This House Is Haunted

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Some years ago, John Boyne was one of my favorite authors. I read all his books, and the main thing I enjoyed was how, with each and every book, he was able to switch the tone so completely. All books had different genres, from different time period historical fictions, to western and detective. I liked it a lot, so it seemed strange maybe that I have not kept up with his books. I don’t really know why, but I was a little bit hesitant to read this one, since the title seemed like a rather big spoiler for the story.

It however starts intriguing. Miss Eliza Caine blames Charles Dickens for the recent death of her father. In need of a change of scenery, she applies for a governess job in the country. But as soon as she arrives, things are a bit funny and the villagers hardly dare to look upon her. I don’t want to spoil here, but could the house be haunted?

Once again John Boyne captures the spirit (no pun intended) and style of – in this particular tale – Victorian Ghost stories. Like in Victorian fashion the story is also rather slow, and this is mainly due to characters withholding rather important information for the new governess. This is something I always dislike in books. When the characters start explaining something, and then stop in the middle saying – oh dear, it is already time for tea we will discuss further next week – (implying if you are still alive and have not yet succumbed to the horrors that I was going to tell you next week).

I am not sure what to think of it. It was a nice enough read, but the characters annoyed me a bit. Also, Miss Caine seemed a bit slow to grasp unto things at times and her actions didn’t always make sense. And it lacked a certain amount of surprise for me.

I have some other of his books unread on my shelves as well. I hope they will be a better match.

This House Is Haunted – John Boyne

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