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.