Review: The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger
Written by Sarah Waters
Published by Riverhead Books on May 10, 2010
512 pages
Purchased for October book club


The Little Stranger follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifFirsyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

First of all, there were many times I just wanted to stop reading and not because I was scared. I felt this book was about 150 pages too long. I never felt any pangs of fear or anxiety. It was incredibly slow-moving and I got caught in all the minutia of clothing descriptions.

Was Hundreds Hall haunted? I have no clue. I don’t it was developed enough to really care about the house or its characters. The Hall was in a very sad state; but whether a ghost or something resided there, it just wasn’t that clear. It was sad seeing the Ayres slowly losing their way in life; but it wasn’t really scary or suspenseful. I keep waiting for that “holy crap” moment, but it never really came.

This book never left me wondering what happens next and it wasn’t a page-turner for me. I was difficult to get through. I found it really hard to want to figure out what was happening at Hundreds Hall. It never piqued my interest or curiosity.

I guess, this book really shouldn’t considered “horror” or “suspense.” It’s more historical fiction and a look into post word war II England. It did give an interesting portrayal of the upper class losing their ancestral homes and their position in society. Maybe that is the heart of the book: that loss contributing to the psychological break of the family. The slow crumbling of the Hall mirrors the slow decline of the family.

I do have my own theories of what happened at Hundreds Hall for the author never gives any real answers or hints for that matter. I don’t want to give away any spoilers; but I think Dr. Faraday’s obsession with the Hall could have played a big party of the tragedies that occurred there. I’m looking forward to my book club to hear what the others have to say about this book. I didn’t like it; but I know others did.



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