Ghosts of Christmas Past by various authors
‘We may think of ghost stories as a Victorian tradition, but the habit of telling spooky tales at the end of the year goes back a long way. Centuries before Dickens and his contemporaries began writing for a mass market fascinated by spiritualism and the occult, workers and families were gathering in the long nights to work, talk and swap tall stories of magic and horror.’
Who knows what haunts the night at this dark time of the year? This collection of seasonal chillers looks beneath Christmas cheer to a world of ghosts and horrors, mixing terrifying modern fiction with classic stories by masters of the macabre. From Neil Gaiman and M.R. James to Muriel Spark and E. Nesbit, there are stories here to make the hardiest soul quail.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the glitter and shine of the Christmas season becomes too much, and I start to long for something darker, perhaps even a little spooky. This book offered me the perfect escape from the tooth-aching sweetness of the holiday season with its creepy tales of ghosts and poltergeists.
This collection includes a mix of stories from masters of the ghost story like M.R. James, to newcomers to the field, like Neil Gaiman. Although I admit I found a few of the stories failed to grab my attention (and was more than a little disappointed to find that Gaiman’s was one of them), overall this is a fantastic collection.
Without a doubt my favourite story in the collection is Dinner for One by Jenn Ashworth. It’s one of those stories I can’t say too much about without giving it away, but suffice to say this ghostly story told from a unique perspective will send a shiver down your spine, and the final reveal is sure to send you reeling. I also thoroughly enjoyed Frank Cowper’s Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk; with its fantastically creepy atmosphere it reminded me of Michelle Paver’s ghost stories.
Snuggle down beneath a warm blanket on a cold night, perhaps with a hot drink to hand and a Christmas tree twinkling in the background, and prepare to be spooked.
Many thanks to John Murray for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.