Review: The Book Collector – Alice Thompson

 

22 - The Book Collector

Rating – 4*

This book may be small but it is certainly mighty. At just over 150 pages I was concerned that it wouldn’t provide all it promised, but it did and it provided so much more. It’s my first book by both Alice Thompson, and from the publisher, but it certainly won’t be my last.

We follow Violet, a young, influential girl who is seemingly swept off of her feet by a book collector, Archie. They marry, have a son, everything is rosy. Then the rose tinted goggles start to come away from Violet, she starts to see things, and as a reader you question her sanity. From this point the book takes a decidedly dark and twisty turn of events – we have a visit to the local asylum, murder, adultery; it’s all so very creepy and I loved it.

This comprises of such a small cast of characters, while they’re not all fully fleshed out  I think that it added to the story. The murky atmosphere, and not quite knowing everything, really boosted the book for me. This is one of the best, modern, Gothic novels I’ve read (and I love a Gothic Novel). It had elements of Rebecca which were done really well, not in an outright mimic of du Maurier but in a very subtle way which was really effective.

The writing here was really vivid. There was beautiful use of language, the atmosphere was created masterfully, the interwoven fairy tales also really worked for me. My one resounding impression from reading this though is that it would make such a good stage production. It was dark and creepy, but also beautiful. When I was reading this, I could see it all so clearly… Oh I so hope this is adapted in some way!

To explain the 4* rating; for me it was a little short and a bit too snappy. While I loved it the way it was, I wish there was just something more!

Buy this Book

Review: The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

WomanInBlackThis is a really good, spooky novella. I didn’t get to read this when I was at school, my sister got to read this and go to see it at the theatre, I can understand now why her friend was afraid to walk home in the dark afterwards!

The best way to describe this is it’s what I hoped The Woman in White was going to be. I loved The Woman in White, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting but THIS is exactly the sort of scenario I had imagined when I decided to pick TWiW up. It’s like Susan Hill read TWiW and was disappointed so wrote The Woman in Black to counter it, wrote what she wanted to read.

I loved this. It was short and snappy but equally it was packed with description and atmospherics. The writing was beautiful, vivid and creepy. It definitely managed to get under my skin even though there isn’t really too many scary parts. The descriptions were spot on and the whole book is simply eerie even though, in thinking back to it, nothing really huge actually happens.

My only criticism is the ending seemed a bit hashed. It was very poor and when reading the introductory paragraph to the final chapter it was pretty clear where it was going. It could have been achieved in a much more – and I use the word tenuously – believable fashion. It felt rushed and that disappointed me.

Final rating 3/5