Gathering of Souls by D.F. Holland
In the Tales from the Beaumont House story collection
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical
Length: Short Story (17 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
An interior decorator buys an antique painting with a heartbreaking, supernatural history that will turn her world upside down – as well as anyone else who takes possession of it.
Sometimes old objects carry terrifying secrets with them.
The premise caught my attention immediately. What I appreciated the most about it is that it left a great deal of information to the imagination while still letting readers know that we’re in for something deliciously scary. This was my first encounter with D.F. Holland’s work. Based on how much I enjoyed getting a few hints about the plot still be surprised by a few twists, I will be keeping my eye out for what this author comes up with next.
There was a good deal of telling instead of showing in the plot. This was especially noticeable when it came to Holly’s reactions to the painting as it began to give her glimpses of its awful past. It wasn’t easy for me as a reader to empathize with her responses to all of the weird things happening around her because they were written in such a detached manner. Had Holly been able to show her anxiety and fear more clearly, this tale would have very easily earned a much higher rating.
A chilling ending is essential for this kind of tale. While I came up with a good idea of how this one would end before Holly figured out what was happening, I was spooked by some of the grim details that were revealed along the way. They worked well with what I’d figured out about the characters and the atmosphere of the plot. This story definitely belongs in the horror genre!
Gathering of Souls is a smart choice for anyone who likes truly creepy paranormal books.