The Unquiet House by Alison Littlewood is a paranormal horror set in Yorkshire. It is about Emma Dean, a young woman who inherits Mire House, an old abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. However, Emma begins to see ghostly figures and wonder what secrets Mire House is keeping.
I wasn’t sure what to make of The Unquiet House – personally, I think Mire House might have worked as a better title, especially as I kept accidentally reading it as ‘The Uniquest House’.
As a Yorkshire native myself, Littlewood’s references to Yorkshire place-names and most characters’ Yorkshire accents, evidenced in their dialogue, were pleasant enough, though I can imagine some readers getting frustrated trying to translate!
The Unquiet House is separated into different narrative strands. Each strand is set in a different era, but all the narratives are linked by paranormal activities taking place at Mire House.
It’s a conventional enough horror story, with some very strong resemblances in places to The Woman In Black. Admittedly, I did like The Woman In Black, but it would be nice if modern ghost stories weren’t all the same. The Woman In Black film adaptation was released in 2012 and The Unquiet House was published in 2014, so I find it difficult to believe there wasn’t deliberate overlap.
The narrative of each strand was incredibly character-driven, which worked in Littlewood’s favour, as most characters were developed well enough for me to care about their fears.
However, ending was a very mixed bag; it fluctuated wildly between slightly dull with a great twist, fairly exciting, then back to dull. I would have much preferred a punchier, dramatic ending.
Overall, The Unquiet House was enjoyable, but I can’t recall anything overly scary happening; the supernatural occurrences didn’t feel as eerie as they could have been. A possible side-effect of reading too much Stephen King perhaps.