The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, 463 pages
published in '09
I looked up the meaning of Gothic literature at wikipedia, and would have to agree that this book is a classic Gothic novel. All the main characteristics are here: terror, mystery, ghosts, haunted houses, castles, decay, and madness. Waters has taken the time period, the 1940s post-war England, of her last novel The Night Watch, and used to to craft and suspenseful period piece which chronicles the changing of life in England, especially for the aristocracy.
The beauty of a suspenseful ghost story is having the story play out, with no awareness of what is to come. Any detail I give will lessen the experience for another reader, so not many details from me on that count. I liked the characters, and the life at Hundred's Hall, home of the Ayres, was vividly brought to life. It represents a period of British history that changed so dramatically after World War II. I was on the edge of my chair as the plot slowly unfolded, and like most mysteries, my imagination was going in many different directions, wondering what could be happening, and was generally more vivid than reality. My scientific brain tried to analyse what was happening, much like the doctor narrator, and it conflicted with the evidence at hand. I was left a little confused at the ending, but this would make a terrific movie - picture Pemberley Estate for the setting. (if you read this book, and want to discuss any details of the books, so I am not posting spoilers here, feel free to email me)
If you like slow building suspense tales, British castles and Gothic romance perfectly described, this book should be great.
also reviewed by Jackie at farmlane books, jenny at jennys books, nicola at back-to-books,