I have never read a Susan Hill novel before this one and based on the two novels within have to say I am going to have to check out "The Woman in Black."
I do love to read ghost stories and thought that she did a very good job in telling the two stories contained with, "The Small Hand" and "Dolly." Anyone that knows me knows that I loathe dolls and stuffed animals (creepy glassy little eyes) so I was looking forward to reading both stories.
Small Hand (5 stars)- Adam Snow (main protagonist) comes to a deserted home and garden and while there can feel a small hand gripping his while he wanders the estate. I loved the setting and atmosphere and felt as if I was reading an older Gothic story such as "The Turn of the Screw". You honestly don't know if the man is crazy or is this really happening. I really did love the ending and thought the entire story was creepy.
Dolly-(3 stars)- Also reminded me of "The Turn of the Screw" since it revolves around two children, Edward and Leonara, who are spending the summer at their Aunt's home. The aunt and the housekeeper really do not know how to deal with children and in the housekeeper's case dislikes children. Leonara is given a doll as a birthday present which she smashes which leads to events that take place later in the novel. The cousins are pretty much on their own and it soon becomes apparent that Leonora is a budding sociopath, just like her mother. Honestly unlike with Small Hand and even though I loathe dolls I wasn't scared by this story at all. I felt like Ms. Hill lost momentum from Small Hand to this one. If you want to read a truly creepy story about an inanimate object read Stephen King's "The Monkey."
Due to me not really caring for Dolly but loving Small Hand I ended up giving this combined novel 3.5 stars.
Please note that I received this novel for free via the Amazon Vine Program