3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ever thought you're in the middle of a living nightmare?,
This review is from: The Victorian Chaise-longue (Paperback)
I tracked this book down a few weeks ago after reading a review recently and being curious due to several points: 1) it is partly set in Victorian times 2) someone mentioned a feeling of similarity to Rosemary's Baby which is a book I read about 20 years ago and loved!
So, on to the book. Short at 124 pages this only took me a few hours to read. The story starts with Melanie who has been bed-bound for over a year due to having T.B. She gave birth to her son months before but hasn't been able to see him because of her illness and she is bored and longing to live a normal life again. Melanie has clearly been spoilt and doted on and this is really apparant in the way those around her deal with her. The books beginning is with the Doctor finally allowing her to have a change of secenry and lie on the huge Victorian chaise-longue in the drawing room. Melanie recounts how she found the seat in a antique shop and was immediately drawn to it although she was unable to expalin why. One happily settled in her new surroundings and lying on the chaise-longue she settles down for a sleep......
Melanie wakes up to unfamiliar smells and surroundings (save for the chaise-longue) and finds herself being looked after by a lady in long skirts and who insists on calling her Milly. We watch Melanie struggle as it dawns on her that she is not dreaming and is, in fact, alive and (not so) well in the year 1864. Again, bed ridden with T.B. she can do nothing other than to try and persuade the small cast of characters that she isn't Milly and doesn't belong there. Laski uses the supporting cast to hint at trouble, secrets and shame in Milly's life and we watch her try to piece together what has happened to her. The fact that Milly is unable to move and therefore unable to defend herself adds to the tension and the question of whether she will ever get back to her own life.
This book was written in 1953 and was classed as a horror book. The sparse narrative certainly helps to make it that way, although today's more sophisticated readers (in terms of there is little that hasn't been written about these days) would find this a much tamer read. It wasn't scary so much as eery for me but the ending certianly woke me up.
I would recommend this book, not as a brilliant read, but as an enjoyable (and amusing) look at what would have been considered horror back in the day. You don't need mass murderers and polterghiests to make a scary book; just a sparse plot that hints at what may have happened rather than lay it out in all its gory detail. Will it scare you? No. Will you enjoy it? I would say so.
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Initial post: 29 Dec 2011 16:18:49 GMT
Eileen Shaw says:
I remember reading this as a teenager (14) and it scared the bloody life out of me. I wouldn't dare read it again! Even now, all these years later I would be scared of falling into the book and never coming out.
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