Book review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: 1959
Source: Purchased

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

A courtesan, a pilgrim, a princess, and a bullfighter. Hill House has surely never seen our like.

I bought this book shortly after I finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle. As usual, it took me a little while to actually get around to reading it, but my goodness, was it worth it. I don’t really do well with spooky things, as we’ve previously established, and I don’t tend to make great decisions about when to read spooky things, as we’ve also previously established. I read this book while alone in my friend’s house and I jumped at every tiny noise.

So, I put a sticky note in this book every time I freaked out. The comments I put on each sticky note range from “WHAT” to “OMG WHY” to “WHAT THE FUCK” to “oh GOD.” I also put a sticky note in this book every time I laughed or smiled, and there are almost as many of those stickies are there are spooky ones. I didn’t expect to have nearly this much fun with a horror novel, but I did.

I’m going to stop the review here to avoid accidentally spoiling anything. Four stars because I didn’t have trouble putting it down (it took me four days to read 182 pages), but I really love Shirley Jackson’s writing.

#mm18: don’t turn out the light


Have you read The Haunting of Hill House? What’s your favorite spooky book?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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19 thoughts on “Book review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

  1. inknpaper85046788 says:

    Told you it was a marvelous book! I like your system of putting sticky notes in the book for different emotions. I use hearts, questions marks, exclamation marks, and stars for different emotions. I am in love with this novel and like you I read it when I was alone in my house and every little noise made me jump. I did not like how the story ended, but everything else in the book was up to my expectations. I wish I were in the house during the day to taste the food… 😉 Not so much during the night. 🙂 I still think Shirley Jackson did not answer most of my questions about the characters and the history of the house, but maybe it is better to avoid knowing too much…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. silverbuttonbooks says:

    I read both of them back to back last year for my build up to Halloween and they were fascinating! I think they are even more fun to talk about than read….I have so many thoughts! I also love your sticky note idea, I am going to have to try that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. SHA @ Book Princess Reviews says:

    I’ve been needing more spooky books in my life, this review came at just the right time!! And is it just me or did writers during the 90s early 2000s rreaallly nail the soft-horror genre? Maybe I just haven’t found the right writers for modern books yet but those ages turned out some good creepy books.

    Liked by 2 people

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