I absolutely adore Gothic Fiction. I think it is one of the most influential and innovative literary movements of all time, and I am always simply astounded by the sheer genius in these stories. I picked up this collection of Gothic stories after reading ‘The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter’ by Theodora Goss, a thrilling mystery set in Victorian Britain, reimagining famous literary figures, from Doctor Jekyll’s daughter to the imfamous Sherlock Holmes. Having read (and adored) this, I wanted to read the original texts that some of these characters came from, particularly those which I hadn’t heard of before. One character in particular who intrigued me was Beatrice, a reimagined version of Rappaccini’s Daughter, originally written by Nataniel Hawthorne. Whilst trailing the internet to try and find a version of this short stories, I came across Butcher’s anthology of other Gothic Tales, all associated with Nature. I thought this was particularly interesting, especially when we consider the Gothic Fiction is often more intricately twinned with the supernatural than to what is growing at the bottom of our gardens!
Having bought it and then having it face the fate all too common for our bookcases – laying to the wayside, forgotten – I finally picked this up, actually for work. As this academic year comes to the close, it’s time to start turning attention to September. My particular challenge was finding texts for my A Level class to study for their coursework. I already knew I wanted to start with the Gothic, especially as it is such a brilliant springboard into so many other wonderful genres, and found my attention brought back to this little gem – and what a gem it is! There was no a single story in the collection that did not have me hooked and mystified, and every story was one I hadn’t heard of before. Butcher has picked utterly fantastic stories, ranging from the 19th century Gothic canon to the modern 20th century reimaginings. My favourites were: the tragic and heartbreaking ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne; the horrifying ‘Carnivorine’ by Lucy H. Hooper; and the mystifying tale of madness in scientific pursuit that was Emma Vane’s ‘The Moaning Lily’.
If you’re looking for something that will enthral you and is like absolutely nothing you have read before, look no further than this read!