Sometimes, Something Special Comes Along.
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A Mistletoe Bride is murdered on Christmas Eve, 1893. Her ghost haunts the family stately home, Willow Manor, until her remains are discovered and the truth revealed. Set in the present day and Victorian England, the tragic young bride can at last share her story and put right the terrible injustice that destroyed her family and those she loved. The city of Oxfords Randolph Hotel, and the village of Minster Lovell, the site of the stately home, are the locations for this heartwrenching story of deceit, love and betrayal. The Mistletoe Bride, a local legend, was popularised in a poem by Thomas Haynes Bailey in 1884, and then set to music to become the popular song: The Mistletoe Bough!
The most memorable ghost stories are frightening because they expose the demons within us and in The Mistletoe Haunting - Legend of Minster Lovell, David Slattery-Christy achieves this with admirable aplomb. Too many ghosts in fiction are simply used for shock value, but there’s a mournful quality to Slattery-Christy’s prose as he exploits the line between the seen and unseen, where the living meet the dead and the mysteries of life are revealed. He understands that most ghosts are sad, and are attempting not to frighten us, but to urgently communicate something that they might find rest, and to this end his novel seems perfectly pitched. He knows just when to linger and create atmosphere, a sense of place, or sympathy with his characters, instead of falling back on trite clichés and this adds immeasurably to both the quality of his writing and the intricacies of his plot. The legend of the Mistletoe Bride, immortalised in Thomas Haynes Bayly’s poem The Mistletoe Bough certainly provides the scope to descend into routine shock and horror, but Slattery-Christy’s twists add for a far more suspenseful and ultimately chilling read that is nigh on impossible to put down.
A gothic ghost story to be read with the lights on, The Mistletoe Haunting - Legend of Minster Lovell has all the hallmarks of a classic and is recommended without reservation.
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