Summary (from Goodreads):
The “New York Times” bestseller and Booker Prize contender that “delivers…a ghost story that creeps up your spine” (“Seattle Times”).
One post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline. Its owners-mother, son, and daughter-are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.
This was my first novel by Sarah Waters and I have to admit that I would not have picked it up had it not been this months book club read.
The first few … seventy pages actually, were quite, for lack of a better word, boring. Nothing happens. There were details after painful details describing the house, Hundreds, and the people within it. It came to a point that I wanted nothing more than to put an end to the descriptions by closing the pages and never looking at it again. Then …
Something happened. And this something lead to a series of more somethings that they begged the questions, “What is causing this? Why now? Why? Why? Why?”
The story is slowly paced, but it creeps over you … brushes past you … teases you … scratches you. It’s nothing if not suspenseful. It cannot be ignored, and it certainly cannot be put down.
I am still uncertain about who or what the little stranger might be; I have more questions now than I did before; I cannot help replaying scenes from the novel trying to figure it out …; and I cannot stop thinking about the characters, the house, the story, the mystery, the tragedy.
The story is richly detailed and intelligently written. Sarah Waters has written the kind of novel that is rare and the kind that I adore – the kind of story that I keep thinking about days after the final line has been read.
If your reading style tends towards gothic mysteries or you like suspense and mysteries in general, then this one comes highly recommended!