Reading Wrap-Up {4} – 2 Gothics from the 1980s

Reading Wrap-Up is an occasional post where I share a few quick thoughts on books not received for review. I borrowed these two Gothic classics from the library:

by Susan Hill

I’d always thought this book had been published around the turn of the last century, so I was surprised to learn it came out in the 1980s. The author captures the eerie atmosphere of an old fashioned Victorian Gothic perfectly. There were a couple of scenes that really gave me the chills. I think I said, “No! Arthur, don’t go in that room!!” But, he did. 🙂  I liked the ending of the book. It was fitting for the overall story, but also very sad. Malevolent ghosts aren’t reasonable creatures after all…

by Mary Downing Hahn

Another ghost story from the 80s! FYI: This is a middle grade book about a restless spirit named Helen who haunts a blended family, especially the youngest daughter, Heather. I love how they lived in an old church out in the middle of nowhere, with a cemetery just a few yards away from their bedroom windows. Creepy. The author did a great job with the creep-factor, though nothing over the top scary. It was fun trying to figure out why Helen was targeting Heather, and what connection, if any, they had to each other. My daughter read this book in 4th grade, and she enjoyed it too.

14 thoughts on “Reading Wrap-Up {4} – 2 Gothics from the 1980s

  1. I loved reading Wait Till Helen Comes. Need to reread it. I learned about it when I was volunteering for my daughter’s elementary librarian in the late ’80’s. I haven’t read The Woman In Black yet, but I did read Susan Hill’s mystery series last year or rather listened to it. Loved it.

  2. I would like to give Susan Hill a try. It sounds like she did a great job with creating a Gothic atmosphere. I’ll have to look for The Woman in Black. Wait Till Helen Comes sounds good too. Maybe one to keep in mind for my daughter and I went she’s older.

  3. I am absolutely sure I read and loved Wait Till Helen Comes when it first came out in the 80s. I loved spooky ghosty books and that title brings back memories! I didn’t realize The Woman in Black was so recent. We saw it in play form and it was absolutely terrifying!

  4. I enjoyed reading The Woman in Black but thought the film OK. I’ve to check out Wait till Helen Comes. Sounds good!

  5. The library in town where I grew up was small, so at an early age I finished up with all the ‘kids’ books and the librarians let me go to the gothic novels (this was late 60’s). I grew up reading Jane Aiken Hodge, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and the like. Nothing like a good gothic novel.

  6. I haven’t read or heard of either, but am always happy for gothic recommendations. I think I’ll tell my eldest granddaughter about Wait Till Helen Comes.
    By the way, I like that you have found a personal niche of book genre that you really enjoy and love to read! Your blog is responsible for making me think about all the wonderful gothic titles I read as a teen/young adult, when it was my favorite type of story!

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