This House is Haunted by John Boyne is a suspenseful gothic novel, which keeps the reader hooked with every page turn, writes JOANNA HAGUE
Review of This House is Haunted by John Boyne
John Boyne is an Irish novelist who has written over 20 books that have been published in over 50 languages, is writing career spanning over 30 years so far. His most famous book The Boy in the Striped Pyjama’s sold over 11 million copies worldwide and was later made into a movie, this is also an amazing book.
This House is Haunted, first published in 2013, arrived in the post with one of my book subscriptions. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. It has a modern twist on the classic haunted house novels. One of my favourite genres is gothic horror and this book certainly did not disappoint.
The story is set in 1867, a father and daughter make their way through the dreary streets of London to attend a reading by the world-famous Charles Dickins. On their way home from the theatre, Eliza’s father is taken ill and unfortunately death followed close for him. Leaving her alone in London, Eliza realises that the home she grew up in was not owned by her father and she was soon to be homeless.
One night while glancing through the paper she sees an advert for the position of governess, still grieving she rashly applies for the job. Receiving a letter saying she has been accepted for the position, Eliza quits her teaching job in an all-girls school, packs up the little that she has and jumps on the first train to Norfolk to begin her new life in the country.
Arriving at the station, Eliza gets a taste of things to come when invisible hands try to push her on to the train tracks in front of a train. Luckly she is rescued by the doctor of the village but when she explains why she is there, he immediately changes his expression and hurries away.
Finally arriving at Gaudlin Hall, Eliza realises that all is not as it seems. She is welcomed into the house by the children, and it appears that there are alone there. After a restless night sleep, Eliza ventures into the local village trying to find some answers but everyone she speaks to about the Hall seems to avoid the subject and quickly leave.
Frustrated and left with more questions than answers, she makes her way back to Gaudlin Hall where things appear to be stranger and stranger. A strong wind tries to prevent her from entering, nearly knocking her off her feet and invisible hands try to push her out of a previously locked window in her room.
After much insisting, Eliza learns the fate of the previous governesses and the demise of the parents of the children who are now in her charge. Over her time at the Hall, Eliza has formed a bond with the child and not wanting to leave them on their own, Eliza vows to say at the Hall no matter what tragedies come her way.
Things are not what they seem at Gaudlin Hall, stones dislodging from the roof raining down on her, strong winds coming from nowhere lifting her off her feet and a mysterious man that has been talking to the children, Eliza heads to the village in search of the truth.
Finally with the answers she has been searching for, Eliza discovers a hidden room in the attic, a secret door hidden on the outside of the building and but the last governess of Gaudlin still refuses to talk to her. Will Eliza survive Gaudlin Hall, or will it claim another governess?
This House is Haunted keeps you hooked on the turn of every page; it made me crave more at the end of each chapter. I tried all the way through the book to figure out what was going on and the ending does not disappoint. I would highly recommend this book, particularly if you enjoy the classic haunted house story line.
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