The movie The Uninvited has long been the Halloween movie of choice for me and my husband. It is vintage 1930’s with Ray Milland and a great ghost story. However, I had not read the book until now.
Roderick Fitzgerald and his sister Pamela have been fruitlessly looking for a house in the west country that they can afford when they come across Cliff End. Although it needs work, it is so beautiful that they are sure they can’t afford it. However, it has not been occupied for 15 years, and Commander Brook reluctantly agrees to their price. He does say, though, that there have been “occurrences.”
All is well at first, and the Fitzgeralds are happy fixing up their house, but eventually the occurrences begin—a light in a room that had been the nursery, a sighing sound, the scent of mimosa, and more terrifying, an enervating cold in the studio and the attempt of an apparition to form. The Fitzgeralds begin to learn the story behind the home—that it belonged to the Commander’s daughter, Mary Meredith, and her artist husband, that an artists model died there after attempting to kill Mary, whom most people treat like a saint, and that Mary died soon afterwards.
The Fitzgeralds soon meet Stella Meredith, the Commander’s granddaughter, and befriend her. She has yearned to visit the house, but after she does, the manifestations grow stronger. Soon, the Fitzgeralds believe they have a choice between making the manifestations disappear by understanding what they want or giving up the house.
Although this novel didn’t really make my hair stand on end, it is a good ghost story. The characters are interesting, and the descriptions of the Devon coast are striking. I enjoyed the book very much.
The Uninhabited House
Although I haven’t yet read Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the movie based on it remains one of my favorites for Halloween. I didn’t realize that The Unforeseen is not a sequel to it but a follow-up and that a few of the characters make a reappearance. So, I’m reading and reviewing out of order.
Virgilia Wilde cannot afford to live in the city while she is sending her daughter Nan to art school in London, so she buys a cottage in the wilds of Wicklow. There she enjoys herself rambling the countryside and working on a children’s book about birds. However, she begins having strange experiences. First, she thinks she is seeing ghosts—a shadow in the doorway when no one is there, a telegram being delivered when one isn’t. She fears she is losing her mind so consults Dr. Franks, a psychiatrist. But he thinks there is nothing wrong with her. He consults his son Perry, who is a doctor with an interest in parapsychology, and eventually they realize that Virgilia is having visions of the future.
In the meantime, Nan has a frightening encounter with a sculptor and decides to come home for the summer while she works on illustrations for a book. Virgilia doesn’t want Nan to know about her visions, but soon she has some frightening ones.
This is a good little thriller with a supernatural angle to it. It has convincing characters and beautiful descriptions of the Irish countryside, reflecting the relative peace of Ireland during World War II.
The Uninhabited House
The Victorian Chaise-Longue
I was delighted to receive a review copy of Dark Enchantment from Tramp Press from their Recovered Voices series and decided to time my review for the season. This is especially felicitous because the movie from another Dorothy Macardle book, The Uninvited, has been my family’s go-to Halloween movie for years. This is another entry for RIPXV.
After three years of teaching, an occupation that Juliet Frith likens to drudgery, she is exhausted and unwell. Her employers, eager for her to leave because of newspaper stories about her mother, have summoned her father to take her away. Frith is an actor who can’t afford to support Juliet and doesn’t know what to do with her, but for now they are vacationing on the Côte d’Azur.
On a day trip to visit villages in the Alps Maritimes, Juliet is taken ill at an inn, so Frith makes arrangements for them to stay the entire week. Juliet improves rapidly and befriends the pregnant wife of the innkeeper, Martine, so Frith arranges for Juliet to stay there when he has to leave for a job. Juliet will be working half-time at the inn for the length of Martine’s pregnancy. It helps that Juliet has met Michael, studying trees in the nearby forest.
The lives of all the villagers are soon wrapped up in drama because of Terka, a beautiful Romany woman who is missing an eye. She has a reputation as a sorceress, and the villagers are terrified of her. Although Juliet thinks Terka is being treated unfairly, Martine’s husband René is foremost at trying to drive her out of the area, so she has turned her attentions to poor Martine as well as others. Things begin to get ugly.
This novel develops slowly at first, but it has appealing characters and kept my interest. Although the threat foretold for Juliet doesn’t really pan out, she becomes deeply involved in the fortunes of Martine and René. I enjoyed this light read very much.
The Uninhabited House
The Good People
House of Glass