[Book Review] The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

the haunting of hill house

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a classic horror novel. Following the story of four adults as they plan to spend the summer in reclusive and unmentionable Hill House, the occupants soon learn the reason why no one goes there.

Despite the novel being published originally in 1959, I have not yet read it, but it has always been a book I’ve wanted to read.

The novel lives up to its hype, and is truly scary. I found there were moments where Jackson’s writing got under my skin and left me scared, leading me to put the novel down for the moment to calm down. It has been a long time since I’ve read a novel that’s affected me in such a way.

The writing style of the novel is interesting, at times there are more than one conversation going on, particularly when it comes to Mrs Dudley, as she parrots back her rules whilst other characters talk around her. It gives the sections a feeling of her not being there, adding to the haunting element of the tale.

Eleanor is also an interesting character, especially as she begins to ‘feel’ the house and gives the house an almost lifelike description.

This book is definitely one I would recommend for those who are interested in a good scary story. Shirley Jackson crafts a ghost story that gets under your skin and wanting to read more despite the fear you’re feeling.

[Book Review] The Owl Service by Alan Garner

the owl service

The Owl Service by Alan Garner is an modern day ghost story. The novel follows three children as they discover a dinner service found in an attic and unravels a story as ancient as the mountains about revenge.

Taking elements from the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, Alan Garner weaves a tale of these children as they learn more about their place in the Welsh country side, where they belong and the history of the Valleys.

The novel is interesting in its uses of the Fourth Branch. Garner takes the Fourth Branch, and uses it’s to its own advantage. I wrote ghost story earlier, and that remains to be true, but it is not a ghost story in the typical fashion, it’s a ghost story in the way that the past comes back to haunt you. Starting from the dinner service, to the murals, to the owls, Garner weaves a tale that not only captures the myth, but also reinvents the myth.

The novels light writing style allows for a quick read, but delivers in Garners vast knowledge of the myth and the Welsh countryside. It is an exciting story from beginning to end, and despite having read the Mabinogi since childhood, I was still left guessing as to what the conclusion to the novel was going to be.

I enjoyed reading this book, it’s an exciting take on an old story.

Have you read The Owl Service? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!