One rainy day, Byron came up with an idea - and one that was to change the course of literature. “We will each write a ghost story,” he declared.
His companions – the dazzling poet Shelley and his 18-year old mistress Mary, the handsome, neurotic doctor Polidori, and Byron himself – on the run from England after an incestuous affair – all took up the challenge.
Over the course of that wet summer by the shores of Lake Geneva, the novel Frankenstein – conceived by Mary Shelley after a nightmare – was born; while Byron began one of the first Vampire stories ever written.
But what happened to the original tales the brilliant companions told one other during the gloomy Swiss evenings? In the Ghosts of Geneva Kate Hoyland reconstructs them, and the fascinating events – and interwoven lives – of that extraordinary summer.
In the first of the "Ghosts of Geneva" stories, The Animatron, the young Mary Shelley is desperate for a grim tale to impress her talented friends. Haunted by the recent death of her baby daughter, she begins the story of Isidore MacFarlane: a man obsessed by the desire to cure the sick, who - by meddling with nature - is overcome by the darkness in his own soul.
Ghosts of Geneva is the first in a brilliant series of novellas certain to appeal to fans of classic English literature, devotees of Victorian historical fiction, and followers of historical novelists such as Sarah Waters.
Kate Hoyland is the author of the gripping novel, The Icarus Diaries. For many years she was a producer for the BBC World Service, specialising in Asian and International news. She now lives in London with her young son.
Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher.