Book Review: The Small Hand

The Small Hand by Susan Hill

The blurb: Returning home from a visit to a client late one summer’s evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow takes a wrong turning and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiosity, he approaches the door, and, standing before the entrance feels the unmistakable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, ‘as if a child had taken hold of it’. Intrigued by the encounter, he determines to learn more, and discovers that the owner’s grandson had drowned tragically many years before. At first unperturbed by the odd experience, Snow begins to be plagued by haunting dreams, panic attacks, and more frequent visits from the small hand which become increasingly threatening and sinister …

My review: I was immediately attracted to this book. I have read Susan Hill before, I loved The Various Haunts of Men but that wasn’t what made me pick it up. I absolutely love Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories, I’ve been a fan all my life and grew up reading the compilations that you could buy for a pound in bargain bins. So much in these ghost stories is implied and it leaves you chilled to your bones just to think about it! I find my imagination is more than capable of filling in all the grizzly gaps!

Plus The Small Hand looks beautiful, its an adorable little book. As to the story itself, I was slightly disappointed. I think coming to it with such a love of this kind of book I had high expectations. Hill’s voice throughout is perfect, she maintains the perfect pitch and tone, the quiet patience of a storyteller that knows that anticipation is half the fun. The main character Adam Snow is an acquirer of fine and collectable books for his many wealthy clients and his life has a roaming quality that works brilliantly. The derelict white house he stumbles upon is so beautifully described that I could almost touch it.

However my issue is this is a tale, not a book and I feel it was a little too long at 167 pages. It could have been tighter and there were moments when I thought I was going to be really frightened and it fell sadly just short from the post. The Small Hand is a great little book, and it weaves a mysterious web, but for me it just needs a little something more. True tense terror!

6.5 out of 10 stars! ******.5

BUY ME! The Small Hand

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