Friday, July 3, 2009
Book Review: Garden of Ghosts by Scott Thomas
I am absolutely enthralled by the Victorian time period. The whole gothic mystique of the period – from the aesthetic of the clothing and architecture to the morbid mourning photography and the ever-present obsession with death – just feels so morbidly romantic! So it was with pure delight that I delved into Scott Thomas’ The Garden of Ghosts, a collection of short ghost stories set in the Victorian era. Thomas has crafted an eerie, unsettling tome that perfectly captures the time period’s interest in the supernatural, not to mention that the romantically mysterious Victorian era seems like a perfect place to set ghost stories!
All of the stories are written in Victorian style and feel as if they were plucked right out of someone’s diary. From fog-shrouded London streets to the snowy New England countryside featuring haunted houses, murderous apparitions, fearsome expanses of fields and gardens, vengeful ghosts and more, Thomas creates subtly frightening tales in the vein of Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allen Poe. Thomas’ stories creep under your skin, linger with you for days and follow you into many deep, dark nights.
My favorites in this collection include Rush-bearing, a startling tale whose horror sneaks up on you, the poetic and lyrical Pressed Flowers, the eye-opening Syringa Vulgaris, the Jack the Ripper tale Mr. Pickergill’s Unusual Oak-wood Box, the amusing The Haunted Tobacco, the disturbing story of suicidal sisters in In the Long, Weed-Haunted Summer and Winterberry, about unsettled ghosts of soldiers from the Revolutionary War. The rest of the stories are all equally enjoyable and I didn’t find one that disagreed with me. They all offer something different, and to my surprise each contains a different tone and voice so that no two are alike.
The stories have a delicate, polite way about them, but underneath their seemingly tame exteriors lies something chilling and shocking. Thomas usually waits until the end of a story to shock you with some ghastly revelation, but all the stories have an underlying sense of dread that run throughout them. Make no mistake, these stories will stay with you long after you’ve read them and will haunt your waking and dreaming moments! On more than one occasion I had nightmares about spectral spooks after indulging in Thomas’ tales before bedtime!
The Garden of Ghosts is a very limited edition (only 100 books were printed) published by Dark Regions Press, so I urge you to get your copy…before it’s too late! It is truly a hauntingly beautiful collection of ghost stories and is unlike anything out there today!
The Garden of Ghosts is now available on Amazon!