Tag Archives: Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Beyond Victorian Vampirism

Good Lady Ducayne   by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1896)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    February 9, 2015    Classic Tales from Women In Horror 

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This is the second week of celebrating Women in Horror Month. Are you ready to explore the short stories of Mary Elizabeth Braddon?

 

They were dreamers—and they dreamt themselves into the cemetery.

Young and healthy Bella Rolleston takes a job as a companion with Old Lady Ducayne. Bella quickly learns that Ducayne’s previous two companions became ill and died while caring for her. Mosquito bites? Or something more sinister? When Bella begins to show the same symptoms, dreams of whirring of wheels, sinking into an abyss, and struggling to regain consciousness, she is too innocent to see the truth of her employer and the local physician Dr. Parravicini.

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What is curious in this story is how the author Mary Elizabeth Braddon uses science and medicine instead of the supernatural to build a chilling story of suspense. Aging and vanity vs. youth and beauty are the hallmarks of this story not to mention poverty vs. money. The subtext runs a lovely quiet horror tone that is smoothly written by a master writer.

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Mary-Elizabeth-Braddon-horse-228x300Mary Elizabeth Braddon, born in London in 1835, wrote some ninety books, short stories, essays, and plays and was revered for her ‘sensation novels.’ She was rated alongside Wilkie Collins and admired by Charles Dickens and Henry James. Lady Audley’s Secret was her most popular novel. She introduced one of the first female detectives Eleanor Vane in Eleanor’s Victory (1863) and then again in 1864 created sleuth Margaret Wilmot in Henry Dunbar. At Chrighton Abbey, Dead Love Has Chains, and The Doctor’s Wife are worthy of rediscovery.

 

 

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You can read Good Lady Ducayne online at Gutenberg.net.au. Scroll down to the title.

Listen to audio versions of Braddon’s short stories (Sorry, Lady Ducayne is not among them but other short stories here are quite good) at Librivox.org Library.

 

I can highly recommend Braddon’s At Chrighton Abbey. This is Downton Abbey with a ghost. Sarah Chrighton returns to her homestead Chrighton Abbey, to the wintery “fairy forests and snow wreathed trees.” The abbey  is a stately grey stone, ivy- and moss-covered estate. Carriage rides, drawing room firesides,  hunts and hounds, a servant’s ball, and of course the Butler Truefold and Housekeeper  Mrs. Marjurum make this short story a snuggle-up read. Not to mention the family curse coupled with shadowy presences that only Sarah can see. I found this story to be one of Braddon’s most gracefully written ghost stories ever. Read it here at Gutenberg.net.au.

 

 

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

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 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

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Women of Horror for Halloween

The Specialist’s Hat   by Kelly Link (1999)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 29, 2013     Women In Horror

halloween-1351523573K4k On Halloween, take a clean whiff of the air. I mean really breathe in the landscape. Daylight is full of the toasted scent of rusty leaves. Maybe there’s a cider sunshine that sweetens the sky. But once that moon rises, the night’s scrim evokes thin spirits among the haunted oak trees, a bit smoky with tart of crab-apple, spice of pumpkin. And while the dead leaves crack at you like popped corn, taste the descending wind as it turns to cold ash when midnight strikes.

I love Halloween! So, for this week’s Women In Horror, let’s go contemporary. I know we love classic tales of terror, but I thought I’d divert in honor of Halloween and offer you a modern-day Woman of Horror: Kelly Link. Her short story The Specialist’s Hat won the 1999 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction.

In The Specialist’s Hat, we are in a two-hundred year old house called Eight Chimneys. Claire and Samantha are twins spending the summer there with their father who is writing a history of the house.  The mother is dead.

The girls like to play the Dead game. The caretaker Mr. Coeslak says the woods aren’t safe.  And here’s the thing. Neither is the attic safe. Don’t go into the attic. This night, the little girls are with a babysitter, playing their Dead game.

“This house is haunted,” Claire says.

“I know it is,” the babysitter says. “I used to live here.”
Something is creeping up the stairs,
Something is standing outside the door,
Something is sobbing, sobbing in the dark;
Something is sighing across the floor.

Would you like to go into the attic and play the Dead game with Claire and Samantha?

Read The Specialist’s Hat at KellyLink.net 

KellyLinksthweb2 Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won three Nebulas, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy Award.   Stranger Things Happen, was a Firecracker nominee, a Village Voice Favorite Book, and a Salon Book of the Year.

And for my diehard classic fans, I bring you two stories from another Woman of Horror:  Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Braddon was a prolific writer with over eighty novels, her most popular novel Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) and the highly acclaimed ghost story At Chrighton Abbey.

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The Cold Embrace (1860) is a chilly tale of love and romance. Gertrude is hopelessly in love with a handsome and charming artist, who swears his passion for her as well. But the golden dawns and rosy sunsets don’t last for long. How easily some men are bewitched.

Read The Cold Embrace at  Gaslight.

In Braddon’s The Shadow in the Corner (1879), Michael Bascom does not believe that Wildheath Grange is haunted. Until the young maid Maria comes to the old house. Read Shadow in the Corner at  Gaslight.   Listen to the narration at  Librivox Recording

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I hope you’ve enjoyed October’s Women in Horror at Tales of Terror. If you have a title or author you’d like to share, please drop a line in a comment box. And if you’d like more about Women in Horror, I have a guest blog at Monster Librarian, “Literary Ladies of Horror’s Haunted Mountain” where you’ll find a number of titles and authors, classic and contemporary.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad    Interesting Literature

Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify     Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

GoodKindles.net      For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

The Gothic Wanderer

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Halloween stories, horror, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror, Women In Horror