The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales is the latest offering from Kate Mosse.
As the title suggests, this is a collection of short stories, each one inspired by either French or English folklore and legend or a particular time and place in Kate’s life. There are 14 stories altogether and she also includes her first play, Syrinx. This is the first time she has made a printed script of this play available to the public.
When I was asked to review this book, I was incredibly excited as Kate Mosse is one of my favourite authors. She has a beautifully descriptive style of writing which really makes you feel as though you are right there in the setting of the story. I was slightly concerned that,with this being a collection of short stories, there might not be enough time to get caught up in the atmosphere but I needn’t have worried about that. These stories are simply short versions of the type of story found in her full length novels. They include tales to stir the imagination with wonderful titles such as ‘The Drowned Village’, ‘The Ship of the Dead’, ‘Why the Yew Trees Live So Long’ and, of course, ‘The Mistletoe Bride’.
If you are looking for gruesome tales of terror then you won’t find them in this book. Each story is a haunting, atmospheric and moving tale about, among other things, grief, loss and revenge. The protagonist of each story has, due to their emotional state, somehow managed to slip through the veil between our world and some unknown shadow world not normally experienced by the people here on earth. Here they encounter phantom hitchhikers, white ladies, lost souls who cannot move on until they find closure, and spirits who are seeking revenge.
At the end of each piece Mosse has included an Author’s Note explaining where the story came from and what inspired her to write it. I found this to be especially interesting as it shows how, through careful crafting of words, a brief encounter or a simple visit to somewhere can be turned into a touching and moving story which captures the reader’s imagination.
I am in no doubt that this will be yet another huge success for this author and I thoroughly recommend it to those who love ghost stories of the gentle haunting kind, fans of Kate Mosse and readers who appreciate beautifully crafted narrative.
Normally I don’t include the blurb from the back of the books I review however, on this occasion, I will. I feel that it will give you a real flavour of what you will find in the book. I found this to be particularly moving and, if I were to pick this book up in a shop and read this, I would definitely have to buy it.
“I hear someone coming.
Has someone caught the echo of my footsteps on these floorboards? It is possible. It has happened before. I pause and listen, but now I no longer hear anything. I sigh. As always, hope is snatched away before it can take root.
Even now, after so long, I cannot account for the fact that no one ever ventures into this part of this house. I do not understand how I am still waiting, waiting after all these years. Sometimes I see them moving around below. Sense their presence. Bramshill House has been home to many families in my time and, though the clothes and the styles and the customs are different, it seems to me that each generation is much the same. I remember them all, their faces alive with the legends of the house and the belief that it is haunted. Men and women and children, listening to the stories. The story of a game of hide-and-seek.
I pray that this will be the day. The end of my story. That, this time, someone at last will find me. But the halls and the corridors beneath me are silent again.
No one is coming.
And so then, as always, I am carried back to that Christmas so very long ago.”
The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales is out on the 24th October, 2013.