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#227 ~ The Little Stranger

Cover of The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Dr. Faraday, a bachelor with meager beginnings, is a local family doctor. Normally his clients are from or near his own socioeconomic status, so he was somewhat surprised when he was called to an increasingly run down Hundreds Hall.  It is here where his mother worked as a maid in her early years.  Although he was called to tend to a maid when their usual doctor is unavailable and not one of the Ayres themselves, this  house call begins an ongoing association between him, the Ayres family, and Hundreds Hall.  These relationships change the course of his life and the lives of everyone associated with Hundreds Hall forever.

This novel has great Gothic atmosphere.  Hundreds Hall is such a wonderful setting for things that go bump in the night – or day.   Despite a few sections that seem long in retrospect, this novel had my attention throughout.  I wanted to know what would happen to the Ayres family, especially Roderick and Caroline.  That Caroline, born to a privileged family, is not stunning beauty was a relief.  This makes her more real and accessible.  The name Roderick itself set the tone for me.  Is there a more perfect name for a character in a Gothic novel?  I think not.  Best of all, he lived up to his name.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Sarah Waters.  The writing is spectacular and the characters are curious and fleshed out well.  The depth Waters gave to the characters and the house made the reading experience for me.  Once again, my go-to narrator, Simon Vance, hits the mark perfectly. I left this novel not at all sure what really happened in the end.  Sometimes that is exactly what is called for and I love it.  This time, it left me on the fence.  I will need to ponder it for a while.  It, along with The Thirteenth Tale and The Sister, has reignited my love of Gothic novels and prompted me to buy some similar novels, though.  Maybe I’m not so conflicted about The Little Stranger as I think I am.  I look forward to talking to others about this novel and I can easily see myself reading it again to pick up clues to puzzle through the ending.

++++

This book will be discussed by Nicole and Rebecca tomorrow night (1.12.10) at 8pm on Nicole’s Blog Talk Radio show, “That’s How I Blog.”  Be sure to tune in.  I know I will be.

++++

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*******

I purchased this audio book using one of my credits from Audible.com.

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16 Comments

  • At 2010.01.11 09:27, The Kool-Aid Mom said:

    This sounds like a rather interesting read. I love the cover art, too. It has a warm feel to it.

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    • At 2010.01.11 10:34, Sandy said:

      I think we briefly talked about this book when we got together, but I so seriously loved this book, and Vance just makes it shine. It was my first Waters book too, and since have read Night Watch and Fingersmith. I am officially in love with Waters’ writing, and a huge fan. (I’m in the middle of watching Fingersmith the movie.) The ending is very ambiguous, and I mulled it around in my head for days after I finished. And the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. I can’t wait to hear the discussion on Blog Talk Radio!

      • At 2010.01.11 10:50, Kathy R (Bermudaonion) said:

        I’ve been hearing a lot about this one, but I usually don’t like it when I’m left wondering what happened at the end, so I’m not sure this is for me. Your review is great.

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        • At 2010.01.11 10:53, Kay said:

          I’ve been seeing references to this book all over the place. I downloaded it to my Kindle and hope to read it soon. I have not yet read anything by Sarah Waters, but I know her books are loved by many. Thanks for sharing.

          • At 2010.01.11 11:41, Meghan said:

            I really enjoyed this book myself; I even appreciated the ambiguous ending! I had my own idea of what happened and I liked that Waters didn’t contradict what I thought.

            • At 2010.01.11 11:42, Nicole said:

              I love this book. I haven’t had much time to read so I am only at 240. I am buckling down today to get it read!

              • At 2010.01.11 14:37, caite said:

                Waters is a writer I read nothing but good things about. I read one of her books and have another in mt TBR pile, but not this one.

                • At 2010.01.11 20:20, Melody said:

                  I’ve heard nothing but great things about this author, so I’m hoping to read her books soon! (I’ve Fingersmith, Affinity and this book in my pile.)

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                  • At 2010.01.11 20:31, Lisa said:

                    Just finished reading this, your right some bits are long winded. It kept me reading she has a great story telling gift though likes to leave you hanging at the end wondering if its over and you don’t always get the fairy tale, or rather ending you want or expect. I have read a couple of her books and that is her style. Best was Fingersmith, lots of twists and turn. The most annoying (the characters) was The Night Watch, which was the first of hers I read and it put me off her for a while. Keep reading 🙂

                    • At 2010.01.11 21:51, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                      i haven’t heard about this novel yet but am with you on the name roderick! and even though i just made a resolution a few hours ago not to judge books by their covers, this one has me hooked! i’m jotting down the title. thanks for the review. 🙂

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                      • At 2010.01.12 00:03, Lisa said:

                        I’m really intrigued by this one. But I’m never quite sure what to make of books that leave me hanging.

                        • At 2010.01.12 07:02, Marg said:

                          I am pretty certain that when I do finally get around to reading Sarah Waters I will really like her writing. Every time I read a review such as this that feeling grows stronger! One day I will act on it.

                          • At 2010.01.12 21:21, Jennifer said:

                            I’m looking forward to the upcoming Blog Talk Radio book club on this book. If you’re reading this and it’s not yet 9:30 EST, check it out! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thats-how-i-blog

                            • At 2010.01.12 22:35, Vasilly said:

                              Now I really know I need to read it when you mentioned The Thirteenth Tale. I was supposed to read it in time for Rebecca and Nicole’s show but I’ve been stuck in a reading rut. I will read this soon. Great review.

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                              • At 2010.01.14 11:15, Stacy said:

                                I just chekced this audio ou of the library. Can’t wait.

                                • At 2010.01.25 16:19, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                                  I really liked this, now you have me all excited to read or listen to “The Sister.”

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