It's time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by The Armchair Squid.
My favorite read for the month of September, without a doubt, was The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
From the Goodreads site:
The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters
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 postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than 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. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous 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.
Sarah Waters might just be my new favorite novelist. I seem to gravitate to female British authors and Waters is so very skillful. I read The Paying Guests early in the month, and was really impressed with it. My only criticism of that book was that the ending fell a little flat. I wanted to try one more of Waters novels since I liked her writing style so much. And The Little Stranger is one of my favorite kinds of stories: a gothic tale in the vein of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.
The book is creepy, but in a very subtle way. It takes it's time and the dread builds slowly; from the very beginning you're not sure whether the house is haunted, the people are all going mad, or if someone is deliberately trying to terrify the Ayers family. Waters is an excellent writer, and the book is so well written that you keep turning pages even when the plot is moving slowly. And the ending is so very worth it! It's masterfully done, in my humble opinion., so much better than the ending to The Paying Guests. I've been pressing The Little Stranger on my friends (the ones who like this sort of novel) and I wish one of them would hurry up and finish soon so I can discuss the ending with someone! The last couple of chapters will send a cold chill down your spine and leave behind a lingering haunted feeling. 4.5 stars.