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The Small Hand & Dolly by Susan Hill
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The Small Hand & Dolly

by Susan Hill

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The Small Hand:
Antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles upon a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garden. As he approaches the door, he is startled to feel the unmistakable sensation of a small, cold hand creeping into his own, almost as though a child has taken hold of it. Shaken, he returns home to find himself plagued by nightmares. But when he decides to investigate the house’s mysteries, he is troubled by increasingly sinister visitations.

Dolly:
After being orphaned at a young age, Edward Cayley is sent to spend the summer with his forbidding Aunt Kestrel at Iyot house, her decaying estate on the damp, lonely fens in the west of England. With him is his spoiled, spiteful cousin Leonora. And when Leonora’s birthday wish for a beautiful doll is denied, she unleashes a furious rage which will haunt Edward through the years to come.

My Thoughts:
Here are two deliciously spooky, suspenseful ghost stories from Susan Hill. The stories are independent of each other, without any common characters, so can be read in any order. Both stories have a very traditional feel and are spiced up with three-dimensional characters and "I've got to know what happens next" suspense. The protagonists of the short novels were somewhat similar: both were single men in their early forties whose jobs had something to do with antique/historical objects. The short novels themselves both had similar aspects - such as the use of exotic locations - in the details, but the ghost stories themselves were nicely different. For example, one story wraps up fairly neatly, while the other leaves many unanswered questions. Solid and well written. It may be a little old fashioned but I liked that. The writing style is simple and powerful. It was a good scary story and was well told. 5 well earned stars. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
An awesome pick from my SantaThing Santa this past Christmas! It's always lovely to be surprised by a book that wasn't on my radar but is totally in line with my interests (in this case female novelists and haunted house stories!). This probably won't be one of my enduring favorites, but it was a fun, quick read. ( )
  KLmesoftly | Jan 16, 2016 |
This book contained two novellas, both representing the kind of understated creepiness I enjoy in my ghost stories. The first is about a man who stumbles upon a decrepit old house and garden and feels a child's hand in his. The second is about a young orphan who spends a summer at his aunt's desolate house in the company of his cousin, a selfish, angry girl who doesn't appreciate a nice dolly when she sees one. Anyone who's ever read a horror story featuring a doll knows that it isn't going to end well.

Both stories were pretty good, very atmospheric and well-paced. The second story was more compelling than the first. I really enjoyed the creepiness of The Small Hand, but to me the ending was a letdown. ( )
  CasualFriday | May 17, 2015 |
Dolls and the dead have often gone hand in hand. Whether it be the hand of a small child or that of a dying elder, a doll often acts as a portal to the other side. It doesn’t seem to matter if the doll is old or new, only the experiences of the figurine matters. There is something spooky about an old withered toy that has been forgotten about for the last 50 years. What is its history and does it have a dark story to tell? This book contains two stories under one cover. The first story is about a man named Adam Snow that finds himself haunted by the hand of a small child. He cannot remember or understand why the child is haunting him, but he soon finds himself becoming terrorized by the past. As the story progresses dark secrets slowly float to the surface as the dead child makes himself known in more than one way. The second story tells the sad tale of two children that find themselves at the house of an elderly aunt. Forced to spend the summer together at her home, they encounter one strange event after another. One of the children, a boy named Edward, learns that the other child is seriously disturbed. Within a few days strange occurrences happen that cause serious alarm for both staff and Edward. Most realize that only one of the children is truly sane and the other is either possessed with a demon or insane. Can Edward somehow save his cousin? Does he even really want to?

I have to say that this was the first time that I have ever heard of this author and I am glad that I picked her up. I enjoyed both stories and I found them to be unique. I liked how the author kept the ending a surprise. I did not expect the first story to end the way it did and that was a lot of fun. I thought the characters were well thought out and the stories themselves were smooth to read. There was nothing overdone and I was not bored one bit. I am an avid fan of anything paranormal so I would absolutely recommend this for those that enjoy that genre. It was a little different than my usual real life ghost stories, but I loved it. So I must say great job author and I am going to be looking for your other works! ( )
  Jennifer35k | Jul 30, 2014 |
A collection of 2 novellas for my horror group. Both were excellent! The first has more of the feel of a Gothic mystery with sinister undertones and the second will simply creep you out. They stayed with me long after I finished them. Susan Hill is a master of the genre and I hope that she continues to write for a very long time ( )
  enemyanniemae | Apr 15, 2014 |
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Collects two ghost stories, including "The Small Hand," in which a bookseller is plagued by nightmares after stumbling across a derelict Edwardian house; and "Dolly," in which an orphan is haunted by a spiteful cousin's act of rage.

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