10 books like The Woman in Black

By Susan Hill,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Woman in Black. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë, Charlotte Brontë,

Book cover of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a book I read and teach at least once a year. Its early section about childhood is, for me, the archetype of all impossible childhoods. Jane is orphaned, misunderstood, oppressed by the awful relatives who take her in, and abused by officials of Lowood School, the institution they palm her off on. Deprivation and hunger are the daily facts of her life. Humiliation, physical “punishment,” and the threat of hell are used to control her fellow wards. She is not so easily controlled. She watches while some of her fellow children, including her beloved friend Helen Burns, die because of infections caused by unhygienic conditions and malnutrition.

Despite it all, she retains an authenticity, a sense of herself that she refuses to violate to curry favor or reduce the harshness of her treatment. She remains a truth-teller, a natural detector of the pompous and hypocritical. She questions…

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë, Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…


Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of Rebecca

Rebecca is suspenseful, creepy, and downright eerie. I loved it. The unnamed protagonist was a stroke of genius and added to the gothic feel. But it’s the story that is the most gripping. Daphne du Maurier did a masterful job of laying out the mystery of what happened to Rebecca. Was it a tragic accident or something more?

Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Rebecca as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'

Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory…


Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Book cover of Mexican Gothic

The title says it all. Unsettling and at times just plain weird, this book features another mansion, not so much haunted as alive in the worst possible way. Decay is everywhere, from the wallpaper on the mansion’s wall to the flesh, humanity, and sanity of its occupants. Wholly original and beautifully written (I learned two new-to-me words I now use regularly*), it’s a dark, immersive, and surprisingly gory read. I’ve never read anything like it.

* Susurrus and miasma, for the curious

Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Mexican Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Gods of Jade and Shadow (one of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, TIME magazine) returns with a mesmerising feminist Gothic fantasy, in which a glamorous young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but…


The Little Stranger

By Sarah Waters,

Book cover of The Little Stranger

This isn't a happy book, but it's intensely atmospheric and intriguing. I loved the depiction of a family trying to keep up appearances while their once-beautiful house crumbles. Small details of clothing and things like riveted teacups (which I had to look up) show an inevitable decline that goes from gradual to catastrophic. The reader sees everything over the shoulder of the narrator, a doctor who has his own history with the family and the house. When strange and terrible things happen, he steps in to help, but it's not clear if he's telling the truth. Is the evil supernatural or human?

The Little Stranger

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Little Stranger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After her award-winning trilogy of Victorian novels, Sarah Waters turned to the 1940s and wrote THE NIGHT WATCH, a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime Britain. Shortlisted for both the Orange and the Man Booker, it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart. In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable…


The Only Good Indians

By Stephen Graham Jones,

Book cover of The Only Good Indians

They say never judge a book by its cover, but I was drawn by the elk illustrated cover and the blurb. You are taken on a very authentic cultural journey by Jones as he invites the reader into the Native American world and shows how tradition and contemporary life come together. While it is a true literary gem it is also a bona fide horror dripping with non-gratuitous gore and menace as a group of young men are hunted by something otherworldly, haunted by an event from their youth. I was very taken by the Native American spirituality when I became interested in it as a teenager, this book was both frightening and enlightening.

The Only Good Indians

By Stephen Graham Jones,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Only Good Indians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Thrilling, literate, scary, immersive."
-Stephen King

The Stoker, Mark Twain American Voice in Literature, Bradbury, Locus and Alex Award-winning, NYT-bestselling gothic horror about cultural identity, the price of tradition and revenge for fans of Adam Nevill's The Ritual.

Ricky, Gabe, Lewis and Cassidy are men bound to their heritage, bound by society, and trapped in the endless expanses of the landscape. Now, ten years after a fateful elk hunt, which remains a closely guarded secret between them, these men - and their children - must face a ferocious spirit that is coming for them, one at a time. A spirit…


The Turn of the Screw

By Henry James,

Book cover of The Turn of the Screw

I am fond of gothic literature, so I have no idea why I only read this about five years ago, it's an absolute cracker of a ghost story! Told as a story around a fireplace, the narrator relates a story about a governess who goes to work at Bly Manor, a beautiful mansion in Essex (my home county!), taking care of two small children. Not long after her arrival she sees the ghosts of two people and soon realizes the children can see and possibly communicate with them too. Again a story that relies on fear and the build up of tension rather than horror. This was adapted for Netflix as The Haunting of Bly Manor which elaborated on the original story without taking away from the novel.

