Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Classics. October 8, 2020. First published 1898. Genre: Fiction. Classic literature. Horror. Thriller. Gothic. Novella. Ghost story. Psychological. Pages: 203 pages. Source: Kindle Unlimited eBook edition. Audience: Readers of classic literature. Readers of horror or gothic fiction. Rating: Very good.
Henry James (1843-1916) An American writer. The Turn of the Screw first appeared as a series in the Collier’s Weekly magazine.
Summary: A governess has a new job caring for a young brother and sister who are orphaned. They live in a country estate managed by their uncle. The uncle doesn’t want anything to do with their upbringing other than providing a place for them to live. One of the terms of hiring the new governess is she is not to contact him. She and Mrs. Grose (housekeeper) are to handle the children. The children are Miles and Flora. They are described as beautiful children. Soon after the new governess arrives she sees a young man and woman. She sees them in various places around the house. They seem strange and sinister. She wonders who they are and what they want? Miles has been dismissed from school. The governess doesn’t know the reason. The governess shares her feelings to Mrs. Grose about Miles dismissal from school. The governess shares her feelings to Mrs. Grose about the strange couple she sees lurking around the house.
My Thoughts: This is not a story that I understood what is happening. I am left to “figure it out.” I had a thought running through my mind while reading it: is the governess seeing ghosts or is she having a psychotic episode? The governess is young. She is inexperienced. She is easily taken in by the two children because they are beautiful, young, and innocent. Much of the story is the governess’s thoughts. I wondered: what direction would the story have gone if Mrs. Grose had not believed the governess’s story about seeing the couple? The story intensifies with anticipation about the needed conversation between the governess and Miles because of his dismissal; and, who is the couple on the property? The story ends not as I expected and without closure.
What do I like about this story? I like the structure and form of the story. I like the unique telling of it. I like the other-worldly-haunting-feeling of the house. I like it that the story made me think…and think outside the box perse.
Is The Turn of the Screw scary? No. It is a strange story. It is a story that is odd-peculiar.
Publisher and Publication Date: Lake Union Publishing. 2018.
Source: Kindle Unlimited copy.
Audience: Hard to tell. Readers who are drawn to fiction, two time periods, and ghost stories.
This book is free in the Kindle Unlimited program.
I was drawn to the book because of the title and cover art. Secondly, I was enticed by the description of the story.
The front cover is gush worthy!
Kate Granger is separated from her husband. She’s moved back to her hometown to live near family. Kate and her dog, Sadie, a German Shepherd, go for a walk along Lake Superior. They find the bodies of a woman and infant. Kate is deeply disturbed by finding the two bodies. Even though the police are investigating, Kate, being an investigative journalist, embarks on finding out about the deceased woman. Kate’s cousin is Simon. He and his partner own a bed and breakfast. It is a family home that they are renovating. Kate spends much of the time in this ancestral home filled with aparitions, dreams, and memories to reveal.
Other elements in this story is the legend about Lake Superior. A book that’s been handed down. The mystery surrounding the deaths. Dreams and ghosts. A love story. And, two time periods.
There are things I like and dislike about the book.
•Predictable. Kate is a journalist, and it is predictable she’d want to investigate like a bloodhound what happened to the woman and infant. Other predicable things, like the link of Kate and the woman, Kate’s husband is the one who caused the split, and Kate has a gay cousin named Simon. I made that last point, because it could have been the other way around and made the book not predictable. An example, Simon is the main character.
I want to read stories that have not been told before or told in a different way. Teach me something about people I didn’t know. Show me a vulnerable side or a strong side of people who are not the norm predicted to be such.
•The ending. The ending is a rushed-strange-possession-I’ve got whiplash trying to keep up with what’s going on.
•I love a good ghost story, but this one is tepid. It’s possible the building up or descriptions were not icy or edgy enough.
•The legend of Lake Superior. I’ve not read anything about the curious legend. I’ve googled this, and found there are several legends and stories surrounding Lake Superior.
•The setting. I loved reading about small town quaint life near Lake Superior. So many of the stories I read have a location of the big city or Europe. The description of the town and the area surrounding the lake made me feel I was there.