The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: Creepy Quote of the Day

Ancient graveyard

Image: Pixabay


Arthur Kipps is alone at the isolated Eel Marsh House, with only the plucky Jack Russell Spider for company. It’s November, the light is fading, and Arthur spies The Woman in Black, standing amid jumbled gravestones … 

 … Now, however, as I stared at her, stared until my eyes ached in their sockets, stared in surprise and bewilderment at her presence, now I saw that her face did wear an expression. It was one of what I can only describe – and the words seem hopelessly inadequate to express what I saw – as a desperate, yearning malevolence; it was as though she was searching for something she wanted, needed – must have, more than life itself, and which had been taken from her. And towards whoever had taken it, she directed the purest evil and hatred and loathing, with all the force that was available to her …


The lovely Mandibelle 16 has nominated me for the Three Quotes, Three Days – thanks Amanda – which is a lovely thread where bloggers post edifying quotes to inspire and encourage others.

Sadly, I find I am not the inspiring and encouraging type. So I thought I’d spin the prompt into something more ‘me’ and (it being the season for the scary) post some favourite quotes from crackingly terrifying books instead.

This quote is from the creepy The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, actually not an easy novel to quote from successfully, as the atmosphere of dread and impending horror is built subtly over chapters, not in quotable chunks. You’ll just have to read the whole book to appreciate the full effect …  

14 thoughts on “The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: Creepy Quote of the Day

      1. SPOILERS for anyone who hasn’t read the book….

        Well, Jennet *is* the Woman in Black – Alice’s sister, and the mother of Nathaniel, the boy who drowns. The gravestone says “…net Drablow” and “…iel … low” which would logically be Jennet Drablow and Nathaniel Drablow. But Drablow is Alice’s *married* name — it was never Jennet’s last name (although Nathaniel did become “Drablow” when Alice adopted him). So it can’t be Jennet, but if it’s not, who is it? I suppose the grave could be of some other random Drablow, but then, why show it to us?

        It’s also weird that they apparently went through so much trouble to hide that she was an unwed mother, only to put her illegitimate son’s name on her gravestone, but maybe everyone knew the truth by that point.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. All good points! I suppose I’d thought they’d put Jennet down as a Drablow in an attempt to hide her unmarried state (so she’d have the same name as her son), but as you suggest this doesn’t work because that would have her married to Mr Drablow (or another, vanished Drablow) and make him a bigamist, which is just as scandalous as being unmarried. Could it merely be a mistake? It should have had Jennet’s maiden name and it all slipped through editing because the gravestone is almost unreadable? I think we should email Susan Hill and demand an explanation 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m not the only one to notice it, by far, but nobody has a good explanation, and I can’t find any interview with or explanation from Hill herself. Which leaves reviewers assuming that it wasn’t a mistake but Means Something, but all their ideas seem unconvincing to me. Frustrating!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda. The book’s good and only slim so you could read it in a few sittings. And the ending is different from any of the adaptations I’ve seen, so it’s not spoilt by having watched the film 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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