Ladies of Gothic Horror by edited by Mitzi Szereto

Ladies of Gothic Horror by edited by Mitzi Szereto
A Collection of Classic Stories
Publisher: Midnight Rain Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical
Length: Full Length (259 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Classic gothic horror stories from the literary mistresses of the past!

Many of gothic horror’s spookiest tales have come from the pens of women. Yet a substantial number of these women were overshadowed by their male contemporaries, especially with regard to the classics. “Ladies of Gothic Horror (A Collection of Classic Stories)” redresses this imbalance by bringing together a selection of gothic stories from the past written exclusively by women. Carefully edited and compiled by author and anthologist Mitzi Szereto, “Ladies of Gothic Horror” offers readers plenty of good old-fashioned chills and thrills. Whether you’re a devotee of the genre, a literature lover, an academic or a student, this volume of short fiction is sure to please. The biographies accompanying each story will show that these women were anything but typical for their time. Includes seventeen stories from authors Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edith Wharton, Marjorie Bowen, Gertrude Atherton, Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elia W. Peattie and many more.

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“The Lost Ghost” talked about a sad spirit whose life had ended far too early. One of the most interesting parts about it was how much empathy I developed for that ghost. While I can’t go into details about their backstory, I found myself thinking that I would have behaved quite similarly if I’d been in their shoes. This definitely wasn’t the reaction I was expecting to have to a haunted house, but it did make for some unforgettable reading.

The protagonist in “The Mortal Immortal” was someone who had lived a few hundred years so far without aging a single day. I can’t say much else about him without giving away spoilers, but I was fascinated by how he stumbled onto the secret of living forever without aging or dying. His descriptions of the many decades he’d seen over the course of his long life made me yearn for more. The final scene was perfectly satisfactory, but it also made me wish for a sequel. That’s a sign of great writing if you ask me!

As soon as I noticed the title for “The Room of the Evil Thought,” I couldn’t wait to find out more about how a room that had once been used as a minister’s study could have ever developed such a dark and terrible reputation. The author’s decision to give her audience so much freedom to come up with our own theories about how and why this room became filled with evil was a smart one. I truly enjoyed devising my own theories about what was going on there before testing them against the clues the narrator provided.

As much as I loved the stories themselves, the thing that convinced me to give this collection a five-star rating were the short biographies of each author at the end of their piece. I didn’t know anything about some of them, so it was quite helpful to get a quick overview of their lives after I read their work.

Ladies of Gothic Horror (A Collection of Classic Stories) is a must-read for anyone who loves the horror, mystery, science fiction, or paranormal genres.

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