Title: The Little Stranger
Author: Sarah Waters
Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where family Ayres lives. Ayres family owns Hundreds mansion for over a two centuries and before the war they were wealthy and powerful. And mansion Hundreds Hall is a reflection of this – magnificent and full of wealth and luxury. Or such it was before the First World War. After the war, Ayres family lost their influence and wealth, and this also reflects in Hundreds Hall.
Before the war, Hundreds Hall was also a place where doctor’s mother worked as a maid. Once she took him with her and mansion thrilled him. This is also a reason why he gladly accepts an invitation to the mansion when he’s called there due to illness. However, he’s shocked when he sees the condition of Hundreds Hall and how few residents live there – Mrs. Ayres, her son and daughter Caroline and their maid. The Hundreds Mansion is only a faint shadow of what it once was, it slowly collapses, and the family does not have the resources to maintain it.
Dr. Faraday starts visiting mansion more and more often and reasons for visiting the mansion are not just because he becomes a family doctor. He’s particular interested in unexplained and strange accidents that happen and that nobody knows how to explain it.
Too bad that the book from the beginning is very slowly read. Well, at least, I had problems with that. In the first half of the book nothing much happens. It’s mainly only description of Hundreds Hall and people who live there and, of course, Dr. Faraday. And for sure there is nothing creepy about it as it’s promised on the cover of the book: “Be prepared for a scary reading…”.
The story slowly unfolds and I was rewarded for my patience in the second half of the book. I still wouldn’t call it scary but it was quite a suspense and I couldn’t wait for the unravelling of events.
Ayres family thinks they are superior, which is often reflected in their behaviour, especially to other people. They also show this to Dr. Faraday. For me, it was interesting how they cling to the times that no longer exists, rather reconcile with the current situation and live and work in a way to improve it. There’s nothing in the world that would persuade them to get rid of the Hundreds Hill, even if it’s clear that it leads them into gradual destruction – in a physical and psychical way.
I was attracted to descriptions of the post-war era in England when great families had fallen into decay. Families who before that have great impact and later they were exposed to a new world, which they don’t understand. Some were able to adapt, others didn’t – among them was Ayres family.
I was also expecting a little more action and unexpecting mysteries. But I was left down – there is actually not much going on and also, there are just a few mentions of evil spirit or ghosts. The reader has to explain things on his own which of course is not bad, but everything is really uncleared and confusing at the end.
Did you read this book or any other book by Sarah Waters? What do you think about it and her writing?
If you read the book, what do you think actually happened? As always you can leave comments down below!