Book: The Little Stranger
Author: Sarah Waters
Although this book is told from the perspective of Dr. Faraday, in my opinion, the main character in this story is Hundreds Hall, a grand house and estate that is a couple of hundred years old. Dr. Faraday grew up in the Warwickshire district of England where his mother was once an employee at Hundreds. The book starts out with him remembering fondly his one visit to Hundreds as a child. He is fascinated by the house and when called to the house to attend for a medical matter, he is eager to see how it has changed since his childhood.
The beginning of the story is very reminiscent of Downton Abbey in that after World War II, there were many changes in England, one being that the class system was dismantling and young adults were no longer interested into going into service at these large estates as there were factory jobs available that paid better and employees had their evenings and one day a week free while when you were in service, you were at the beck and call of the family the majority of the time. The book also described the bell system where a pull cord could be tugged and a bell would ring in the basement kitchen summoning a servant to the upstairs for some task. This bell system is shown on Downton Abbey.
The Ayres family who own and reside at Hundreds are having difficulty financially keeping the estate running. They are down to two servants with one being a 14 year old girl. The house is falling apart around them and decay is rampant, but still Dr. Faraday remains fascinated with the house. The family consists of the mother, Mrs. Ayres, her son, Roderick and her daughter, Caroline.
For the first third of the book, you learn a lot about the characters and the house and then the ghost story begins. This is not a traditional ghost story and I certainly did not find it frightening. I don’t want to spoil the story for others so I won’t elaborate on what happens, but I was a little disappointed in the ending as I felt the story just petered out. I rate this three stars out of five.
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