I read this novel in anticipation of the Netflix series of the same name, and I came away from it with mixed feelings. The plot of the novel centers around four people who decide to temporarily reside in Hill House to investigate possible supernatural goings-on: Eleanor, a free spirit who may have had experiences with the paranormal before, Theodora, an entitled young woman, Luke, the future heir of Hill House, and Dr. Montague, who is head of the experiment. The longer they stay in Hill House, though, the more unnerved they become by events that occur…
There is certainly a tense, spooky atmosphere throughout the whole book, and I was regularly unnerved by simple noises around my house during my reading experience. The characters all have their own personalities and motivations for being at the house, and when the terrifying segments do occur, they’re truly blood-chilling. Jackson also unravels the history of Hill House in a slow-burn, spectacular fashion that made me want to know even more about what could have transpired at the home.
My negatives with this novel are the fact that it’s not extremely scary, as I had expected it to be, and the ending wasn’t satisfying for me personally. I was certainly rattled by what was happening in the story, but nothing scared me to the core or made me sleep with the lights on. The ending was somewhat ambiguous, even though one loose end was tightened. I also felt like this was too short of an experience, and I longed to spend more time with the characters and the home.
If you’re looking for a mildly spooky book to read that has a great atmosphere and interesting characters, then definitely give The Haunting of Hill House a read. If you want something scarier and with a quicker pace, this probably won’t be your tea cup of stars.
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