Review: This House is Haunted by John Boyne


this house is hauntedTitle: This House is Haunted
John Boyne
Date(s) read:
June 14 -, 2013
Bought (Softcover)


1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past.

my thoughts-01

In case you didn’t know, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for a super scary horror book. When I saw this one talked about on Twitter, I knew I had to get myself a copy. I mean, the title rearranged is mostly HAUNTED HOUSE which is a big selling point for me. When it comes to scary books a haunted house or ghosts or anything in that nature is sure to capture my interest.

This story was perfectly creepy, right from the beginning. There are very few books that can get my heart pounding, but there were definitely a few instances where my heart was just going! And to think I started reading this book at bedtime — maybe not the smartest thing?

I had first heard of John Boyne’s work after seeing his story The Boy in the Striped Pajamas at the library. The ending for that one was talked about quite a bit AND it was a middle grade book — I needed something that would surprise and scare me and something that was written more for adults because I figured that would be the scariest.

If I had to compare this to another book, I would say it was very similar to The Woman in Black. I just love stories that take place in big houses — and stories that involve creepy children. I loved that Eliza wasn’t your typical woman character of this time period — but rather, she was strong and determined in her job and to figure out the whole haunting issue. I didn’t quite like the constant reminder that her character was unattractive — I felt like one mention would’ve been enough — but I did really like her character throughout the story.

This is definitely a fast-paced read and one that will have you checking over your shoulder as you’re reading. It would be a perfect October read!


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4 thoughts on “Review: This House is Haunted by John Boyne

  1. I was looking at this book a while ago and it looked like a rip-off of The Turn of the Screw and Rebecca (I was also unimpressed with the title). I was afraid that ignoring these factors I wouldn’t get the pay-off of a genuinely creepy ghost story. You have convinced me to give it a try, though. – Kirt

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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