"After their English aunt dies, listless American twins Julia and Valentina travel to London to live in their aunt's now empty flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery. There they become embroiled in the day-to-day sagas of their eccentric neighbors. But soon they discover that something is alive in Highgate--something unable to move on."
Jonathan Stroud’s latest book is a thrilling fantasy set in England in which ghosts roam the nights. Only the very young can see, hear, or otherwise sense spirits. As children near puberty, abilities to see or hear spirits surface, and they are thereby trained and employed by businesses whose sole purpose is to identify and detain or destroy the spirits.
Zach, Poppy and Alice are at an age where they should be putting away such things as dolls. At least this is what everyone keeps telling them. By using their action figures, Barbies and dolls they have purchased from Goodwill, they have created their own unique fantasy world of pirates, ladies and one bone-china doll they have dubbed Queen. To save their friendship, Poppy takes Queen out of her mother's cabinet and strange things begin to happen.
A good ghost story works beneath the surface of our attention, shifting it now and again to a telling plot insight and then letting it sink back into eerie atmosphere. In the recently republished novella Mrs. God, author Peter Straub so masterfully submerges our attention into the uncanny that we cannot see the direction of our journey, or even better, where we had been led.
A ghost story, this is considered by many to be the best in modern time. Written in 1983, made into a successful stage play in 1989, and soon to be a major motion picture, this atmospheric tale is set in the stormy moors on the coast of England where the fog is so dense one can become lost in an instant. Arthur Kipps, attorney, is sent by his firm to settle the Drablow estate following the death of the last family member, Alice.
Sometimes, as a book reviewer, it's best to just get out of the way as quickly as possible. Such is the case with this review of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, one of the great ghost novels in the English language.