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You have recently accepted a post as a governess to two children in Norfolk, England. Upon arriving (and getting an odd reaction from a husband and wife at the train station when they learn your destination), you learn that you are to be the only adult living in the house and that the last governess posted the position herself before running off literally the moment you turned up. That same night, a pair of invisible hands grabs you in bed and drags you down before you get free.

Do you:

A) Leave immediately and return to London.
B) Post an advertisement for a new governess, then leave.
C) Find the nearest adult and demand to know what is going on, then leave.
D) Decide to stay and make the best of it, because why not.

If you answered “D,” congratulations! You have made the same choice as Eliza Caine, a young schoolteacher living in Victorian London whose father recently died, has no living family or close friends, and chose to answer an advertisement for somebody wanting a governess who can start work immediately.

“This House is Haunted” is exactly as titled, which makes me laugh, but at the same time it’s certainly the clearest advertisement of a ghost story I’ve ever encountered. I recommend this book for people who like haunted house novels featuring odd children, or isolated governesses, or creepy mansions in the countryside, or isolated governesses who end up taking care of odd children while living in a creepy mansion.

To give Eliza credit, she does make attempts to find out more about the children’s current situation, the family in general, and the fact that she’s the sixth governess in one year, but is frequently stalled by everyone’s unwillingness to talk about these things at all. In one scene she threatens to camp out in the office of the family’s lawyer all day until she gets some answers, which I find delightful.

Without giving too much away, the plot features some elements that make me think of “Jane Eyre” and “Rebecca.” The ending is also very good, which can be hard to find in horror fiction.