The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories

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Title: The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories Vol.1

Writer: Edited by Tara Moore

Publishing House: Valancourt Books

Rating: 4 stars

‘’Imagine a midwinter night, an early sunset, a long drafty evening spent by candlelight. The season of Christmas coincides with the shortest days of the year and, for middle-class Victorians, a chance for families to reconnect in story-telling circles.’’

The Tapestried Chamber by Sir Walter Scott: A veteran spends the night in an impressive tapestried chamber but a nightmarish visitor forces him to cope with the most powerful fear he has ever experienced.

The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell: No Christmas Ghost Stories collection is complete without this classic story by our beloved writer. A dark tale of innocence lost in the Northumberland moors.

‘’I try to be patient, but my cross has been heavy and my heart is empty and weary, and I long for the death that comes so slowly to those who pray to die.’’

Horror: A True Tale by John Berwick Harwood: A woman narrates the incident of utter terror that changed her life forever. A haunting story steeped in Scottish legends.

‘’The vast monotonous moor, the threatening sky and the fierce rushing blast had something for me sublime and invigorating.’’

Bring Me A Light by Anonymous: Between sunset and moonrise, strange occurrences take place in an isolated manor in the moors. A young heir learns the story of his ill-fated ancestors. A marvellous tale, atmospheric and memorable.

‘’There is said to be a skeleton in some out-of-the way cupboard of every house.’’

Old Hooker’s Ghost by Anonymous: A strange story of hauntings that plage the offsprings of an old, noble family and an exciting masquerade celebrating Twelfth Night. Snapdragon always creates the proper atmosphere for a mystery.

The Ghost’s Summons by Ada Buisson: A young doctor witnesses the death of a wealthy gentleman under mysterious, supernatural circumstances. However, the secrets of the deceased and his family are much more terrifying. A powerful tale of (very) mortal wickedness with a fantastic closure.

Jack Layford’s Friend by Anonymous: This was horrible! Bad writing, boring plot, loathsome narrator. In my humble opinion, this story had no place in this collection.

How Peter parley Laid a Ghost by Anonymous: Why did we need a story in which the narrator calls everyone either a fool or an idiot? Why did we need ten pages over the differences between Gothic and Norman architecture?

The Mysterious Visitor by Ellen Wood: A tale that makes use of the visitation of the dead as a deathly premonition. The utterly stupid wife spoiled the entire story for me…

The Haunted Rock by W.W.Fenn: Following three uber-stupid tales, we are finally treated to the moving story of a rock haunted by the ghost of a young woman who lost her beloved in the sea. A tale rich in unique Cornish atmosphere.

The Lady’s Walk by Margaret Oliphant: A West-Highland tale dedicated to the hearth goddess that protects the ancient families of the lochs. Outstanding descriptions of the Highland nature, beautiful tale.

The Captain of the Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: A story of strange visions set in the Arctic Cirle? Dare I say that this one was a bit boring?

The Doll’s Ghost by F.Marion Crawford: A moving, dark tale of the bond between a girl and a doll, seen through the eyes of a troubled dollmaker.