Finished this gothic horror ghost story of a sort from the author of Fingersmith just last night. Very well written, with the center character being a dark, gloomy house, The Hundred, now neglected and falling down around its family who can ill afford to maintain it or even heat it. The house fills the thoughts of all the characters. For Roddy, it is a burden, a duty. A symbol of his failure and later and something to be feared. For Betty, it is a creepy symbol of an age that is past and should be put to bed. Dr. Faraday holds it in almost child-like reverence leading to obsession. No one is neutral about The Hundred. Strange things happen, creepy things. They can certainly be explained away in the light of day. Or can they?
The story progresses at a good pace and the tension builds up with each new event. Parts of the book are left to the readers interpretation, who is “the little stranger”? Very well written atmospheric horror with great attention to the details of life after WWII in Britain. The great change to the fortunes of many of the estate owning classes and to the economy in general is shown through The Hundred itself and through Betty’s character. I am not a big reader of historical fiction, but I did enjoy this one.