Monday, November 11, 2013

The Small Hand and Dolly, by Susan Hill

A pair of ghostly stories.  In the first, a rare book dealer stumbled upon a deserted house in the country.  He feels a small hand grab his, despite the fact that he is alone.  From that point on, he continues to be visited by the small hand, and a compulsion to hurl himself into water.  In the second story, a spoiled young girl is sent to spend time with her aunt.  When her aunt buys her a doll, the girl shows contempt for it, because it does not meet her exact specifications.  Her bad behavior has lifelong consequences.

I found this pair of spooky stories to be delightful, and chillingly effective.  In the first story, I felt that the setting was beautifully developed.  I could see the house and the gardens in my mind.  In fact, it was almost as if a short movie were playing in my head as I read, something I always take as the sign of a strong story.  The ambiance of the story was very good.  The characters had a decidedly British feel to them.  The were a little distant, I never felt as if I got to know them that well, but it was not really necessary.

The second story was a little creepier than the first.  Once again, we had a decidedly creepy setting, an estate in the fens.  However, the characters are much more important to the story than the setting.  As a result the characters were much more developed than the first story.  However, I did not really find any of the characters all that likeable, so I was not as drawn into the story.  The action and plot was still spooky, and I was able to enjoy the story even if I disliked the characters.

The book is a quick read, and likely to appeal to fans of thrillers or paranormal stories.  

I received a review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest review.



If you liked this review, please rate it (and others!) as helpful on my Amazon profile. My Amazon Profile