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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2016
Wonderful book. Read Kate Mosses 'Labyrinth' when it was released in 2005 and became a firm favourite that was read again and again. This book will certainly be read more than once...
A collection of short stories, so if you're pushed for time and don't like to put book down in middle of chapter this is ideal. Illustrated with some lovely etchings too, it is a collection of stories inspired by classic folklore and ghost stories. Loved it.
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on 30 October 2014
The Mistletoe Bride is a book of short stories which I largely enjoyed. The stories are far from all being the same quality however, which is why if I could I would award 3.5 stars for that. Because overall, I am left with the effect of having enjoyed the book more than the sum of its parts, I have given 4 stars. Some of the writing is excellent and I love the stories that give a wonderful sense of time and place. Mosse is skilled at this. You are supposed to write about what you know, and when Mosse is writing about landscape she knows well, or about places she is fascinated by and has a lot of knowledge about, it really shows and allows her best writing to shine.

The weaker stories in my view are those written for a particular audience (often starting off as stories for women's magazines). Another weakness seems to be contemporary stories, with female protagonists. I found some of the writing in these stories weak and they made me cringe at the lack of characterisation and tediously dull middle class women characters. I preferred the more rugged environments and harsher aspects she covered in different stories and which were often beautifully evoked.

The stories I did not like were Duet, which did not work for me on any level, especially after reading the authors note of what she was trying to achieve. (Incidently I would have hoped to have gained more insight from the author's note included at the end of each story. I found them strangely cool and uninvolving or informing). I thought that La Fille de Melisande was muddled and with little depth, yet potentially could have been so much better. I did not like The Ghost of Christmas Past which I found trite, sentimental and would have been at home in People's Friend rather than the magazine it did appear in. It was dull. The play, was awful. I couldn't bear the tedium of the lack-lustre story as it unfolded. So clichéd and so dull and it unfolded as if written by numbers.

I liked The Mistletoe Bride which was the first story quite a lot, but I much preferred The Yellow Scarf based on the same old tale. I loved the sense of time and evocation of another place both evoked. The Yellow Scarf I really enjoyed as there was genuine tension and atmosphere and a sense of history. My favourites were The drowned village, The Ship of the Dead and The Revenant. I also liked Red Letter Day. These were genuinely eerie, they transported me to a different time and place and the sense of otherness came through loud and strong. I loved the descriptions which set the atmosphere and times so beautifully. In these stories were glimpses of the literary writing Mosse is apparently capable of. I wish she was more consistent. I can imagine re-reading these stories. I found them very enjoyable and would like to read others. For me they were pitched perfectly. I don't like crime or horror and sometimes there were elements of both in the stories, but it was well controlled. No gratuitous descriptions of violence or horror but well written hints of them.

Other stories I liked were Princess Alice, On Harting Hill, The House on the Hill and St Therese. The others were all acceptable too, with varying degrees of success. A couple did perhaps seem like fillers.

I have read two of Kate Mosse's books previously. I enjoyed Labyrinth quite a lot but did not like Sepulchre much at all. I had given up on the author. As I rather liked this book I will try others. I think I am most drawn to The Taxidermist's Daughter after reading the prologue from it which is included at the end of The Mistletoe Bride. It strikes me as similar in tone to the stories I have enjoyed in this collection.
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on 6 April 2016
Well, because this is Kate Mosse it gets the thumbs up from me, although I don't normally go for short stories. However, I was in hospital and needed something that wasn't going to require great brain retention skills. There is no doubt that she is a brilliant writer and even her short stories have well rounded characters, what's more she is very careful with her research.
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on 18 November 2014
First of all I did not buy this through amazon - it was an impulse buy in a bookshop just before last Christmas; big mistake as I paid a lot of money for the hardback version! The very atmospheric looking picture on the cover drew me in and that's why this book gets 1 star; the writing doesn't get any. In fact I am very annoyed that the book inside does not live up to the description on the cover - haunting it is not. It's totally misleading. I saved the reading of it until this autumn so that I could sit in front of the fire with my cup of coffee and sink into the stories. Apart from the first one 'The Mistletoe Bride' which was readable, the rest were tedious to say the least!
Another one, 'The Revenant', I abandoned halfway through. I haven't read the 'Syrinx', the final one, as I was just so fed up with the whole thing and it was wasting my valuable reading time.
I know that most people in these reviews have enjoyed this book but I felt that I wanted to give the other side of the review process. I know it is down to individual tastes but if you want to read this book, do yourself a favour and borrow it from your local library, save your money.
The final insult is that Amazon will only give me a trade in value of 0.25p.
As they say, "you can't judge a book by its cover". So true:-(
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on 21 February 2016
I love Kate Mosse's writing and this collection of stories is great for reading in front of the fire on a cold night. I loved it so much, I bought a copy for the mother in law. The writing is rich and eloquent, the stories are atmospheric and haunting.
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on 25 November 2014
Some writers I just pick up a book and know I am going to read everything they write.

Not so with Kate Mosse, I hummed and harred for ages over whether I should buy labyrinth, several times nearly buying it, but being put off for some reason or other. Eventually I bite the bullet and in doing so added yet another author to my read everything list.

This is as excellent collection if short stories as any I have read.
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on 6 September 2014
Great if you like short stories, as these are the perfect length for a bit of reading before bedtime. I love Labyrinth and Sepulchre; in fact everything Kate Mosse has written previously, but you don't need to be familiar with her work to enjoy this. The writing style is so different from her novels that I'd never have guessed she was the author had I not known.

The only downside is that, if you're a fan of horror, you might be disappointed. These stories are not really scary at all. In fact they're so tame I leant the book to my wimp of a mother, who still (at the age of 59) sleeps with the landing light on and won't have her window open in summer for fear of vampire bats flying in!

If you like to be mildly creeped out rather than outright scared, this is the book for you though. The stories are all are very well written and worth it for the price of the book too.
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on 11 January 2014
I be never read any of Kate mosses books before and this is my first the stories are quite good although I felt that they did start to falter the further through the book I got I thought the title story was the very best out of all of them however to be fair I did enjoy reading them they are more atmospheric than actually chilling to be honest I would read more of her books as she does write a good story but given the choice of ghost story writers I prefer m r James as he is a true master of the genre nevertheless I would recommend the mistletoe bride as it does have it's good points
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on 13 November 2014
Kate Mosse's wonderfully rich prose kept me glued to this book. Haunting ghostly tales written with a mix of historical settings, or based around legends and folk tales. Ms Mosse can weave a gripping story from a few lines of poetry or an inscription on a gravestone. A true master in the art of storytelling. Highly recommended.
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on 20 May 2015
Great series of short stories. Kate Mosse is a fantastic weaver of stories and pulls you into new places and worlds with her descriptions. Her style of writing makes her books very easy to read but still contain a lot of detail.
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