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  • The Woman in Black

  • Written by: Susan Hill
  • Narrated by: Paul Ansdell
  • Length: 4 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As is so often the case with truly well-constructed fiction, this story contains all the exquisitely crafted detail and richness that film adaptations can struggle to encompass. Only enhanced by Paul Ansell's thoughtful narration, this is Susan Hill at her best.

Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Once, Mrs Alice Drablow lived here as a recluse. Now, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor with a London firm, is summoned to attend her funeral, unaware of the tragic and terrible secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows.

It is not until he glimpses a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a sense of profound unease begins to creep over him and take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk about the woman in black or what happens whenever she is seen.

And Kipps has to stay on in the lonely house, sorting out Mrs. Drablow's papers, when the mist begins to enshroud both it and its surrounding graveyard and the high tide cuts it off from the world beyond.

©1983 Susan Hill (P)2005 Long Barn Books

What listeners say about The Woman in Black

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  • Overall
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Slow burn, but!

This book lives for its ending. There is excellent imagery and you get a good feel for the tone of the story through the excellent narration as well. A classic Victorian ghost story with good creep factor. But that ending! Definitely recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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A beautiful Classic. But-

A utterly beautiful and romantically written classic ghost story. It's great but the story is a little boring. I really thought it was a good book but I just wanted there to be more in terms of plot and suspense.

3 people found this helpful

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An Atmospheric Ghost Story

I'd long meant to read this book and after seeing the 2012 film back when it came out, I was even more curious to check out the source material. I finally did and I'm glad I did, although I don't find that it's the bona fide classic people have made it out to be. Hill pens a slow burn of a book, very atmospheric and even goosebump-inducing at times. Paul Ansdell is what made the book for me: his narration is pitch perfect and added a lot to this novel, so much so that I don't think I would've enjoyed the book as much had I read it on my own. A recommended read/listen for lovers of ghost stories or those looking for a quick read during the October season.

1 person found this helpful

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a classic ghost story

the story itself keeps you on the edge of your seat. and the narrator does a fabulous job of keeping you there. if you like ghost stories, this is definitely one for you

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A great little listen!

A fun easy suspension of disbelief. Gratefully not disturbing , but held my interest to the last.

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perfect

10/10, everything I want in an old-school ghost story. Narrator was perfect, his voice matched the main character splendidly.

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A great story

This story has great tension, better than any spooky story I’ve ever read. Well done.

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Great ghost story!

Such a great ghost story! Definitely had me scared at times, and had me crying in sadness. The voice performer did an excellent job at capturing the emotions of this book; well done!!!

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Love the book

I have read the book and now listening to it. This story never gets old.

1 person found this helpful

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Classic Old Time Ghost Story

This is a classic ghost story written in the Victorian style, and well performed. Great for Halloween or even Christmas, if you still do the English tradition.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mel
  • 2012-01-25

Classic Gothic Ghost Tale

Surrounded by family on a snowy Christmas Eve, the fireplace ablaze, the tree bedecked and aglow....what secret memories could possibly cause the senior Arthur Kipps to tremble with terror when family members turn out the lights and begin telling harmless ghost stories around the tree? Woman in Black is an engrossing classic ghost story--no bells no whistles--with a lush style of writing that lays out an almost palpable atmosphere. Paul Ansdell perfectly captures the spirit (so to speak) of this post-Victorian placed tale with his narration. Very enjoyable, easy listen--and (at least at the time of this posting) a nice little price for the entertainment value.

63 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • 2010-01-23

good story and narration

This book is a great one to hear for those who like a ghost story with an actual ghost, rather than mere suggestions of ghosts. Paul Ansdell's narration was excellent, I thought, as well. He was great at making different accents for various characters, and for expressing the panic and fear felt by the protagonist. There are two reasons why I did not give this 5 stars: One is b/c I like to be driven to fear when reading a supernatural story, and while The Woman in Black was engrossing and full of supernatural occurrences, it didn't make me shudder or wonder about shadows in the corner of my room at night. The 2nd reason is b/c I was disappointed with the ending, which I will not spoil for anyone reading this who has not yet listened to the story.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Alycee
  • 2012-01-13

Eerily facinating!

I loved listening to this book. I was caught up in the story right away and could feel the horror and fear the character in the story felt by the way the narrator read and related the events of the story. I got everything I expected from reading a "Ghost Story." I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a good ghost story.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Janice
  • 2011-10-22

Believably spookey

Any additional comments?

This is the perfect ghost story - enough detail to bring you into the scene, but not overwritten to make it tedious. Told in the first person, you experience the mystery along with the main character. (I just loved the brave little dog, Spider). Wonderfully read by Paul Ansdell. The story moves right along and is the perfect length - a great way to get through a 4 hour road trip.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Eva
  • 2011-12-21

Hidden classic

What made the experience of listening to The Woman in Black the most enjoyable?

I loved how the story moved along and took you with it. It made me want to hear more.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Toward the end it did. I can't say that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. However I was there enough to want more.

What does Paul Ansdell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He did a great job reading it as well as giving each character their own voice. I love the accent, it just fit.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The last time he see's the woman in black and what happens. It was horrible and sad.

Any additional comments?

I found this book on a recommendation. I am so glad I followed up on it. I hope the rest of her stories are as wonderful as this one was. It is a must read if you like the horror and suspence genres.

24 people found this helpful

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  • D. Hutchins
  • 2012-04-25

Loved it!

Any additional comments?

OK so I'll be honest. The movie intrigued me. My kids made fun of me because I would watch the trailer over and over again but I wouldn't go watch the movie. I'm not much of a movie person - the trailer was creepy enough for me. But I made the decision that I would read the book, then see the movie. I really loved this book. I loved the narration which was very soothing and SUCH a wonderful contrast for the eeriness of the content. I think that was my favorite part! Now I can't wait for the movie to come out on DVD. I am planning SUCH an evening for my family...

20 people found this helpful

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  • karen
  • 2011-10-20

Wonderfully creepy -- just excellent.

A classic tale of haunting, almost Poe-ish, and a pure pleasure. I've enjoyed everything Susan Hill has written, and this novella was no exception. A wonderfully-told tale, lots of things that go bump in the night -- or even during the daytime, with plenty of shrieks and groans, but -- interestingly enough -- no undue blood or gore. Just a good old fashioned ghost story, The narrator was perfect -- just enough of an accent to make it exotic and sound as though it was a tale from long ago. Highly recommended.

17 people found this helpful

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  • H
  • 2011-11-18

Chilling tale, fantastic narration!

The Woman in Black is so darkly enchanting. I had seen trailers for the movie which provoked me to give the book a try. The story alone is profound, moving, and horrifying... but narrator, Paul Ansdell, read with such emotion and feeling that served to better the listener's understanding of Arthur Kipps' horror. I found myself delightfully nervous for Kipps as I listened. I would definitely and already have recommend this to everyone.

A first rate story by Susan Hill. I know I shall be searching for other books narrated by Ansdell.

16 people found this helpful

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  • RueRue
  • 2016-11-13

A poignant ghost story

A beautifully written ghost story, with a heartbreaking ending. The narration is FABULOUS; more from Paul Ansdell please !

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia
  • 2012-01-02

Play vs. Book

Would you consider the audio edition of The Woman in Black to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version but saw a mini play of The Woman in Black. The audio version brings more depth to the characters.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

No change at all. Was good.

What does Paul Ansdell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The voice, the tones which gave you a visual of the story.

Any additional comments?

The audio version had more to it then the mini play. The play didn't go into the life of the characters. More just a gloss over.

11 people found this helpful