TITLE: The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales
AUTHOR: Kate Mosse
GENRE: Short Stories, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror
RATING: 3/5 Stars
A wonderfully atmospheric collection of stories from one of our most captivating writers, inspired by ghost stories, traditional folk tales and country legends from England and France. These tales are richly populated by spirits and ghosts seeking revenge; by grief-stricken women and haunted men coming to terms with their destiny - all rooted deep in the elemental landscapes of Sussex, Brittany and the Languedoc.
What I Liked:
- Kate Mosse is obviously a very talented Author with a real knack for descriptive writing. I was completely blown away by her ability to transport me to a completely different place and time, and I found this in all of the stories. The tales that really stood out for me however were 'The Princess Alice' and 'The Ship Of The Dead' in this respect. They really caught my imagination and I liked them a lot.
- As well as a creative use of imagery, I was very impressed by Mosse's world-building skills. She obviously has a great knowledge of the historic details of many different eras, and I was blown away by just how intricate the detail that she put into the setting was. 'On Harting Hill', 'The Yellow Scarf' and 'The House On The Hill' were good examples of this, and it made reading the story a lot easier and much more enjoyable.
What I Disliked:
- When it comes to short stories, it is difficult to find a good balance between descriptive work and plot-line. I feel in most of these stories, the imagery and build-up were so long and detailed that the climax and actual plot of the story fell a bit short. My least favourite was 'Duet' for this very reason. There was so much focus on the atmosphere and setting, and the way the character's reacted to each line that I didn't actually really understand what was going on.
The stories were pretty good as a collection. They weren't haunting in that I found them frightening, more that they were a little chilling at times. 'The Ghost Of Christmas Past' was haunting in a melancholy sense too, which rounded off the set nicely. Though they weren't bad, I wouldn't say any blew me away either. Despite the fantastic description, the finale of each tale felt a little lackluster and I would have liked to be wowed by at least one of them. Not a bad set though, and I would love to see Mosse's longer stories, where there's more room for description and plot to run alongside each other.