades the whole story with the narrator forever haunted by his experiences.

    It's a good listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caio Turnhout, Belgium 18/10/2011
    Caio Turnhout, Belgium 18/10/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    5
    2
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    "Nice story"

    First 40 min was dreadful but it gets really good afterwards. The narrator adds suspense by acting up bits of the story. Wish it had some sound effect to increase the fear effect. After all that is the reason for getting an audiobook, for those extra features. ;-)

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 40 results PREVIOUS124NEXT
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  • Karen
    Broadalbin, NY, USA
    23/01/10
    Overall
    "good story and narration"

    This book is a great one to hear for those who like a ghost story with an actual ghost, rather than mere suggestions of ghosts. Paul Ansdell's narration was excellent, I thought, as well. He was great at making different accents for various characters, and for expressing the panic and fear felt by the protagonist. There are two reasons why I did not give this 5 stars: One is b/c I like to be driven to fear when reading a supernatural story, and while The Woman in Black was engrossing and full of supernatural occurrences, it didn't make me shudder or wonder about shadows in the corner of my room at night. The 2nd reason is b/c I was disappointed with the ending, which I will not spoil for anyone reading this who has not yet listened to the story.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Melinda
    UT
    25/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Classic Gothic Ghost Tale"

    Surrounded by family on a snowy Christmas Eve, the fireplace ablaze, the tree bedecked and aglow....what secret memories could possibly cause the senior Arthur Kipps to tremble with terror when family members turn out the lights and begin telling harmless ghost stories around the tree? Woman in Black is an engrossing classic ghost story--no bells no whistles--with a lush style of writing that lays out an almost palpable atmosphere. Paul Ansdell perfectly captures the spirit (so to speak) of this post-Victorian placed tale with his narration. Very enjoyable, easy listen--and (at least at the time of this posting) a nice little price for the entertainment value.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Eva
    Hardinsburg, IN, United States
    21/12/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hidden classic"
    What made the experience of listening to The Woman in Black the most enjoyable?

    I loved how the story moved along and took you with it. It made me want to hear more.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Toward the end it did. I can't say that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. However I was there enough to want more.


    What does Paul Ansdell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He did a great job reading it as well as giving each character their own voice. I love the accent, it just fit.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last time he see's the woman in black and what happens. It was horrible and sad.


    Any additional comments?

    I found this book on a recommendation. I am so glad I followed up on it. I hope the rest of her stories are as wonderful as this one was. It is a must read if you like the horror and suspence genres.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Alycee
    WAXAHACHIE, TX, United States
    13/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Eerily facinating!"

    I loved listening to this book. I was caught up in the story right away and could feel the horror and fear the character in the story felt by the way the narrator read and related the events of the story. I got everything I expected from reading a "Ghost Story." I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a good ghost story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Hannah
    Timberville, VA, United States
    18/11/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Chilling tale, fantastic narration!"

    The Woman in Black is so darkly enchanting. I had seen trailers for the movie which provoked me to give the book a try. The story alone is profound, moving, and horrifying... but narrator, Paul Ansdell, read with such emotion and feeling that served to better the listener's understanding of Arthur Kipps' horror. I found myself delightfully nervous for Kipps as I listened. I would definitely and already have recommend this to everyone.

    A first rate story by Susan Hill. I know I shall be searching for other books narrated by Ansdell.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Janice
    Sugar Land, TX, United States
    22/10/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Believably spookey"
    Any additional comments?

    This is the perfect ghost story - enough detail to bring you into the scene, but not overwritten to make it tedious. Told in the first person, you experience the mystery along with the main character. (I just loved the brave little dog, Spider). Wonderfully read by Paul Ansdell. The story moves right along and is the perfect length - a great way to get through a 4 hour road trip.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • karen
    United States
    20/10/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderfully creepy -- just excellent."

    A classic tale of haunting, almost Poe-ish, and a pure pleasure. I've enjoyed everything Susan Hill has written, and this novella was no exception. A wonderfully-told tale, lots of things that go bump in the night -- or even during the daytime, with plenty of shrieks and groans, but -- interestingly enough -- no undue blood or gore. Just a good old fashioned ghost story, The narrator was perfect -- just enough of an accent to make it exotic and sound as though it was a tale from long ago. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • D. Hutchins
    25/04/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it!"
    Any additional comments?

    OK so I'll be honest. The movie intrigued me. My kids made fun of me because I would watch the trailer over and over again but I wouldn't go watch the movie. I'm not much of a movie person - the trailer was creepy enough for me. But I made the decision that I would read the book, then see the movie. I really loved this book. I loved the narration which was very soothing and SUCH a wonderful contrast for the eeriness of the content. I think that was my favorite part! Now I can't wait for the movie to come out on DVD. I am planning SUCH an evening for my family...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia
    Boynton Beach, Fl, United States
    02/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Play vs. Book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Woman in Black to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version but saw a mini play of The Woman in Black. The audio version brings more depth to the characters.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    No change at all. Was good.


    What does Paul Ansdell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The voice, the tones which gave you a visual of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    The audio version had more to it then the mini play. The play didn't go into the life of the characters. More just a gloss over.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Penfield, NY, United States
    19/06/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Old School Gothic"
    Would you try another book from Susan Hill and/or Paul Ansdell?

    While I enjoyed Paul Ansdell's reading, I kept confusing him in my mind with the actor Michael York. I will admit, this distracted me somewhat from the otherwise solid performance. As to the story, while it's a sold old-school Gothic tale, it's too slow for my tastes.

    I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I expected to. The level of psychological horror was there, but it could have been both darker and more pervasive. That, and the main character's tendency to faint at moments of extreme stress didn't help.

    Overall, I guess the fact that one critical element of the climax of the book is telegraphed throughout the whole of the book was sufficiently distracting. The climax simply isn't climactic ... not when we, the reader, know exactly what's coming and are just waiting for it.

    Still, it was worth a listen.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 49 results PREVIOUS125NEXT

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