This House is Haunted – John Boyne

This House is Haunted – John Boyne

What is it about a classic Victorian ghost story which sets your heart racing?

In this book by John Boyne, who graduated from the University of East Anglia in 1994, he has managed to create an incredibly dark and chilling ghost story tale about a haunted house, sins of the past, supernatural goings-on and lots and lots of gore!

But do you know what the best part about this book is?

He has set it IN NORFOLK! In 1867!


My home!

Brought to life in front of my very eyes!

From the author of the brilliant “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”, this is a book worthy of any library…

John BoyneWhen the father of 21-year-old Eliza Caine dies, she is left homeless. After responding to an advert in the London press to become the next Governess of a Norfolk Estate called Gaudlin Hall, she gets the job almost immediately and leaves the smog of London behind.

However, when she steps off the train at Norwich station (lol, I have to laugh because I could see it in my head), she feels two hands try and push her under the path of an oncoming train….

Uh oh.

Some spirit doesn’t want her there….

It gets worse though, because when Eliza gets to Gaudlin Hall, a mansion based near the Broads, she really isn’t wanted.

It is there she meets the two children she is to look after – Isabella and Eustace. There’s no sign of their parents, and the more questions Eliza starts asking, spooky goings on keep happening.

On her first night for example, she feels hands grab her ankles from under the bed.

She sees people in windows.

Wind picks up and throws her down stairs….

Hell, she even turns taps on and boiling scalding water gushes out.

Just what is going on in this Norfolk mansion? Where are the parents? Why were there 5 other governesses before her in the space of a year???

I can’t go on without ruining this story for you, because it had me hooked. From the first to the last page John has created a mysterious, chilling, murderous mansion with ghosts and ghouls and all kinds of freaky goings-on.

Plus he has set it in my home county – they even go to bloody Great Yarmouth! Who in their right mind would go to Great Yarmouth!

This is an homage to a county that John knows very well from his time at the UEA (I got my degree there too!). It’s also a very very clever Dickenesque ghost story from a very clever writer.

Unfortunately, John, I have to criticise your use of the Norfolk lingo.

Norfolk BroadsWe don’t say “t’morning” or “aye”. Proper Norfolk people say “Tamarrew” (tomorrow) and “Yis” (yes). We are not Northerners! But then, seeing as you spent a foo yares in Narfolk oi’d have thort you’d knew how to wroite loike a Narfolk lewkul darlun.

But still, that doesn’t detract from the awesomeness of this story, and only real “lewkul” Norfolk people will feel he hasn’t quite grasped how to wroite loike a Narfolk boi.

Nevertheless, “This House is Haunted” is a fantastic, and I mean fantastic ghost story. I’d have given it 5/5 if John had mastered the fine art of Norfolk, but he has still conjured up a brilliant heroine and a fine spooky mansion.

For that, I have to give him close to perfection. Buy this book and be prepared for a few frights.


The Book Boy Rating – 4.5/5 

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