The (Next) Haunting of Hill House: Turn of the Screw by Henry James


Title: The Turn of the Screw

Author: Henry James

Genre: Fiction, Horror

Pages: 120

Format: eBook

Other: Amazon, GoodReads

Grade:   B(4/5)

Description (from GoodReads):

A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate…An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls…

But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.

For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

Quick Review

  • Unsettling and dark– the perfect setup for season two of Hill House
  • Complex writing style that is consistent with the time period in which it was written
  • Characters could use some more development
The Turn of the Screw Photo

Detailed Review

A young governess accepts a position at a Bly Manor with two orphan children as her charges. At first, everything seems perfect: the manor is stately and the children are beautiful and pure. But soon she discovers there’s something more sinister lurking in Bly Manor’s shadows. 

If you’re as obsessed with Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, then you know Netflix recently announced that there would be a second season. However, we won’t be revisiting Hill House. Instead, the teaser suggests a new setting: Bly Manor. Anyway, if you weren’t obsessed or haven’t watched the first season, here’s the trailer:

Anyway, that teaser is the reason I picked up this book because I don’t think I can handle waiting until 2020. After all, The Haunting of Hill House essentially destroyed television for me because nothing has measured up since. 

That said, I understand why the creators chose The Turn of the Screw as their inspiration for the next season. It has the same ominous feeling that The Haunting of Hill House had, and I think they can easily turn it into a successful first season. I don’t expect it to be true to the book because apparently season one wasn’t (no, I haven’t read it). But the base material is strong. 

As for the book, I found the story fascinating. I enjoyed the weirdness of it, and I enjoyed piecing everything together with the governess. 

A fair warning though: the language can be quite difficult. The Turn of the Screw was written in the 1800’s and the writing is naturally a reflection of that. The sentences are long and sometimes the diction is odd for the modern reader. However, I adjusted and was able to read the novella rather easily. Despite this, there was a beauty and charm to the writing, one that I feel has been lost over time. 

As for the characters, I hope there’s more development in the show. Because this book is short, there’s hardly time to truly delve into the characters histories and personalities and all that. There were times when I felt it rather difficult to connect to the governess, though I suppose it might be because we’re more than a century apart. 

But overall, I enjoyed the book. It was unsettling and creepy and can it be 2020 already?

2 thoughts on “The (Next) Haunting of Hill House: Turn of the Screw by Henry James

  1. Gemma says:

    I’ve been wanting to check this out though I still haven’t been brave enough to watch Hill House. I think summer when it’s bright and sunny that’s when I’ll try again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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