The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Overall, I liked the novel. But, I cannot forget the fact that it took over 100 pages to even remotely get my attention. I'd even go so far as to say the first 100 pages bored me to tears and could be one of the major flaws of this book as it makes it entirely easy for readers to give up! I'm glad I came back and tried it again but that first 100 pages made it a must less impactful book than it could have been. So, the rest of what I say is about the parts of the book AFTER 100 pages.
I really enjoyed this book - very gothic, creepy and unique. There is a lot of intrigue throughout the book, it kept me on my toes. Although the character development was a WIN of this book, in my opinion, I did think that the level of detail was a bit extreme. There were moments where I was so overwhelmed with the detailed descriptions that I just rushed through to something more 'meaty.' So, I may well have missed nuances of the story as a result. Less detailed descriptions would have eliminated the possibility. These detailed descriptions make the plot feel like it creeps along soooo slowly sometimes. It's just not a positive thing for the reader.
However, the character and the sense of place in the novel were outstanding. They really made this book come alive for me. There were parts of the book that were truly creepy. Don't want to turn off the light creepy. Looking behind you creepy.
A great deal of the novel focused on the themes around post-war Britain and the downfall of aristocracy. This wasn't as interesting to me as it might have been to some. That aspect of the novel was interesting of course but not what really stuck out to me. It's the psychological aspects of the story that really connected with me.
Overall, this was a nice gothic tale but it wasn't all that I'd hoped it would be. It's a bit slow, a bit creepy and a bit intriguing. And, ultimately, a very difficult book to rate ... I'm going with 3 although part of me feels that I'm being too generous. I recommend this one but with a lot of reservations due to the pacing issues and the sheer horribleness (is that a word??) of the first 100 pages. It's slow, the first 100 pages especially - if you stick with it, it gets better. If you like gothic stories, this may be just the book for you!
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