The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters


In The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters writes an engrossing tale of a postwar British doctor who is peculiarly connected to a historic manor house from his childhood and the aged family who has occupied it for generations. Bordering on obsessive, Dr. Faraday half-heartedly pursues the manor's eldest daughter, Caroline Ayres, who is steadily slipping into a downward spiral, going from eccentric to seemingly downright mad. Unclear by his own motives, the doctor cannot decide what continues to draw him closer to the family. Is it truly his affection for Caroline or his own childhood connection with the manor? The Ayres family - worn and from an era past, struggle to maintain their grip on reality as countless tragedies ensue and obscurity surround them. The house - now similarly dilapidated, adds to the layers of mystery. Is the house haunted with spirits of the past? Or are the inhabitants haunted by their loss of sanity? Prepare for a story that takes readers on a journey with ghosts from the past and a tale that has a family continually questioning their sanity. Waters writes a riveting gothic ghost story that grabs readers and fails to let go until the very last page is turned.

Submitted by Danielle R. - Technical Services, Serials Department
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters is the kind of ghost story that fans of Henry James and Shirley Jackson wish there were more of. The horror is subtle and psychological, not explicitly gruesome. The place is Warwickshire England and the time is shortly after WWII. The narrator, a local physician, is called to treat one of the maids at the home of an upper class family whose fortunes are in decline. Awed by the family's wealth as a child, the doctor is now taken aback to see how much things have deteriorated. The once grand house is crumbling and in need of repair, it's inhabitants' money almost gone.

The doctor finds himself paying frequent visits to the household and getting involved in the lives of the family members. He develops a romantic interest in the unattractive spinster sister who is just barely keeping the family finances together. As strange, inexplicable things begin to happen in the house, the doctor becomes obsessed with getting to the bottom of them.

Although the pace of the narrative is leisurely, the story is gripping. Keep reading at least until you reach the part where the child is bitten by a dog--after that you will not be able to put the book down. Not just a ghost story, this is also an examination of England's class system, as well as a perceptive character study. The chilling ending took me completely by surprise, and had me wanting to reread the entire book in search of clues.

Submitted by Mary @ Forest Home

Bookmark and Share




Powered by Movable Type 5.2

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on August 27, 2011 9:16 AM.

The Mindset Lists of American History by Tom McBride was the previous entry in this blog.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.