Friday, September 26, 2008

with a whimper

The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction, historical fiction, ghost stories
Challenge: A-Z (title)
Review: Noyes bases her stories on Edith Wharton's Kerfol. The first story is just a retelling of Kerfol, fleshed out, and from the point of a serving girl newly arrived at the house. From there, Noyes each story moves the the house closer to the present time, with various manifestations of the hauntings.

Her descriptions are uneven though. In one story, the house is haunted only by the dogs, as in Wharton's story. In other stories, there are various other ghosts, and it's not always clear who they're supposed to be. In one story, a girl dies. In another, a couple is only hurt. I would have felt better if all the stories were building to a grand exorcism of some kind, or if the hauntings all got worse until some drastic action were taken. In other words, I wish the stories had all built on each other in some way. But this isn't really how Noyes chose to write her stories. Except she did, in some ways. I wish she'd chosen either to write completely individual stories, or chosen to write stories that all built up into something. As it is, the tension of the hauntings builds for a couple of stories, and then just kind of fizzles.

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