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Perhaps no author can surpass Wharton in delving into the darker corners of the feminine experience. Four of the five stories in this collection are premised on the lingering horror engendered by the harrowing experiences of women ensnared in oppressive circumstances or by their own demons. The fifth, "The Eyes," has more to do with the repercussions on men who touch the lives of women living in silent agony.The conclusion to this tale is particularly unexpected, and it was only after I thought about it for a while that it literally gave me goosebumps--true horror which relies not on gore or violence but strikes at the very core of our own existence.
As always, Wharton's writing is superb and inexorably draws the listener into the gothic atmosphere of these tales. Each story has its own excellent narrator and wonderfully creepy music is employed at various points, enhancing the macabre theme.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
After reading Wharton's "The Duchess at Prayer," I looked for more examples of her ghost stories and found this excellent collection.
In the first tale, a young heiress inherits an estate, but before she can settle in to her new life there, she must master the situation involving the caretaker, "Mr. Jones."
In "Kerfol," a man looks at a prospective property in northern France. There he is met with a pack of phantom dogs. Searching for an explanation leads him far into the past where he discovers a tragic love story.
"The Looking Glass," has an aged Mrs. Atlee looking back to her youth when she was a masseuse to wealthy ladies. She is ambivalent as to whether she should regret or excuse "the wrong she did" her benefactor by involving herself in an occult conspiracy.
"The Eyes" finds us in the midst of that old familiar favorite of Wharton and James: gentlemen at brandy and cigars telling tales. The ending is haunting, ambiguous, and likely to stay with one for longer than the rest of these stories.
"The Lady's Maid's Bell," perhaps the best-known of Wharton's ghost stories, revolves around a frail private-duty nurse who finds herself caught up in drama and intrigue during what was expected to be a quiet assignment to care for an affluent, amiable lady patient.
I loved the narrators, music, and selections. I certainly hope we will have more of her ghost stories in the future, presented just as well as these were. May you enjoy them as well.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful