Review: This House is Haunted by John Boyne

Title: This House is Haunted
Author: John Boyne
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Published: April 25, 2013
Ebook, ARC
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:
1866, London. As Charles Dickens takes to a London stage on a foggy Autumn night to read from his ghost stories, Eliza Caine and her father settle into their seats. A huge admirer of the novelist, Mr Caine has insisted on attending, despite his worsening cold. Returning home, a fever hits him and within 24 hours he is dead, leaving Eliza alone in the world.A teacher by trade, Eliza notices an advertisement for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk. Deciding that she needs to start over, she applies for and is offered the job. Arriving at Thorpe station she is almost pushed beneath a train but is saved by two villagers who, although initially friendly, become quiet and uneasy when she mentions the position she has accepted.Arriving at Gaudlin, Eliza meets the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. To her surprise, they appear to live there alone. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her employer. The children, however, seem to expect her and show her to her room. From the night she arrives a series of disturbing incidents take place, each one of which threatens her life, and slowly Eliza begins to believe that this house is haunted.A solicitor in the village reveals some of the secrets of Gaudlin to her, others she must discover for herself. The action takes us from a London classroom to a Norfolk grand estate, and from a small Spanish town to a graveyeard in Great Yarmouth. Eliza refuses to be frightened away from her position; if she is to survive Gaudlin and save the children, then she must take on the ghost herself.

My thoughts:
I'm not one for scary stories. I do like a good ghost story, though. And this is a good ghost story. It has a Gothic feel like the novels of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. Definitely creepy, but you won't have to sleep with the lights on. Which is perfect for a scardy cat like myself.

The story line consists of a young woman named Eliza who, after her father dies suddenly, takes up a governess position in Gaudlin Hall. When she arrives, she immediately notices things are not what they should be. The only residents of the house are two young children. Who, to say the least, are a bit off. From Eliza's first night in the house the terror begins. She's attacked by an unknown force.

The mystery in this novel is just as intriguing as the paranormal aspect. Eliza sets out to find why the children are alone in the house. What happened to the previous governesses (and there were quite a few whose lives ended tragically.) Where are the children's parents? And why won't anyone talk about Gaudlin Hall. All these questions and more build up the suspense in this novel. So this house is definitely haunted, and if Eliza were smart, she'd get out. But of course that would make for a dull novel.

I think fans of the classic 'ghost stories' will like this book a lot. It's tame enough that young  readers might enjoy it as well. John Boyne is a new-to-me author, and I enjoyed my first experience with his work. Other books by Boyne include: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Thief of Time, and The Dare. 

My rating: