It was a little before nine o'clock, the sun was setting into a bank of smoky violet cloud and I had lost my way.
–Susan Hill - The small hand: a ghost story - c. 2010 - pg.1
Coming home one evening from meeting with a client, rare books dealer Adam Snow takes a wrong turn and ends up outside a derelict Edwardian house. For some strange reason he is drawn to this building and its wilderness of gardens and finds himself wandering through the overgrown weeds. And, standing all alone, he feels the strangest of sensations. A small hand, in his. As though he were a father taking hold of a son’s hand. But he is not a father. And there is no child.
This was a total impulse purchase. I just liked the look of the cover and I knew the author’s name. That combined with the 3 for 2 offer was enough.
It is a slight book. Less than 200 pages, but it is well worth the read. Hill tells the story in a very old-fashioned sort of way. One of the characters mentions The Turn of the Screw and this book echoes that gothic feel. Perfect for the RIP challenge. I only wish I’d read it curled up by the fire instead of on a delayed train. Still, it kept me entertained, so I won’t complain.
I want to say that it this is told in a very sparse style, but I think that may be a little off-putting, so I’m adding this caveat. I think this style suits this book perfectly. And I don’t want you to think that it isn’t a descriptive book, because it has some wonderful passages describing the abandoned White House and an isolated French monastery.
And as the story develops we gradually learn more about our narrator and the sparseness of his life, so it is very fitting :)