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We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(4) Base Camp

Yeah, old Arthur Kipps can get a little frilly with his language at times. Like this:

Moreover, that the intensity of her grief and distress together with her pent-up hatred and desire for revenge permeated the air all around. (11.72)

That's a lot of words to say that this is one seriously cheesed-off lady—or ghost. But if you can get through all the parts where Arthur waxes poetic about a tree or hill or whatever, there's a fascinating and deeply troubling mystery to solve. Who is this woman in black? Why is Arthur still so terrified decades later? Even better, this story doesn't take supernatural elements and tame and romanticize them (ahem). The supernatural forces in this story are just as powerful and terrifying as they should be.

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