I don't know what it is but I just do not like books that are nominated for awards any more. This book seems to have been nominated for loads of things so I had high hopes. I have also read Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith and loved them.
Sarah writes beautifully, and her characters are well crafted, however it is the subject matter that failed to live up to my expectations. The trouble is this is a haunted house story and all the way through I had this sense of deja vu. ( I have read a very similar book, The Thirteenth Tale and really enjoyed it see below). The focus on the dying of a way of life, as reflected in the metaphor of the neglected and falling apart house was also well done. This is post WW2 Britain and it is this inability of the aristocratic family to change that causes the problems. I can only assume it is from this angle that the book has been nominated.
Although as I said the characters were well drawn, none of them were very likeable and therefor I was not invested in any of them. The haunting frankly was not very scary and I just wanted to slap most of the characters.
However, for this reason I think it would make a good Reading Group book as if I had this reaction I am sure there are equally many people who think it is excellent, so it should make for a great debate.