The Woman in Black by Susan Hill


The Woman in Black, Susan Hill, 1983

My favorite quote: “Whatever was about, whoever I had seen, and heard rocking, and who had passed me by just now, whoever had opened the locked door was not ‘real’. No. But what was ‘real’? At that moment I began to doubt my own reality.”

Notable characters: Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer; Mrs. Drablow, a deceased widow; the Woman in Black, a mysterious entity who just keeps showing up

Most memorable scene: When Arthur hears the screams coming from the marshes

Greatest strengths: Susan Hill has total command of the language, a talent that fully shines in The Woman in Black

Standout achievements: Though quiet and virtually free of violence, this book is creepy AF. It haunted me more than any gory horror story  

Fun Facts: The Woman in Black is the second-longest running play in the West End theater in London

Other media: The 1989 television film, the 2012 movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, both of the same name. Also lots of plays and radio adaptations 

What it taught me: This book is all about atmosphere and mood and Susan Hill shows us how it’s done

How it inspired me: Women in white, women in black, these archetypal apparitions are all frightening and inspiring, but to me, none are so striking or spooky as a woman in black. Though two very different entities with two very different motives, the Black Wasp character in my book of the same name is often referred to as “the Woman in Black,” which is indeed, a tip of my hat to this novel. However, the Black Wasp’s appearance, though similar to the ghost in The Woman in Black, was inspired by the character of Black Lena in Michael McDowell’s Gilded Needles

Additional thoughts: In the same vein as Turn of the Screw, this book is subtle and, for some, slow. While I loved it (I love all things gothic), I wouldn’t recommend it to those looking for high action, bloodshed, or jumps-scares

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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