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September 18, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little Stranger by Sarah WatersThe Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters
Narrated by Simon Vance

Genre: Mystery, Gothic
Publisher: Books on Tape
Publish Date: January 1, 2009
Format: Audio, 15 hours | 52 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 4 of 5

“THE LITTLE STRANGER follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty post-war summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the once grand Georgian house is now in decline. But are the Ayres haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Farady know how closely–and how terrifyingly–their story is about to become entwined with his.”

I’m participating in RIP VII, an annual event at Stainless Steel Droppings, and this was one of the books for Peril the Group Read, hosted by The Estrella Society.

After reading the description of the book I was expecting a scary ghost story. At first, I didn’t find it very frightening at all. The story started out slow and while more than a few disturbing things happened, it wasn’t terrifying in the Stephen King or Dean Koontz way I am accustomed to experiencing. Instead, it built up an increasing level of unease and creepiness as the story progressed. By the last quarter of the book, the evil, whatever or whoever it was, became a heavy presence and the story much more compelling as we sped towards the almost inevitable but ultimately unexplained conclusion, one that I kept thinking about even after I had moved on to my next book.

The story was narrated by Dr. Farady, and now, looking back, I think that is what contributed to my feeling that the story was moving along slowly. I was following the narrative and believing the story from his point of view. Once I started questioning his interpretation of the events, they took on a new meaning. Was I observing things through his delusional perspective or was he perfectly sane and the house itself possessed? Or were the members of the Ayers family all crazy?

The house at this point had taken on a life of its own and became one of the characters. It too became suspect. Then I became frustrated and annoyed with Farady, and worried for the Ayers family. I began talking to myself… “No, don’t do that” or No, don’t go there”.

I listened to the audio version and Simon Vance’s excellent narration, which I highly recommend. The narration kept me interested enough to keep going through what I considered a slow beginning, but it is well worth continuing listening to this book. There is a lot going on in this story, one only has to give it time to build and think about what is happening beyond what we are told by Farady.

Source: Public Library copy.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Sep 18 2012 2:29 pm

    It does sound like the audio is the way to go with this one since it starts out slow.


  2. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Sep 18 2012 7:46 pm

    I liked the ebook an awful lot as well. Waters rarely disappoints.


  3. Mystica / Sep 19 2012 1:25 am

    I read this and it did not disappoint


  4. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Sep 19 2012 12:40 pm

    I’ve heard great things about this one, so I wasn’t surprised to see that you liked it.


  5. Darlene / Sep 19 2012 5:27 pm

    I lee checking for this one to come out on audible so I can pick it up. I’d love to listen to it. I’ve been meaning to read it for a few years now but we can see how that’s gone. Lol.


  6. nrlymrtl / Sep 19 2012 7:23 pm

    I also listened to the audioversion and Simon vance’s performance was excellent. The thing that stood out the most for me was the class differences and how each person held to their class in some way, muddling up their relationships.


  7. lynnsbooks / Sep 29 2012 8:05 am

    I think this is a well written and well told story but I felt ultimately disappointed with the ending which spoiled the experience for me. I don’t think it is Waters best book for sure – I do like her turn of phrase though and she manages to conjure up the time and period really well in the mind’s eye.
    Lynn 😀



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