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Book Thoughts: The Haunting of Hill House

Book Thoughts: The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller
Published on November 28, 2006
Genres: Horror, Gothic
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback

Source: Barnes and Noble

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting."

Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

For starters, I decided I’m going to do book reviews a little differently. If it’s a book I’m just reading of my own accord, it’ll be more informal. If it’s a book I’m reading for a publisher I’ll keep to my traditional way of doing things!

Anyways, I just finished The Haunting of Hill House, and first of all, SHIRLEY JACKSON WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

How could I have gone so long without reading a Jackson novel? I feel ashamed. I’m obsessed. I’m in love. I have never felt such dread while reading a book before.

I also had to read The Lottery once I started to learn more about her, and read the terrific book introduction (Penguins Classic version FTW). Well, obviously, one of my new favorite short stories ever.

Jackson knows how to write a persistent ache of tension and suspense perhaps better than any modern horror writer. I’ve read quite a bit of horror and many thrillers, but despite the fact, Hill House has no “ghosts,” it made me more uneasy than anything I’ve read previously.

The first thing I did after finishing the book was to spend time online reading analytical essays. I love that this novel is so open-ended. There is so much to unpack. I felt I could relate to Eleanor’s sense of isolation; perhaps that is one reason I was so unnerved. I couldn’t help but wonder what Hill House would do to me, had I stayed.

Reading the book also made me appreciate the Netflix series much more. Despite their differences, Flanagan indeed did a magnificent job of conveying the sense of palpable fear the house drums up.

Sure the series was more flashy and had actual entities, but it felt sincere to the story. Especially the addition of the red room, which makes perfect sense why it fits so well once you’ve read the book.

Anyway, I feel like I could go on forever and should say something amazing and in-depth but I’m coming up blank at the moment. I think I will revisit the dark corners of Hill House soon and form more coherent thoughts about it.

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

I received this book for free from Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin StarlingThe Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Published on April 2, 2019
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 411
Format: ARC

Source: Harper Voyager

A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.

Instead, she got Em. Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

Here are 3 reasons why you need to read, The Luminous Dead, an intense psychological sci-fi thriller about a harrowing caving expedition.

The PR team at Harper Voyager were kind enough to provide me with a copy of The Luminous Dead, the debut novel from author Caitlin Starling, in exchange for an honest review.

I was drawn to The Luminous Dead due to comparisons to Jeff VanderMeer’s horrifying sci-fi novel (and film) Annihilation, which blew me away last year. I’m happy to say The Luminous Dead is a worthy comparison and is one of the most tense, atmospheric, and claustrophobic novels I’ve read in a long time. It’s a marvel Starling was able to create such an intense read when the story only contains two characters, and yet it’s never dull.

If you need more incentive to check out the book, I’ve got three reasons for you.

Read my full review at 1428 Elm.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Little Darlings by Melanie GoldingLittle Darlings by Melanie Golding
Genres: Thriller, Fiction, Horror, Mystery
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 304
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy's The Perfect Mother.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

The idea of a changeling child is legendary lore passed through multitudes of cultures around the world for a reason. What could be more frightening than the idea of an unknown being stealing away your children – and even worse, what if you didn’t even know they were stolen until it was much too late?

Melanie Golding approaches the dark heart of fairy tales we all know and love. She bypasses the rosy sheen and instead settles among the black, thorny nettles behind every Disney-fied story into the beating Grimm heart of it all.

The story of Lauren Tranter is a tragedy, a sinister tale about a woman lost to the wilds of her imagination and the gloomy enchantment of a shadow witch who may or may not be real. Is Lauren manifesting demons as part of postpartum depression, or is she truly being stalked by an agent of the watery abyss?

Little Darlings is a fine piece of literary work that falls under the disguise of a thriller only because of the police involvment in the story. The menial police casework is one of the weaker elements of the novel – despite Detective Joanna Harper and her keenness to believe Lauren against all odds being compelling, it is Lauren’s journey that proves the more fascinating one. Both in terms of plot and in terms of character.

In the future, I would love to see Golding’s take on other fables and fairy tales. I appreciate female authors who take it upon themselves to explore the, sometimes, hideous introspection of the female psyche, particularly as they pertain to maternity – a subject that is often so nullified and squeaky clean in media, it’s nice to see an author who embraces it with all its potential pitfalls.

Little Darlings qualifies as my first book of the #SpringHorrorReadathon!