Written in Dickensian prose, This House Is Haunted is a striking homage to the classic 19-century ghost story. Set in Norfolk in 1867, Eliza Caine responds to an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall.
When she arrives at the hall, shaken by an unsettling disturbance that occurred during her travels, she is greeted by the two children now in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There is no adult present to represent her mysterious employer, and the children offer no explanation.
Later that night in her room, another terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong. From the moment Eliza rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence that lives within Gaudlin's walls. Eliza realizes that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall's long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past.
Clever, captivating, and witty, This House Is Haunted is pure entertainment with a catch.
©2013 John Boyne (P)2013 Tantor
"A perfect, shivery gothic tale." (Booklist)
Alison Larkin is a delight. She was perfect and the main reason I kept going. The story begins quite deliciously. The sightings and hints of ghosts have great promise, but we never hear of these initial ghostly appearances again. The actual haunting seemed heavily influenced by special efffects in Hollywood movies, which was a shame. It was easy to figure out who the ghosts were and this took away from the chilling effect. I also think the main character's stoic, resigned, not very scared acceptance of her situation was over played. The children were creepy. However, as I said at the beginning of this review, Ms. Larkin was delightful and perfect so,I kept listening. She makes the credit well worth it.
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
Friends have been telling me I need to read John Boyne for years, so I looked forward to the experience. Having finished "This House Is Haunted," I could scarcely be more disappointed.
The first three chapters could be cut as they only introduce irrelevant backstory. Removing overwritten passages of description and scenes in which nothing happens to advance the story would bring it down to the size of a novella. Even then, the plot is so contrived and predictable that it would not be worth reading.
The most aggravating things about this book are the modern attitudes, speech patterns, and social customs that permeate every chapter of the book. These "intrusions" continuously break the attempt to create a fictional dream of the past and are as jarring as a sneezing fit during a chamber concert.
Also, I found it hard to believe the author had spent any time with real children, even precocious or eccentric children, of any century.
Alison Larkin is a charming narrator, but even she could not bring life to these wooden characters.
I do this the audio version is better. The narrators english accent and abilities to change voices/accents for each character really brought this story to life.
I loved the trip back in time, also loved the great detail. it really brought the story to life.
My favourite scene was when Eliza takes her trip with the children into london. It really made you feel sympathy for the well being of the children. And not to mention all the creepy haunting parts! but cant give away to much!
A guilt-stricken young woman finds herself as a caregiver for 2 children at an estate that has more to hide then anyone could have ever assumed.
I just really hope everyone listens to this book and falls in love with it the way i did.
So-So Victorian period piece, but no thriller. Author was trying for "Turn of the Screw" but ended up with something closer to a Movie of the Week script instead.
Narrator did the best she could with the material, so no knock on her performance here.
Beautifully written, Victorian gothic/ghost story. I was a little let down with the ending, but it was unsettling, and maybe that's the desired result ? No question, though, that John Boyne is a fabulous writer !
Delightful, entertaining, enjoyable
Yes! This book was delightful! I loved the narrator who portrayed the story quite well. I especially loved the writer's use of the "Old" English word usage.
I've read many horror novels and have seen many horror movies, but nothing has ever actually scared me. While this book didn't scare me, it did give me some fun chills. The era and place feel like characters, too. Definitely a fun read!
It's a traditional ghost story. No frills but I enjoyed. Narration was great. Would recommend
I would love to listen to something else narrated by Ms. Larkin; her enthusiastic narration really saved what could have been a terrible audiobook. I'd be open to another book by Mr. Boyne as well, since his technical writing was good and the poor storytelling here may be a fluke on his part.
Boyne worried too much about replicating a gothic feel, and not enough about fleshing out his characters or story. If he'd reversed the tendency, it all would have been much better.
SPOILER: As an example of the poor storytelling, the sole motivation Boyne gave the mother for becoming a murderous psychopath was that she had been sexually abused as a child. This could have worked in theory, but the way he handed it left a bad taste in my mouth. The way he wrote the story, Boyne expected the reader to accept the idea that an abused child would naturally grow up to be a homicidal maniac as a truism requiring no further explanation. That just seems rather insulting towards the 99.99% victims of abuse that don't go on to commit multiple homicides to me. Handling that more intelligently would have improved the story, as well as given the mother greater depth.
Not a great book, but not a bad one either. If you like this style of gothic writing, it's worth a credit. Just don't expect it to do more than pass the time.
"Not Boyne's best book, in my opinion"
I liked the story set in and around an old mansion house, viz. Gauldlin Hall. What I liked least was that there weren't many twists in the book, like in Crippen.
Maybe introducing more characters?
The performance is alright, but I have listened to better ones. I personally liked the performance of Crippen very much.
Oh yes, certainly.
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