1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.
When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.
From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises 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. – Goodreads.com
This was a great book – a true 19th century classic ghost story with a wonderful setting of a sinister old family mansion full of secrets in a small English town. It’s not an in-your-face horror novel, but an elaborately written tale that is chilling and suspenseful.
Eliza’s character was very well-developed and easy to like and she was such a strong woman for the time period. Not exactly a “modern”, as they said in the book, but a woman who wasn’t afraid to be a little more assertive and determined than most of that period.
The children were a little creepy – not Children of the Corn creepy – just a little off, although Eliza grows to care for them and doesn’t go screaming into the night and abandon them when strange things begin to happen. The ending offered a twist I never saw coming, but it seemed appropriate.
I could easily have read this book in one sitting due to the pacing and suspense and would have preferred a dark, rainy night to do so – an ideal time to read ghost stories – but unfortunately wasn’t able to do that. With Halloween coming, this is the perfect time to read a ghost story and if you prefer foggy, eerie, and ominous over blood, guts, and gore, this is the book for you.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.