Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense is an anthology of lesser-known stories from literary masters, including the likes of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and many more. Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger have collected these stories and set them in historical context, with an explanation of the significance of ghosts in literary fiction over the past two hundred years,
It should be noted that the stories in this collection are truly classic ghost stories: They are short, atmospheric tales of ghostly and spiritual encounters – definitely NOT modern horror. They aren’t gory or shocking, and in my opinion aren’t exactly scary, but they are creepy and rather spine-tingling.
To be honest, I didn’t enjoy every story. The writing quality of a couple of them was surprisingly questionable considering who the authors are, and one or two (particularly The Family Portraits by Johann August Apel) really dragged on despite being so short. Also, some of them are pretty old, which obviously isn’t a bad thing in itself, but this meant that the language used was sometimes quite difficult to follow.
My favourite stories were definitely The Signalman by Dickens which was the one I found the scariest and probably the best-written, and Sweet William’s Ghost which is actually a classic ballad.
I enjoyed the opening essay on ghost stories in literature, and the contextual description at the beginning of each story. This book is a definite must-read for lovers or ghost stories and classic paranormal fiction.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.