Eight Ghosts (ed.) Rowan Routh

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I saw this book being hauled by some people on Booktube and was lucky enough to get it from my local library without having t wait. The book is a collection of eight ghost stories, each is set in an English Heritage site. These eight authors were each asked to pick a site to visit after hours and then to write a story.

I have a love hate relationship with short story collections for many reasons, often I find that the stories blur into one and I can only read one or two at a time, I also find that I’m rarely compelled to go back and pick up a collection of stories after I’ve put it down. I think this collection was different as it had the benefit of being written by different authors, and although these are all ghost stories there were very different styles in here. Below I will discuss a few which stood out.

The first story in the collection’They Flee From me that Sometime Did Me Seek’ by Sarah Perry was set in Audley End House, the only location I had visited. This story started with two women sitting in the tea room chatting about the ghost story of the place, a local women invited to restore a painting which has numerous stories of bad luck associated with those who’ve previously worked on it. This was atmospheric, and although you were always waiting for the inevitable ending it was satisfactory when it arrived.

The second story which stood out for me was ‘The Bunker’ by Mark Haddon. This stood out from the others as it was so different in style and tone. A woman keeps finding herself pulled out of her present and plunged into an earlier world/life. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this story as I spent a lot of the time perplexed but it had a great twist.

And finally, ‘Never Departed More’ by Stuart Evers who was one of two of the authors I’d never previously read. When I started this I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it as it was a modern story about a highly strung actress, exactly the kind of thing that I would normally avoid but I thought I would chance it as it was just a story. The actress decided to visit Dover Castle to get into her role as Ophelia, once there she meets a young man dressed in American Airforce uniform and so a relationship starts. Very atmospheric, this had the best twist in the whole collection in my opinion.

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