The Turn of the Screw

By Henry James,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Turn of the Screw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale' Oscar Wilde

The Turn of the Screw, James's great masterpiece of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension, tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a dark foreboding of menace within the house, she soon comes to believe that something, or someone, malevolent is stalking the children in her care. Is the threat to her young charges really a malign and ghostly presence, or a manifestation of something else entirely?

Edited and with an Introduction and Notes by David Bromwich
Series…


Wylding Hall

By Elizabeth Hand,

Book cover of Wylding Hall

Nothing ultimately redemptive or reconnective happens in the bucolic English country house where the wayward members of Windhollow Faire, a drug-addled early ‘70s folk-rock ensemble very much in the Fairport Convention mold, meet to write and record a new album. These people are spinning away from each other and out of control at different speeds and toward their own ends—not all of them tragic—and nothing that happens in this sun-dappled but crumbling and very possibly haunted shambles is going to slow or reverse that. But, what they do share—what they create, or stumble into, seemingly just by being near each other—is that accidental alchemy through which great bands produce something exponentially more transcendent than any of their members will ever manage individually. This is a ghost story, in the end, and some of it is truly scary—best and most terrifying use of birds since The Birds—but it’s also…

Wylding Hall

By Elizabeth Hand,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Wylding Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the tragic and mysterious death of one of their founding members, the young musicians in a British acid-folk band hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with its own dark secrets. There they record the classic album that will make their reputation but at a terrifying cost, when Julian Blake, their lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen again. Now, years later, each of the surviving musicians, their friends and lovers (including a psychic, a photographer, and the band s manager) meets with a young documentary filmmaker to tell his or her own version…


A Head Full of Ghosts

By Paul Tremblay,

Book cover of A Head Full of Ghosts

I hadn’t read any new fiction in a while when I got this book, and it managed to creep me out so much I had weird dreams. It has a retro horror movie vibe like The Exorcist or Poltergeist but manages to be even more frightening. Its power is that you are always unsure of what is fact and what is fantasy as the main character recounts a family trauma from her childhood and the lines between mental illness and demonic possession are blurred. The examination of family and how it affects people and their relationships is a strong base for some pretty terrifying moments!

A Head Full of Ghosts

By Paul Tremblay,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Head Full of Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show.Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets…


Wuthering Heights

By Emily Bronte,

Book cover of Wuthering Heights

I read this when I was young and it made such an impression on me. I could see the wind-swept moors, feel the intensity of the love between Cathy and Heathcliff, and his subsequent descent into madness and revenge. The characters go through so many incarnations that it almost feels like you are reading several novels instead of one. I really became completely immersed in how the story would unfold, loving Heathcliff one minute and hating him the next. He was my first introduction to the anti-hero, and I still remember my confusion as to how I was supposed to feel about him. Bronte’s novel has stood the test of time, and completely absorbs the reader until the very last page as they hope for that happy ending Cathy’s descendants deserve. 

Wuthering Heights

By Emily Bronte,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wuthering Heights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great novels of the nineteenth century, Emily Bronte's haunting tale of passion and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of destructive love. Her tragically short life is brilliantly imagined in the major new movie, Emily, starring Emma Mackey in the title role.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of Wuthering Heights features an afterword by David Pinching.

One wild, snowy night on the Yorkshire moors, a gentleman asks…


The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

I confess I saw the 1963 movie with Julie Harris when I was a teenager before I read the book, but the book is as usual better than any film version that has been made. The appeal for me definitely comes down to the standard haunted house trope – my favourite basis for any scary story. Shirley Jackson uses a buildup of fear rather than horror to get a response from the reader which I think is far more effective. The story centres around a group of people staying at Hill House to investigate possible paranormal activity, and the creepy late-night goings on are excellently placed to make the reader feel very on edge. I particularly liked the use of characters with very different personalities to illustrate how different people react to fear.

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


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