Melody
ISBN-13: 9780143039983
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Published: November 2006
182 pgs




I have a habit of reading the introduction pages (or the Author's Notes, or any other stuff that are printed before the first chapter for that matter) but I have to say this is the book where you have to skip reading the introduction pages and jump to the story first. Why? Besides a little background of the author (which I enjoyed reading and learning more about her), they also include some information about the story and the characters which I felt are a bit of a spoiler so I would suggest anyone to read the story first unless you do not mind it at all. That said, let me get on with this review.

First, I have to thank Nymeth for mentioning this book. Without her lovely review, I would have given this book a miss. As the title indicates, this is a story that centered around Hill House and it had stood so for eighty years. It all begins when Dr. John Montague, a scholar who had taken his degree in anthropology when he wants to find some evidence of supernatural manifestations. When he heard about Hill House, he knew he had found an excellent place for his "investigations". Thus, he rented the place for three months, and he had engaged four assistants (they should fit the criteria of involving in any supernatural or abnormal event) but only Eleanor Vance and Theodora (that is as much name as she used) turned up. Together with Luke Sanderson, the future heir of Hill House, the four of them will stay in the Hill House and they shall wait to see if the supernaturals really do exist.

As much as this is about the haunted Hill House, I have to say there is much more than it. Besides the intensity thrill like any other ghost stories, this story is very much about the setting, the atmosphere, the psychological feeling and not to mention the set of characters that make this book a total different reading experience as compared with the others of the same genre. In this case, Eleanor plays an important role in this story as the readers get to experience the story from within her consciousness. Through Eleanor's perspective, the readers follow her through this grand adventure as the story moves along and that is the most intrigue experience in my opinion.

I can understand why the author chose Eleanor for this role because she is quite an interesting and a complex character. Before she took up Dr. Montague's invitation, she has been spending most of her life looking after her ailing mother and one could say she is very much a loner since she hardly interacts with anyone. However, that changes after she got acquainted with Dr. Montague's team and lives in Hill House and this is where I should stop telling more about the premise.

Oh, I feel I need to mention the housekeeper of Hill House, Mrs Dudley because she is a strange woman. She is not at all scary or menacing but there is definitely an aura of mystery surrounding her.

All in all, The Haunting of Hill House is a great read. I have also heard We Have Always Lived in the Castle is another great novel by her so this would be my next choice among her other list of books.

Other reviews:
A Striped Armchair
Bibliolatry
Books for Breakfast, Drinks for Dinner
Booknotes by Lisa
Jenny's Books
Sadie-Jean
So Many Books
Stuck in a Book
Things Mean A Lot
(Let me know if I missed yours.)

18 Responses
  1. Nymeth Says:

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Melody! And We Have Always Lived in the Castle is even better, in my opinion. I hear you on introductions...nowadays I always leave them for last because I've had the story spoiled too many times.


  2. naida Says:

    I really need to read this one! Glad you liked it. I'll make a note of it not to read the intro first.
    Great review! And very cool that you picked it up from nymeths recommendation :)
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/


  3. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I love ghost stories and big old spooky houses! But here is the funny thing. I am reading The Seance by John Harwood. It revolves around a spooky mansion, involved people with the name of Eleanor and Mr. Montague, and is about paranormal experiments. Bizarre huh? I was reading your review and having dejavu!


  4. Veens Says:

    Wow!!Sounds something I will definitely enjoy!


  5. softdrink Says:

    We Have Always Live in the Castle is awesome (and it has a MUCH better cover :-)). I really should read this one, though.


  6. Jenny Says:

    Thanks for the link - I'm glad you enjoyed this so much! Definitely go on to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I don't know if it's better, but it's definitely very very good.


  7. Iliana Says:

    Oh don't you hate it when the intro spoils some of the book! I'm very careful when reading introductions and sometimes I just save them for last.

    I agree, this book is so much more than a mystery! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I want to read more of her books - I've seen a lot of bloggers mention We Have Always Lived in the Castle.


  8. Ceri Says:

    This is an excellent review, Mel. I've been waiting to hear your thoughts on this. It's definitely on my wishlist now. :-D

    I have an award for you here:

    http://notinthepink.blogspot.com/2009/09/awards-galore.html

    :)


  9. heidenkind Says:

    Is this the book that House on Haunted Hill was based on, with Vincent Price?


  10. Melody Says:

    Nymeth - I've put We Have Always Lived in the Castle to my to-buy list! I can't wait to read it! ;) And after this experience, I'll have to save all the introduction pages till the last! :P

    Naida - Yes, please make sure you devour the story first, LOL.

    Sandy - What a nice coincidence! I can't wait to read your review on The Seance. I hope it's better than The Ghost Writer!

    Veens - I hope you'll enjoy it when you get to it!

    Jill, Jenny - I've heard a lot of great things about We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I just wish I've the book now so I could read it!

    Iliana - I'll definitely be very careful with the introduction pages in future after this little experience, hehe.

    Ceri - I'm so happy that you're adding this book to your wishlist! And thank you so much for the award, Ceri! :D

    Tasha - Hmm...I don't think so. Is this the one you're referring to?


  11. Ladytink_534 Says:

    I hope to post my review of this by the end of the month. I enjoyed the writing but I found the story a bit unsettling and somewhat confusing. However I have two pages of quotes I really liked from the story that I copied lol.


  12. Debi Says:

    So happy to hear you enjoyed this, Melody! I'm thinking about reading it for the read-a-thon this time around. I LOVED We Have Always Lived in a Castle.


  13. Andreea Says:

    Great review, Melody! Now I want to read it too!


  14. Diane Says:

    I ended up ordering this book after reading so many great reviews; thanks :)


  15. Melody Says:

    Jen - I can't wait to hear what you thought of this book!

    Debi - I hope you'll enjoy reading it! I've added We Have Always Lived in a Castle to my wishlist! ;)

    Andreea - Thanks! I hope you'd read it soon!

    Diane - I'm happy to hear you've ordered this book! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! :D


  16. Julia Says:

    Wonderful review, Melody! And I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying it too :)


  17. I just started reading this book and I am on Chapter 3. Like you, I skipped the introduction after reading a two pages or so just because I felt like so much information was thrown at me! You wrote a great review that got me interested in reading more of the book!


  18. Melody Says:

    Julia - Thank you! This is one of the best books I read this year! :)

    Ashley - Thank you!
    I think some of the info from the introduction pages should be printed after the story ends, oh well. I hope you're enjoying the book! :)