Review: This House Is Haunted by John Boyne


3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I am finally getting round to reviewing this title, just in time for Halloween! I first heard of This House Is Haunted, when Leanne (who sadly no longer blogs) reviewed it a year or two ago. I was really intrigued by the idea of the story – although I’m not the biggest fan of the horror genre, I do quite like the traditional ‘haunted house’ tale, especially with a historical setting. This House Is Haunted follows the story of Eliza Caine, a young woman who becomes governess to the children of Gaudlin Hall. From the moment she arrives, a strange force seems to be attempting to drive her away, by any means necessary.

Firstly, I really liked the tone of the book. I have read several books set in the 19th century that just didn’t seem to capture the essence of the era, with their use of more modern language and tone. Boyne writes in a manner that is fitting to the time period, a time when horror stories and tales of ghosts were becoming more popular through the distribution of penny dreadfuls. The inhabitants of the nearby village, as well as the few other employees of Gaudlin Hall, deny knowledge of any strange goings on, but it is clear there is something they are avoiding. A shocked glance, a sudden reluctance to associate with Eliza, a refusal to discuss the history of the Hall – it is clear that something unpleasant happened there.

Eliza’s backstory felt a little overused – a young woman who becomes a governess after a family tragedy, but as a character she was witty and brave, determined not to run away from Gaudlin Hall, even after multiple attempts on her life by paranormal forces. At first she is logical and cannot even consider the fact that there might be something supernatural at bay, but soon the evidence begins to stack up and she has no choice but to admit to herself that Gaudlin Hall is, in fact, haunted.

Whilst This House Is Haunted felt like a classic Gothic novel, with all the required elements: a large creepy house, a missing employer, young children who seem to know far more than they should, local villagers who avoid the new governess, these ultimately made it feel a little too clichéd. It also never quite reached the heights of horror or creepiness that I was expecting, which was quite a disappointment.

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: September 2015


Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.


Last month I read a total of eleven books: This House Is Haunted by John Boyne, Wool (Wool #1) by Hugh Howey, The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone, Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1) by Trudi Canavan, The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories #8) by Bernard Cornwell, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, The Rough Guide to the Royals by Alice Hunt, The Six Gun Tarot (Golgotha #1) by R.S. Belcher, The Fearless by Emma Pass, Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown and Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid.

The standout book of the month was definitely Red Rising, and my review will be shared as part of Sci-Fi Month in November. I’m also hoping to read the sequel, Golden Son, by then. I also really loved Thief’s Magic, a fun fantasy adventure, and was impressed by The Six Gun Tarot, although it was a little different from what I expected. Finally, Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda was just adorable and I managed to read it in a night, staying up far too late just to finish it.


Challenge progress:

  • I read four books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge. October’s villain is suitably creepy: Venom.
  • I have currently read 73 books towards my Goodreads goal of 75, and will likely raise it to 100 soon.


Currently reading:

The Alchemist of Souls
How was September for you?

Top Lists

Horror October: Top Ten Horror Books On My TBR List


Today’s Horror October post features the top ten books on my ‘to be read’ list that I want to read most urgently. I’d love to know if any of you have read them, and what you thought! I’ve linked to each book on Goodreads underneath the picture. These are a mix of books from Netgalley and Edelweiss that I still haven’t gotten round to, as well as my own purchases.

TBR Horror

This House Is Haunted by John Boyne, Amity by Micol Ostow and The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

TBR Horror

The Furies by Mark Alpert

TBR Horror

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan


The Troop by Nick Cutter

TBR Horror

A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley

TBR Horror

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes and The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

TBR Horror

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?