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Book Review: The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black book coverAuthor: Susan Hill
Published: D.R. Godine, 1983
One Word Review: Suspenseful


In both the book and film, a young London solicitor is sent to a small town to settle the affairs of a client of his firm who is recently deceased. While sorting through papers in her home, her encounters a mysterious woman dressed all in black and has other hair-raising experiences. That’s where the similarities end.

Unlike the movie, not much happens for most of this book. Since I’d seen the movie before reading it, the suspense built quite high as I waited for action.

The book and film are so different from one another that they are best evaluated separately, though if you’ve experienced both, you might be tempted to ponder the ramifications of action vs. inaction and of trying to make things right with the spirit world.

The book is a good, old-fashioned ghost story in which the payoff comes at the end, while the movie is filled with thrills, chills and action but has what could, in some sense, be considered a happy, or at least merciful, ending.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d recommend reading the book first or it might feel a little slow. Definitely a good choice for a damp October evening!

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