Charlotte Riddell: Weird Stories

Ere in flower the copper beech made a delightful contrast of colour and a birch rose delicate and graceful close beside Pure Victoriana if you like that sort of thing as are the ghosts and the plots But you can also see the changing role of women reflected in the tales as well Not scary Most of the stories are like mysteries where a house is haunted and someone investigates the reason for the haunting One story is a deal with the devil morality tale They all tend to sound the same after a while The only decent story is Nut Bush Farm the rest are mediocre Not worth your time I discovered this book last month when I was doing some research for a blog post about women horror writers from the 19th century for Women in Horror month I loved these stories They re in the vein of psychological horror so no gore and blood and guts here but they definitely have a lovely erie atmosphere to them Most are haunted house stories though not all If you re looking for something that s a little readable than Poe but has that same weird feeling this is a great book to start with An interesting collection of supernatural tales Riddell s strength is in characterization Otherwise the stories seem a bit conventionalThe main character in The Open Door ualifies for my Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives which is available at. And murder behind the facade of splendid houses these stories will appeal to the modern aficionado of supernatural fictio.

A collection of six Victorian ghost stories This is from a publishing house called Victorian Secrets which publishes books from and about the nineteenth century some of which might otherwise be difficult to find This collection certainly fits into the gothic category with rambling old houses recalcitrant furniture and apparitions It isn t always a house that is haunted in one it is a farm The hauntings are often linked to past injustices Charlotte Riddell was a prolific Victorian writer producing over fifty novels and a number of short stories Five of her novels are also ghost stories She wrote for the popular market and was the first pensioner of the Society of Authors The Victorian readership was very interested in supernatural tales Riddell liked to write haunted house tales usually houses that were cheap with local reputations rented or purchased by the narrator who then discovers why said house was cheap Many of the ghosts are female sometimes but not always women who have been wronged In her introduction to the collection Emma Liggins points out that the two Married Women s Property Acts had recently been Mean Girls enacted and there was increasing debates about the rights of women Ghost stories can give the author licence to push the boundaries of fiction byxploring female sexuality property ownership and the strangeness. A collection of short ghost stories by Victorian writer Charlotte Riddell Includes Walnut Tree House The Open Door Nut Bus.

Of others Riddell shows the influence of the Bronte s particularly Jane Eyre in the last storyAlthough these are ghost stories there is little horror the ghosts often point and try to correct past wrongs rather than shriek and howl There are often Moonlight and Mistletoe (Harlequin Historical, economic issues at stake and Riddell points to the futility of both miserliness and overspending Financial volatility and risk are at the centre of a number of the tales For many Victorian readers uncertain finances were as scary as the ghosts and Riddell weaves the two together Riddell can turn her hand to description as well I looked at it over a low laurel hedge growing inside an open paling about four feet high Beyond the hedge there was a strip of turf green asmeralds smooth as a bowling green then came a sunk fence the most picturesue sort of protection the ingenuity of man ver devised beyond that a close cut lawn which sloped down to the sunk fence from a house with projecting gables in the front the recessed portion of the building having three windows on the first floor Both gables were covered with creepers the lawn was girt in by a semicircular sweep of forest trees the afternoon sun streamed over the grass and tinted the swaying foliage with a thousand tender lights Hawthorn bushes pink and white mingled with their taller and grander brothers The chestnuts here H Farm Sandy the Tinker and Old Mrs Jones With their monstrous women and uncanny children their tales of dissolution greed.

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JH RiddellCharlotte Riddell aka Mrs JH Riddell was a one of the most popular and influential writers of the Victorian period The author of 56 books novels and short stories she was also part owner and editor of the St James's Magazine one of the most prestigious literary magazines of the 1860sfrom Wikipedia