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Publisher's Summary

From two acclaimed experts in the genre, a brand-new volume of supernatural stories showcasing the forgotten female horror writers from 1852-1923.

While the 19-year-old Mary Shelley may be hailed as the first modern writer of horror, the success of her immortal Frankenstein undoubtedly inspired dozens of female authors who wrote their own evocative, chilling tales. 

Weird Women, edited by award-winning anthologists Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger, collects some of the finest tales of terror by authors as legendary as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, alongside works of writers who were the best sellers and critical favorites of their time - Marie Corelli, Ellen Glasgow, Charlotte Riddell - and lesser known authors who are deserving of contemporary recognition.

As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-19th century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird Westerns.

Curated by Klinger and Morton with an aim to present work that has languished in the shadows, all of these exceptional supernatural stories are sure to surprise, delight, and frighten today's listeners.

©2020 Compilation and introduction © 2020 by Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger (P)2020 by Blackstone Publishing

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  • Elisabeth
  • 02-06-2021


There are a lot of good stories in this compilation. There is some exceptional writing here. There were also a few stories that could be used as a soporific. Before each story is a short biography of the authors.
The Nurse's Tale, by Elizabeth Gaskell. 3 stars. 1852. An orphaned girl is sent to live in a haunted manor house. There is music from an organ that no one plays, as well as a girl who tempts the empathetic orphan to follow her. This is nice fluid writing that smoothly tells the tale of a haunting.
The Moonstone Mass, Harriet Spofford. 4 stars. 1868. Before Shelley and Lovecraft, the creepiness of the Arctic can be found in this adventure story which morphs into an existential crisis. Written at a time when the Arctic was still an undiscovered country allowed speculative fiction a free reign and Spofford created an otherworldly ice cavern in a landscape of "supernatural solitude". It is easy to see how she could have influenced Lovecraft.
A man with a rather covetous nature is tempted by something extraordinary that has a life changing impact on his life.
Lost in a Pyramid, or The Mummy's Curse, by Louisa May Alcott. 1869. 4 stars. A highly original, early mummy story.
What Was the Matter? by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. 1869. 3 stars. This is a rather quiet, unusual tale, involving a sister who disappears, a suddenly clairvoyant servant, and how this affects the family.
Nut Bush Farm, by Mrs. J. H. (Charlotte) Riddell. 1882. 2.5 stars. After leasing Nut Bush Farm, the new tenant starts to wonder what happened to the previous tenant.
The Gray Man, by Sarah Orne Jewett. 1886. "Death himself rode by in the gray man's likeness; unsmiling Death who tries to teach and serve mankind so that he may at the last win welcome as a faithful friend!” Quiet in tone, it moves slowly to the reveal.
In a Far-Off World by Olive Schreiner. 1889. 2 stars. rather ho hum, very short story about self sacrifice.
The Giant Wistaria by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. 1891. 4.5 stars. This is not a traditional ghost story; it is more of an expose of the horrors that some women have faced over the years. Written in 1891 when women had few rights, what better way to display this disparity than in a little ghost story?
The Lady with the Carnations by Marie Corelli. 1895. 4 stars. An enchanting portrait in the Louvre and the scent of carnations haunts a woman. A quiet, atmospheric haunting by a restless wronged soul.
The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman. 1896. 4 stars. It starts out on a dark night, with a group of people working by lamplight. The ground is covered by snow and they keep hearing someone crying to be let in. Eventually a stranger, a beautiful woman knocks on the door is allowed entrance. It is a night that will change the lives of two brothers irrevocably. A poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and hubris.
An Itinerant House by Emma Frances Dawson. 1897. 1 star. An attempt to bring a woman back to life results in a curse. This one really lost me. There are some interesting ideas but the execution could not keep my attention.
Transmigration by Dora Sigerson Shorter. 1900. 2.5 stars. This is a dark weird story about a man who wants to cheat death so badly he wills it so. A bit disturbing.
The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman. 1902. 4 stars. This is a creepy, fun story about an aunt who comes to retrieve her niece after her father has died. She is met by the father's second wife who is less than helpful.
The Banshee’s Halloween by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh. 1903. 2 stars. Darby O'Gill is out to trick the Banshee.
In the Closed Room by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 1904. 4 stars. A beguiling tale where beautiful children go inextricably and peacefully into a beautiful garden filled afterlife. Written at a time when child mortality rates were high, this feels like a story written to combat grief much like the tales of fairies stealing special children. The hope is that the child lives on somewhere else. Annoying narration.
The Dream Baby by Olivia Howard Dunbar. 1904. 2.5 stars. This is a weird and twisted tale of two retired spinsters who let their lives be overtaken by a baby that one of them dreams of nightly.
The Third Drug by Edith Nesbit. 1908. 2 stars. Also known as The Three Drugs. While escaping a mugging Roger encounters a strange 'doctor' who treats his knife wound. This mad scientist uses Roger for his own experiments. Not particularly scary or creepy considering the macabre circumstances.
The Pocket-Hunter’s Story by Mary Austin. 1909. 1 star Not for me.
Twilight by Marjorie Bowen. 1912. 2 stars. Twilight; a disturbing encounter with Lucretia Borgia. A young man comes across an aged Borgia in a garden and she would like to confess her sins.
The Swine-Gods by Regina Miriam Bloch. 1917. 1 star.
Jordan’s End by Ellen Glasgow. 1923. 2 stars. A decaying house and property and a crumbling mind are witnessed by the doctor who has been called to the Jordan property. The inhabitants are inbred and are prone to madness. The doctor's sympathies go out to the beautiful wife of Alan Jordan.

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