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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 16, 2010
Mrs. Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-65) was a great novelist. She wrote among other classic novels: "North and South"; "Wives and Daughters"; "Cranford" (recently serialized on Masterpiece Theatre); "Mary Barton" and "Sylvia's Lover." Less known is her work in the short story genre. She wrote many pieces for the periodical Household Words edited by Charles Dickens, the Cornhill magazine and other Victorian periodicals. She was also the wife of the Rev. William Gaskell a Unitarian clergyman in Manchester; a mother; traveler and one of the earliest and best biographers of Charlotte Bronte who was her dear friend.
Gothic Tales is a collection of eerie tales compiled in a new Penguin Revised edition. Nine stories are included in the collection which are:
Disappearances-a short article on unusual disappearances no one has been able to explain.
The Old Nurse's Story-The tale of a young girl who is pursued by a ghost who looks like her.
The Squire's Story-The story of Mr Hearn a highwayman.
The Poor Clare-The tale of Bridget and her daughter Mary. Mary disappears and Bridget seeks to find her but not before putting a curse on Mr Gisbourne who had shot her dog.Bridget's curse results in her grandchild Lucy's shadowing by a fearsome "Other." In her later years Bridget becomes a religious nun in the Clare order.
Lois the Witch is the longest and best of the stories in the collection. It recounts the tale of an English girl who is hanged as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. This nearly 100 page novella reminds us of the same type of tale spun by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is it the only piece in the collection which is set in America.
The Crooked Branch is the story of a quaint old couple who have a son who becomes a criminal. He returns to the family farm where he participates in a robbery.
Curious, If True is a delightful story of a man who wanders in a French forest. Arriving one night he finds a castle inhabited by fairy tale characters.
The Grey Lady is an excellent story of a German woman who marries a French nobleman who turns out to be a murderer. Her exciting escape with the assistance of a faithful servant makes for good reading.
Mrs. Gaskell deserves to be better known among readers. She writes in a clear and easy to understand style knowing best how to tell a story. I always enjoy her works! These little gothic tale gems are worth your time and money!
the Doom of the Griffiths-Resembles the Oedipus story of Sophocles in which a son kills his father.
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on January 12, 2015
A great vacation book! So much fun and it's easy to get lost in her amazingly creative and freakin' spooky stories!

A side note and question: Is the cover photo of a Caspar David Freidrick painting? Sure looks like it. If you are a lover of gothic horror, it's highly recommended that you check out his work because it really goes along with these stories!
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on January 16, 2011
Can't stop watching DVD of North & South so started ordering Gaskell books. This one is terrific so no doubt will love reading N&S. However wish somebody would tell Laura Kranzler (Intro. & Note) her pg. 350 #26 Magdalen note is not correct. Mary Magdalene was healed of evil spirits.....seven devils St. Luke 8:2, Thomas Nelson Bible 1975. The true condition goes along perfectly with "The Poor Clare" story. There are many Marys in the New Testament but this one was not called a prostitute. Unfortunately church leaders have given her that reputation. Enjoyed the other Kranzler notes & will read as much Gaskell as I can get my hands on.
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on April 3, 2013
Her tales are well worth reading today. "Lois the Witch" and "The Grey Lady" are short novelettes well worth reading. They are not 400 page novels like many Gothic fiction, but they are well developed and probably achieve a greater effect because of their conciseness. Most readers of Victorian supernatural fiction know of Ms. Gaskell as the writer of the superb "The Old Nurses Story," but these novelettes show that she was a master of the Gothic form, and are very enjoyable reading.
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on October 22, 2013
First, prompt shipping from the seller. These are wonderful short stories, suspenseful and chilling. The most chilling in my opinion is "Lois the Witch," a tale of witchcraft and paranoia in 17th century Salem. These stories also contain a great deal of historical information, presented in a lively way, that I really found interesting.
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on September 20, 2016
Not necessarily an easy read. Reads like an English class series
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VINE VOICEon October 8, 2016
These are not Gothic tales. They are random vignettes of vaguely curious incidents. Shame on you Penguin Books. Not the first time you have done this. Gaskell is an excellent writer but these stories weren't meant to go together for you to profit by misleading marketing.
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