Julia is a truly scary and disquieting novel by horror great Peter Straub. It was written in the 1970s but stands the test of time and is still very readable and enjoyable today. You can tell it was written in the past because of the way the characters are and the relationships between Julia and her husband, and men and women. But it was far better than a lot of contemporary horror novels.
The main character is Julia, a woman who has just gotten out of a mental hospital after the tragic and violent death or her daughter. She has left her overbearing and
verbally abusive husband Magnus. her only real friend is his sister Lily, who is determined to get the two back together again, even though Magnus is semi-abusive and his cheating has driven Julia away.
Julia feels drawn to a certain house, which she impulsively buys. There is something strange about the house from the beginning. Lily hosts a psychic gathering at the house, and the “medium” leading it becomes hysterical and warns Julia to leave the house at once, saying both of them are in incredible danger. Several days later, the medium dies in an accident, and Julia becomes obsessed with the secret of why the house is so evil. What happened in it?
Julia deals with an escalating haunting and discovers that a woman murdered her own daughter in the house she is living in many years before. The child was a monster who killed and terrorized other children. Meanwhile Magnus is stalking Julia and following her, becoming dangerously obsessed, and paranormal events in the house escalate.
Julia is written to be a weak character, but she is still likable enough that we worry about what is going to happen to her. She is also a very unreliable narrator- she is slowly unraveling. We do not know how ...