I enjoyed this book very much, right until the end where I felt desperately let-down.
Period, setting, manners of the day - beautifully evoked
Yes, if the ending is attended to.
It's an enjoyable listen, there's no doubt, but I was led to believe it was one type of novel when it turned out to be entirely another kind. This is fine it itself, it's good to be taken by surprise, but it seemed to me as though the author didn't know how to end this book, so fudged it. I thought it was a shame.
"A ghost tale but hardly spine-chilling."
Sarah Waters is an excellent writer so even if the story is not that exciting you find yourself reading on anyway. The story is told in the first person by a middle aged narrator who from his earliest years has been fascinated by the local noble home of the Ayres. Mrs Ayres lives with her two adult children - the heir and her somewhat unattractive daughter. The narrator who is a man of science becomes invoved with the family by trying to treat Roddy who was injured during the War and he later falls in love with Mrs Ayre's daughter. Quite frankly this love story is one of the most improbable I have ever read and although the narrator is quite an intelligent man it seems amazing to me that he does not quite understand that his dulcinée does not love him. Meanwhile there is an evil presence in the house and it ends up by destroying the harmony of the household. It takes about half of this very long book to actually reach the point of the apparition as such and the account of these happenings are always recounted by the disbelieving sceptic so there is no build up of fear and suspense or any kind of atmosphere which might allow the reader to feel fear or believe the tale. the narrator was so good that in spite of the over lengthy and drawn out descriptions you will find yourself engrossed. If you like a frightening ghost story then this might not be the book to read.
"Rather too long and drawn out."
I would have preferred 100 pages less.
I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book but although the story was interesting, I have marked it down because it was just too drawn out and I lost interest well before the end. This was another book that I finished just because it was on audio.
The main character, for me, was actually the house; creaky, disintegrating, spooky, it was a sinister presence throughout, but especially towards the end. The novel is set just after WWII and the after-effects are felt in the injuries, both physical and mental, exhibited by Rod, in the once grand, Hundreds Hall. Dr Faraday is called out to see him when his regular doctor is busy, and soon finds himself drawn to the family. Mrs Ayres is a lovely ageing woman, with old fashioned ways, and her daughter, Caroline, is a somewhat frumpy spinster.
Gradually, one thing after another seems to happen to the family; is the house really taking on a will of its own? Faraday, who narrates the novel, wants everything to have a scientific explanation, but the reader is left wondering.
This could have been really good with 100 pages removed, leaving the spookiest bits but removing the ramblings of Dr Faraday.
One thing this book does do well, is describe the changes that were taking place in many large houses after the war. The once wealthy landowners are short of staff and funds and both houses and families are struggling to hold everything together.
So, some good points, some less so, but overall a reasonable read.
Also read, by Sarah Waters:
Tipping the Velvet (3.5 stars)
"Chilling, but the end left a little to be desired"
I found Sarah Water's ghost story send quite a few, delicious chills down my spine, and it was beautifully narrated by Simon Vance. It was easy to imagine Hundreds Hall as a place of horror and demise, and the characters surrounding it were just about perfect -all seeming suspiciously ill at ease in one way or another. I couldn't help feeling quite sorry for Dr. Faraday, who deserved better than ending tangled up in a family troubled by a haunted past. And this leads to why I felt somewhat let down at the very end -there simply was no "closure" when it was all over, not for our hero, nor for me as the listener. But overall, a very good story, which I might listen to again!
"Not terribly interesting"
I was curious to listen to a book by Sarah Waters, seeing that she seems to be quite popular. It's not a bad book. It is well written and Waters certainly has a good way with language and she creates credible characters. And Simon Vance is an extraordinary good reader, a real pleasure to listen to!
Unfortunately, I found the book not terribly exciting. In a way one spends the whole book waiting for something to happen - and somehow it doesn't, and then you turn the last page and wonder somehow what it was supposed to have been all about. It is advertised as a ghost story - and yes, there is a ghost which brings down the family living in the same house. But somehow, even though it's all very tragic, it doesn't really add up to an exciting or gripping read. So, not a bad book, but not a brilliant one, either.
"Not very interesting"
I've read the other books by Sarah Waters,which were pretty riveting. This rolled along at a fairly slow pace and not much happened.
This is the first Sarah Walters I have downloaded and from the reading the reviews I was really looking forward to it but it just didn't reach expectations. It was slow and dull, even the allegedly "spooky" moments could not hold my attention. At no point did I feel any belief in any of the characters, who came across as very one dimensional. The ending gave the impression the author just decided she had written enough but was not quite sure where she was going. I only stuck with it to see how it ended, only to find that I knew no more at the end than I did at the beginning - sometimes in that situation the journey from beginning to end justifies this, but not so in this case. The social elements of the story were inadequately covered too, meaning that was neither a complete ghost story nor a complete social statement. The author would have been better sticking to one or the other. Very disappointing.
"A little too slow-paced for this listener"
Good narration and scene-setting but I kept wondering when it was going to become particularly interesting. Post-war rural Warwickshire is an intriguing location for the setting and the description of what, presumably, is just pre-NHS times made me think about medical services in fairly recent times.
"Sad and creepy"
I chose this because I had enjoyed 'The Night Watch' but in fact I think this was better - there were fewer characters and it didn't have that distracting reverse timeline. Not having read the blurb I didn't realise it was a ghost story, which was good, because I approached all the creepy happenings with Dr Faraday's scepticism....until near the end. Although the pace is slow, the story is beautifully told, and I was gripped throughout. I was listening to it while gardening. I enjoyed the descriptions of a country house literally falling to pieces around its inhabitants, and the very convincing 1940s atmosphere - how all the doctors smoke - and offer cigarettes to their patients! Those were the days, eh?
this was not as good as i expected. although the story is well narrated i felt that the story never really got going. I did listen to the end but im not sure it was worth the effort.Would be reluctant to listen to this authour again.