Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

I know I've been missing for a while but I'm back and have lots of reviews to share with you.

As soon as I opened one of my Christmas presents and realised it was a book voucher, I dug out my 2009 wish list and planned a trip to the book store. I decided that whatever was available there during my visit, if it appeared on my list it could come home with me. So I brought home four lovely lovely books which I consumed in no time at all.

The first one I read was The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I had read so many reviews of this book and was excited to find it, especially as I had not read anything by Sarah Waters before.

The story is set in 1947 Britain when the war is over and the country is still struggling to recover from the aftermath of it. This is also a time before the National Health Service and National Trust have been set up to assist with health care and rebuilding. In the story we meet a country doctor, Dr Faraday and the Ayres family who live in a once magnificent country house, Hundreds Hall. The doctor's mother at one time had been a housemaid there and he remembers the house during it's days of splendor. The first time we encounter Hundreds Hall it is many years earlier. We meet the doctor as a young child during a garden party there and he looks back on the scene fondly. Then we switch to 1947 and Dr Faraday is called back to the house for the first time since his childhood to attend to a sick maid who has taken ill. He is taken aback at the poor condition of this once splendid house. He meets the Ayres family after attending to the maid and from this moment on the lives of Dr. Faraday and the Ayres family become very closely woven indeed.
Sarah Waters is a talented storyteller and she draws the characters very clearly. With her great observations of life in post war Britain, she sets the backdrop to the tale, perfectly. She comments effortlessly on the crumbling class system and the devastation of war, all the time carefully unfolding her characters. I loved reading this book. I enjoyed the suspense and intrigue and taking a glimpse into what it must have been like to struggle through a time of terrible dereliction and uncertainty. I couldn't put it down once I had started it and even found myself sitting up late into the night to finish it.
However, there was one huge spoiler for me and it was that I guessed at the ending :( Not because it was so obvious from the story, it wasn't, but, because I had read a review beforehand which pointed to it, although I didn't realise that until I was reading the that is why I haven't told you much of the story, I would hate to spoil the end for anyone. Having said that, I still enjoyed The Little Stranger, not least of all because of Sarah Waters talent as a storyteller. I would absolutely recommend it.

Have you read The Little Stranger or anything else by Sarah Waters?

Have you ever guessed the ending to a story?


  1. Hi Kim, thanks for stopping by my site (I'm now a follower). I did love the Little Stranger and now that a few weeks have passed I do think it's Waters' best work to date. It's brilliantly crafted. Funny you are in HK. I used to live there a few years ago.

  2. Hi Mrs B, thanks for coming back and I agree with you about The Little Stranger, it is very well crafted and it seems to be still lingering in my thoughts even though it is a while since I read it.
    Where did you live in Hong Kong? We live in Lantau.

  3. Hi Kim, just stopped by again cos' I remember you mentioned a review you read for this book that gave away the ending. Can you point me out to that review? I'd like to read it as I can't stop thinking of the book and I feel like I did miss something somewhere.
    Oh, we lived in mid-levels in HK. Lantau is beautiful!