Top positive review
Great evocation of time, place, memories and history
on 23 November 2014
This is a great collection of ghostly tales, each of which has their origin in folk legends or is inspired by Kate Mosse’s own experiences, set mainly in either the English countryside or in France. The anthology comprises 14 stories and a short screenplay, each one accompanied by a short explanation as to Kate’s inspiration for the story. As with any collection, the reader will have a preference for some stories over others, and I found that I much preferred the English stories to the French ones. I found two of the French tales very macabre and did not like these much at all; The Ship of the Dead and the Drowned Village and neither did I like Duet very much as I found it confusing and rather bizarre. On the other hand, my favourite was The Yellow Scarf; inspired by the same folk tale as the eponymous story, this worked really well for me as I could ground my belief in it. I loved The Revenant and its central theme of someone returning to set the story straight and get their own back. St Therese had faint similarities with both these stories involving women displaying assertiveness and strength after many years of subjugation, one from beyond the grave. I found myself cheering for both these oppressed women. Many of the stories were also rooted in real life history, for example the story of the Cathars which Kate Mosse has used in the Winter Ghosts and other books. Lastly, The Princess Alice, whilst enjoying the story for what it was, has helped me illuminate the past of one of my own ancestors who also grew up in Deptford in the Victorian era so I was delighted to find this in the collection. These stories provide a good read for the weeks between Halloween and Christmas. 4.5.