In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners – mother, son and daughter – are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own.
But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.
Prepare yourself. From this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us, now comes a chilling ghost story.
‘It’s a gripping story, with beguiling characters … As well as being a supernatural tale, it is a meditation n the nature of the British and class, and how things are rarely what they seem. Chilling’ Kate Mosse, The Times
‘Waters writes with a firm, confident hand, deftly building an atmosphere that begins in a still, hot summer and gradually darkens and tightens until we are as gripped by the escalating horror as the Ayres are. She is particularly good at depicting Hundreds, the dilapidated Georgian pile that dazzles … Waters’ persistent picking apart of class is fascinating’ Tracy Chevalier, Observer
‘By now readers must be confident of her mastery of storytelling … While at one turn, the novel looks to be a ghost story, the next it is a psychological drama … But it is also a brilliantly observed story, verging on the comedy, about Britain on the cusp of modern age … The writing is subtle and poised’ Joy lo Dico, Independent on Sunday
‘Displaying her remarkable flair for period evocation, Waters recreates backwater Britain just after the Second World War with atmospheric immediacy … Acute and absorbing’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
‘Sarah Waters has, quite singlehandedly, at this late date, renewed the whole genre of the spooky gothic novel. Quite a feat’ David Sexton, Evening Standard
‘The knowledge that something nasty is around the corner lends the narrative a compelling sense of unease. At the same time, the richness of Waters’ writing ensures that the air of thickening dread is very thick indeed … Waters is a brave writer. The Little Stranger is an engrossing, hugely enjoyable read with set pieces guaranteed to make anyone with a pulse gibber in fright’ John Preston, Sunday Telegraph
‘Sarah Waters’ masterly novel is a perverse hymn to decay, to the corrosive power of class resentment as well as the damage wrought by war … (Waters has) a perfect understanding of her period … She deploys the vigour and cunning one finds in Margaret Atwood’s fiction, the same narrative ease and expansiveness, and the same knack of twisting the tension tighter and tighter within an individual scene … It is gripping, confident, unnerving and supremely entertaining …’ Hilary Mantel, Guardian