Thursday, 13 November 2014

Spotlight | Susan Hill's Ghost Stories

As winter draws in I like to return to books I know and love. There's just something about cosying down with a favourite read when the wind is howling and rain falling. Recently I reached for my little Susan Hill collection and fell in love with her ghost stories all over again. I know as an author Susan Hill's backlog consists of a lot more than just ghost stories however those are the books of hers I enjoy the most.

Today I wanted to share why I enjoy Susan Hill's ghost stories so much.

Being a creature of habit, I love it when I know what I'm getting in to and when reading these particular stories I know. Not only because I have read them time and time again; that primarily being The Woman in Black, but because Susan Hill has a formula of sorts to her storytelling. All of these ghost stories contain similar themes such as a male lead character, the setting being a bit rural etc. It's only little things, not whole plots being repeated, and that I quite enjoy.

All of the stories are shared by those who experienced the spirit, their perspective allows for the unfolding story to be more personal which attaches some emotion to it. I believe this is one of the things that allow these ghost stories to feel real; when reading you could think of these as being actual events taking place not a work of fiction.

Along with personal touches, the other significant thing that sets Susan Hill's ghost stories apart for me is her prose. Honestly, they're quite something special. I love that her words are subtle but yet so powerful and effective. There's this atmosphere that envelopes me whilst reading Susan Hill's works that is quite indescribable.

The visuals within ghost stories can often lend to them feeling typical or even cheesy, however that isn't the case with Susan Hill's. The ghosts that are encountered aren't a wisp in the night kind of thing; they are substantial and often very much alive in feeling. Along with the spirits, Susan Hill writes other images beautifully too; be it a frigid winter's day, the London fog or even an overgrown garden.

I find there to be something very familiar and inviting about Susan's Hill's ghost stories. It may sound like an odd way to describe it, but you know when you've put fresh linens on the bed and climb in to it of an evening and you get that 'ahhh' feeling, well that's how Susan Hill's writing makes me feel; chilling but full of warmth all at the same time.

If you haven't read one of her ghost stories, I'd highly recommend that you do. The Woman in Black is one of my absolute favourite books. Also, if you ever get the chance to see The Woman in Black in the West End then do! I've seen it twice and would happily see it a third, fourth, even fifth time...

My reading experience of this genre does extend further than Susan Hill; however as a book lover I'm always interested in expanding my bookish horizons, so if you have any recommendations for ghost stories then be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Note: All images are my own, please do not use for any purpose without prior permission.

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)