This House is Haunted by John Boyne – A Discussion!

20130807_165821This House is Haunted captivated me from the very first sentence:

‘I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father.’

Who wouldn’t want to read on after that?

John Boyne tells his ghost story superbly.  He introduces the main character, Eliza Caine with enough background information to interest the reader but not bore them with unnecessary details.  Eliza’s father passes away and she is left alone in the world.  She leaves her position as a school teacher to begin afresh as a governess at Gaudlin Hall.

As soon as she reaches the platform near death experiences begin to follow her.  This is when the ghostly part of the story begins.  I do not want to spoil the plot for any future readers but I will say that there were some parts of the story that gave me chills, the reason behind the haunting is plausible and the ending was satisfyingly eerie.

I really enjoyed reading the book and have to say that it is one of the better ghost stories that have been released recently.


‘the toes dancing beneath the sheets, a sensation of the most delightful pleasure, until a pair of hands grabbed both my ankles tightly…’

‘And I would never allow it to harm the children, although that did not seem to be its intention anyway.’

‘It did my soul some good to wander freely.’

Games by Robin Klein – A Discussion

20130406_121159_resized 20130406_121225_resizedI came across this book while sorting through my collections and decided to give it another read.  Robin Klein was one of my favourite Australian authors growing up.  I especially loved Came Back to Show You I Could Fly.  

Games is a teenage ghost story that is actually quite scary.  I wont spoil the ending for anyone that may want to read or re-read it but I will say that Klein builds suspense nicely and gives you little frights at the perfect moments.  The story is about three girls who stay at one of their Aunt’s place while she is away without permission.  Strange things start to happen. Some can be explained by the girls themselves but there is definitely something or someone in the house with them.  The story ties up any loose ends and is very plausible which I respect as an avid ghost story reader.

I also really like the references to Melbourne – the setting, places that are familiar to me and the specific Australian slang.

Some Quotes to entice future readers;

* ‘Then froze, staring at a pair of feet shod in white, which were standing quite still, waiting, on the very top step.’

* ”Geelong somewhere! Am I supposed to ring every Geelong number in the phone book then?  Strewth, who let you out?”

* ‘And something else, a long, cold white hand, reaching in through that dark space.’

* ‘She stood frozen, until the thought of those pale, dead fingers reaching up in the dark to encircle her ankle sent her leaping for the switch near the door.’

The Turning by Francine Prose – A Discussion (Contains Spoilers)


A new ghost story to add to my collection.

Discussion Notes:

* I liked the way the author combined modern technology with the old way of living – The main character (Jack) types and prints his letters to his girlfriend but still has to send it via snail mail

* A haunted house is always a good hook for me – especially if it is painted black.

* A good introduction to the story – travelling to an isolated island on a boat

* The story is told through letters from Jack to his girlfriend.  I liked this technique as you can get a glimpse into Jack’s most intimate thoughts.

* Not as scary as I would have liked  but I did appreciate the imagery Prose created and the ending left you guessing if the ghosts were real or just in Jack’s head.

Has any one else read any good new ghost stories lately?  

Favourite Ghost Stories


For those of you that like to read a ghost story in the middle of the night, all alone and even though you are frightened and want to stop reading you just can’t…this list of recommendations is just for you!

5) Ring by Koji Suzuki – The movie scared me and so did the book.

4) The Ghost Writer by John Harwood – You almost forget that this is a ghost story for the first part of the book and just enjoy the interesting plot but then all of a sudden you are hit with scariness.  Harwood builds the suspense perfectly.  I also recommend his other ghost story The Seance. 

3) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – A classic, short but creepy tale.  Leaves you thinking about what happened for a while.

2)  Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King – This is my favourite of Stephen King’s short story collaboration.  There are some scary tales in this book.  I particularly liked ‘Autopsy Room 4‘ and ‘1408’.

1) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – I read this when I was by myself at the edge of a forest in Germany.  I was so scared that I had to finish it off in the day time.  Okay so it may have been the circumstances that made it so terrifying the first time but it still gives me chills each time I read it and Susan Hill is the queen of the ghost story, one of my favourite authors.