Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Ghosts of Kerfol


Noyes, Deborah. 2008. The Ghosts of Kerfol.

The Ghosts of Kerfol is an enjoyable short story collection that pays tribute to Edith Wharton's short story "Kerfol". I'd encourage you to take a few minutes (about ten or twenty actually) and read this haunting story about an old-and-creepy manor. The Ghosts of Kerfol is a collection of five short stories: "Hunger Moon," "These Heads Would Speak," "The Figure Under the Sheet," "When I Love You Best," and "The Red of Berries." The first two especially--"Hunger Moon" and "These Heads Would Speak" pay tribute to Wharton's original story. The remaining stories are imaginative what-ifs that bring the story into the modern world.

The original story is a story-within-a-story. Kerfol is the manor in question. The framework of the story is about a person (I don't think it says if it is a man or woman; if it did I missed it) who is considering buying Kerfol. The narrator is there at the estate exploring the grounds and hoping for a closer view of the house itself. But the narrator keeps seeing a handful of dogs around the place. We later realize--along with the narrator--that these dogs are ghosts. That one day a year--on the terrible anniversary--they appear. The guardian and his daughter always leave that day to avoid the creepy factor as much as possible. The narrator then reads an account of the history of Kerfol.

This second story, the inner story, is set in the seventeenth century. It involves an old man and a young woman in a "seemingly" "happy" but childless marriage. Happy if you think such a thing is possible when the woman has no freedom to move about on her own even on her own estate in and about her home, her gardens, etc. Sensing on some level at least her loneliness, he buys her a dog. What happens next isn't pretty. One day he becomes jealous and he strangles her dog. And it only gets worse from there. Believe me. Dog-lovers will be crushed at the cruelty. But the husband does get his comeuppance, he's murdered--and according to his wife's claims--by these dead dogs of hers.

The story isn't pretty. It's melancholy at best. And the stories crafted in The Ghosts of Kerfol are bittersweet and haunting. The first, "Hunger Moon," re-envisions the second story (Yves de Cornault and Anne de Barrigan) as told by a servant girl, a waiting woman. The second story, "These Heads Would Speak," is about a young man visiting the estate. He's there while his mother seeks to straighten out his inheritance. Anyway, this story parallels the frame story of the original in a way.

The remaining stories interconnect with the previous and the original. It was a well-crafted book. The creepiness was perfect. I enjoyed all the stories.

Other reviews: Teenreads.com, ReadSpace, The Well-Read Child.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Anna 8:55 AM  

I haven't read that story by Wharton, but I think both sound interesting. I like creepy, dark stories. Thanks for drawing my attention to them!

--Diary of an Eccentric

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP