The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

“After being summoned to treat a patient at dilapidated Hundreds Hall, Dr. Faraday finds himself becoming entangled in the lives of the owners, the Ayres family, and the supernatural presences in the house.” – Novelist

I feel obligated to state that I have enjoyed reading everything Sarah Waters has written/will write/dreamt of writing/sneezed on while writing. The Little Stranger has been no exception to this rule. The Little Stranger, Waters’ third novel short-listed for the British Man Booker Prize, takes the reader to post-World War II England. This is, for the most part, a departure from her first few books (Fingersmith, Affinity, Tipping the Velvet) which were set in Victorian England.

Waters’ tale, experienced through the eyes of the humble and bucolic Dr. Faraday is also a departure from Waters’ usual style in that her previous tales generally use female protagonists. Perhaps this is a literary tool she uses to imbue the tale a sense of awkwardness or otherworldliness in order to introduce the most obvious theme: the paranormal “other”. Whatever the case, Waters has again succeeded in taking the reader on a literary joyride. The joyride this time, though, is subtly spooky and will leave you questioning shadows and bumps in the night.

If you like this book, and are interested in checking out some more titles involving suspense and the supernatural, I think you might like:

The Memorist by M. J. Rose (2008)
A gripping novel about a woman paralyzed by the past, a man robbed of his future, and a centuries-old secret.

Underground by Kat Richardson (2008)
Private Investigator Harper Blaine discovers she can bridge the world between the living and the paranormal after a near-death experience, and becomes Greywalker, taking on a case for vampires and delving into the mysteries of her own dark past.

The Shimmer by David Morrell (2009)
Stricken by guilt over his role in a fatal high-speed chase, Santa Fe police officer Dan Page discovers that his wife has gone missing and may be among a group of people at an abandoned military base in Texas where mysterious lights have been appearing in the sky.

Blood and Ice by Robert Masello (2009)
After months of seclusion following a tragic accident, journalist Michael Wolfe accepts an assignment in Antarctica, where the scientists and explorers from a South Pole research station stumble upon two bodies at the bottom of the ocean.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)
Discovering a medieval book and a cache of letters, a motherless American girl becomes the latest in a series of historians, including her late father, who investigate the possible surviving legacy of Vlad the Impaler.

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz (2007)
Amy Redwing risks her own well-being to come to the aid of Nickie, a very special golden retriever, unaware that she has drawn the attentions of an unknown and ruthless enemy whose attacks escalate with stunning ferocity.

Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson (2009)
Twenty years after the disappearance of Jessie Brentwood, Detective “Mac” McNally reopens the case when bones are unearthed at Jessie’s old school, and soon after Jessie’s friends begin to die under suspicious circumstances.

Vicious Circle by Mike Carey (2008)
Freelance exorcist Felix Castor gets a seemingly insignificant “missing ghost” case that inexorably drags himself and his loved ones into the middle of a horrific plot to raise one of Hell’s fiercest demons.

The Messenger by Jan Burke (2009)
Two centuries ago, Tyler Hawthorne bargained for his life. In exchange, he became a Messenger, one who hears the final thoughts of the dying, and conveys their last messages to their loved ones. Now he is being hunted by dark forces.

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About Steven Deineh

Steven is a librarian at San Diego County Library headquarters. He mostly enjoys reading young adult fiction (some of his favorites include Feed by M.T. Anderson, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling), science fiction/fantasy (Ender's Game & series by Orson Scott Card, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke), and fiction (anything by Sarah Waters, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett). When not reading, you can find him sleeping, drinking coffee, and wanderlusting all over San Diego County and the world.