Tag Archive > Susan Hill

Dolly: A Ghost Story

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Dolly: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, book reviewDolls are curious things – they hold a fascination for their ability to be both attractively cute and yet quietly unsettling. Many children love playing with dolls, but their appearance of cold little figures with unmoving faces has long made them a popular choice for scary stories (think of Child Play’s Chucky and Fats the ventriloquist dummy in Magic). A Stephen King has noted, “dolls with no little girls around to mind them were sort of creepy under any conditions”. It is perhaps time, therefore, that this popular horror motif made an appearance in a book by noted ghost story writer Susan Hill. She has duly obliged by writing Dolly, which was aptly published shortly before Halloween this year.

In Dolly, we meet two cousins – Edward and Leonora – who are sent to spend the summer in the Fens with their Aunt Kestrel.


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The Woman in Black

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The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, book reviewThe Woman in Black is a classic of modern ghost stories. First published in 1983, the story has had a varied existence as first a novel, then a play, film, TV adaptation and object of study for GCSE and A level English students. It has become the second longest running play in the West End of London (beaten only by The Mousetrap), and has most lately risen to prominence again as the subject of a new big budget film starring Daniel Radcliffe. To mark the release of the film, Profile Books have brought out a handsome new hardback edition of the novel, with cover and chapter headings decorated in beautifully gothic woodcut images and printed on paper that feels luxuriously thick and creamy to anyone more used to reading cheap mass-market paperbacks. I did meet the author Susan Hill at a Cheltenham Literature Festival event discussing writing ghost stories a couple of years ago, and she struck me then as a woman who was a master of this type of story; I mentally added her name to my “must read” list right then.


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