The Laini Challenge – Book 04 – The Turn Of The Screw

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The LainiBop Challenge

The Turn of the Screw 

by Henry James

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* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
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I hate to admit this, but I found myself a little disappointed with this book. I have always heard such wonderful things about it, and it’s a book which is very well known for being a chilling ghost story. 
I’m not sure why, but I didn’t find this scary or really all that chilling.
The story begins with a group of people gathered in a house telling ghost stories. 
One gentleman offers to tell a true story which was told to him by a good friend, who experienced the events first hand. 
There is a long section where he must get the manuscript sent to him from his home and he puts off telling the story for a couple of nights. 
The heroine of this story is a governess who takes up a position taking care of 2 children, who have been adopted by their uncle. This uncle would prefer to have nothing to do with the children and makes it clear that the governess will have full responsibility and control over what happens with them and that he does not want to be bothered.
After the eldest, a young boy is expelled from his school, however, strange figures appear around the house. After describing the figures to the housekeeper, Mrs Grose, we discover that the male is Mr Quint and the female is Miss Jessel, both previous employees of the house, and both are dead.
The governess becomes convinced that the children can see these ghosts and the ghosts themselves have some interest in the children. Despite having no evidence of this at all, she becomes obsessed with the mystery in the house.
I found the writing at times to be quite difficult to get through, there was a lot of re-reads of certain passages. This unfortunately dampened my enjoyment a little, as did the fact that I was expecting much more scares and shivers than I got. 
The ending also failed me I must say, it was very abrupt, and I felt it was extremely vague and open to interpretation, not necessarily in a good way. I’m not sure I would recommend this book as it let me down quite a bit. 
Much of that may have been my fault, but it won’t be going on the to read again pile.

There is a 1961 film version based on this book, named The Innocents, trailer below!

SCORE       4/10

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