Book Review: The Woman in Black

HARRY Potter alumni, Daniel Radcliffe, has been cast in the big-screen adaptation of Susan Hill’s modern classic, The Woman in Black, which hits cinemas this month.

The Woman in Black

Susan Hill

A mainstay on GCSE reading lists since its publication in 1983, The Woman in Black has also been adapted for the stage and is still running in its thirteenth year as undoubtedly the most terrifying theatre experience.

Hill’s original book tells the story of Arthur Kipp, a young solicitor, summoned to Eel Marsh house upon the death of reclusive proprietor, Alice Drablow, in order to organise her affairs.

His interest is piqued when, at Alice’s funeral, he witnesses a pale, wasted lady, who is stared at from afar by a group of visibly terrified children.

Completely cut off by treacherous marshes surrounding the house, Kipp experiences unexplained noises and increasingly terrifying encounters, as he works alone to clarify Alice’s murky past.

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No-one in nearby village, Crythin Gifford, will give Kipp any information about the house, or its late owner, and any attempt to explain the ghostly occurrences is met with fear and sometimes, pained reactions.

Kipp slowly uncovers the heart-breaking tragedy suffered by Eel Marsh residents in the past and begins to understand why the locals of Crythin Gifford, especially the children, remain so terrified of the house.

Hill has created a chilling thriller, suspenseful and gruesomely frightening, with no reprieve for any of her characters, save for a glimmer of hope for Kipp after he finally escapes Eel Marsh to build a life of his own in London-but has the woman in black been irrevocably disturbed by his presence and how will she exact her revenge?