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The Uninvited (1942)

by Dorothy Macardle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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25418106,731 (4.12)32
Brother and sister Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald flee their busy London lives for the beautiful but stormy Devon coastline. They are drawn to the suspiciously inexpensive Cliff End, feared amongst locals as a place of disturbance and ill omen. Gradually, the Fitzgeralds learn of the mysterious deaths of Mary Meredith and another strange young woman. Together, they must unravel the mystery of Cliff End's uncanny past - and keep the troubled young Stella, who was raised in the house as a baby, from returning to the nursery where something waits to tuck her in at night... The second in Tramp's Recovered Voices series, this strange, bone-chilling story was first published in 1942, and was adapted for the screen as one of Hollywood's most successful ghost stories, The Uninvited, in 1944.… (more)
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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This is a wonderful timeless story by Dorothy Macardle. Published as "Uneasy Freehold" in the early 1940's, it was renamed for the classic film it spawned in 1943 starring Ray Milland and the ethereal Gail Russell. I've owned a hardback copy of this fabulous book for decades and try to read it at least once every couple of years. There is a light and breezy feel to this narrative which makes it the perfect summer read if you are tired of the run-of-the-mill.

Roderick and his sister Pamela leave the hustle and bustle of modern London looking for that perfect house on the English coast. What they find is the beautiful Cliff End overlooking the sea. From their first meeting with the sweet and lovely young Stella Meredith, whose grandfather owns the house, we know there is a larger mystery here. This is a good novel that slowly unfolds as we learn of Stella's mother Mary, and the beautiful Spanish girl, Carmel, who was seduced by Stella's father.

There are more questions than answers for the brother and sister the longer they remain at Cliff End. Who is the apparition at the top of the stairway and why does a sickening cold always precede its appearance? Why are there moans of anguish coming from the room that used to be the nursery? What is the real mystery surrounding Mary's death? What about that Mimosa scent that coincides with the moaning? And why do things get more stirred up every time young Stella is there? Roderick has fallen for the sweet Stella just as the reader has and both must discover the answers.

What makes this such an excellent read is that it treats this as a straightforward story of ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances. It unfolds slowly as Roderick and Pamela attempt to solve this maddening riddle to an otherwise wonderful house they don't want to leave. Both the mystery and ghost story are presented in an entertaining day-to-day chronicle of life in the English countryside. Ever so gradually, the growing romance between Roderick and Stella inches its way to the center at the same time the danger to young Stella heightens.

It's fantastic that this long-out-of-print classic is now available on Kindle. The forward in the Kindle version contains a wealth of information about Macardle, her work and life. It's several pages in the Kindle and is well worth reading. The Uninvited inspired the finest film of its kind ever made, starring Ray Milland and the lovely Gail Russell. You don't want to miss either the book or the film, and now that Macardle's fine novel is back in print, you don't have to. ( )
  Matt_Ransom | Oct 6, 2023 |
An old-fashioned ghost story originally published in 1942, The Uninvited for me was not particularly scary, but rather strangely charming. It was quite talky--no surprise that the narrator is a playwright--and I could easily imagine the spirited, oh-so-British young people at the center of the story. The setting of an abandoned house on a cliff overlooking the sea with its maze of rooms and windswept garden comes alive wonderfully through Macardle's prose. I have not seen the movie, but it's obvious how well this book would translate to film. ( )
  sturlington | Dec 17, 2020 |
The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle is a classic haunted house story that was originally published in 1942 and was adapted to film in 1944. Looking to escape the stress and demands of life in London, brother and sister, Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald, find the perfect house on the Devon coast. The house had been empty for some time and the price was right so they snapped it up not knowing that they were soon to be plagued by paranormal events.

The house was the site of the deaths of two women fifteen years ago. A young wife and mother, Mary, and her artist husband’s model and mistress, Carmel. Events surrounding the deaths of these women are murky but it appears that neither one actually died a natural death. Mary’s young daughter, Stella, still lives nearby and is happy and excited to be able to visit the house she was born in. Unfortunately, Stella seems to be the trigger for the apparitions, with one wanting to guard her while the other seems intent on driving Stella to her death.

The Uninvited is one of my favourite ghostly movies and I wasn’t disappointed with the book either. All the classic events of a haunting, from extreme coldness, sounds of sobbing in the night, particular rooms where no one dares to spend much time, and visual sightings that root one to the spot are all scattered throughout the book. The story has a timeless quality and, at first, the disturbances are subtle and easy to dismiss, but as the book goes on, the atmosphere gets darker and darker and extreme danger comes to the forefront. If you enjoy a good but not over-done ghost story that is well written and solidly plotted, I recommend giving The Uninvited a try. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 4, 2020 |
Excellent classic haunted house novel by an Irish feminist. It took me a few chapters to get hooked but by chapter 8 I was unable to put it down! ( )
  KLmesoftly | Nov 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
A beautiful old English house, situated on the Devon cliffs, is reputed to be haunted. Roderick Fitzgerald, a London journalist, and his sister, buy the house, and convert it into a thing of beauty. Almost immediately psychic manifestations occur which grow stronger after every visit of the lovely Stella, who was born in the house, and whose mother has died there. Roderick's growing love for Stella nerves him to a terrible ordeal, and the hauntings cease
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy Macardleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gibbons, Lukesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dear Garry,
Here is your book. It was you who insisted on my writing it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Uninvited was originally published as Uneasy Freehold in the UK.
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Brother and sister Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald flee their busy London lives for the beautiful but stormy Devon coastline. They are drawn to the suspiciously inexpensive Cliff End, feared amongst locals as a place of disturbance and ill omen. Gradually, the Fitzgeralds learn of the mysterious deaths of Mary Meredith and another strange young woman. Together, they must unravel the mystery of Cliff End's uncanny past - and keep the troubled young Stella, who was raised in the house as a baby, from returning to the nursery where something waits to tuck her in at night... The second in Tramp's Recovered Voices series, this strange, bone-chilling story was first published in 1942, and was adapted for the screen as one of Hollywood's most successful ghost stories, The Uninvited, in 1944.

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