I get the distinct impression that in some
kind of reaction to much of the anachronism found in modern Victorian fantasy, Boyne has
decided to give us a proper Dickensian ghost story. The problem with that is that it has
been done before, many times over. I am told that This House is Haunted shares
many plot elements with Henry James classic 1898 ghost story The Turn of the
Screw and given the number of adaptations of said story, its no wonder that
This House is Haunted seemed strangely familiar and all too predictable. That
said, I must admit that it is very well written, capturing the Victorian turn of phrase
much better than many works set in the period.
The central characters behaviour does seem a little odd
doesnt she simply gather up the children and the other inhabitants of Gaudlin Manor
and leave? The manors state of disrepair gives her a plausible reason. Get the place
condemned and get out! And why does it take her so long to figure out the identity of the
second ghost? I found the novel a tad boring, and the ending unsatisfying, which is a pity
because it started so well and had so much potential.