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review 2020-05-02 13:47
Haunted Castles of England
Haunted Castles of England - J.G. Montgomery

by L.M. Montgomery

 

Non-fiction

 

This started out with a dramatic scenario description, written in second person, sort of guiding the reader through a ghost encounter situation. After that, to my surprise, it actually explained ghost stories as only having life as stories and nothing real behind them. After that it gets into individual castles that are known for ghost stories and I was amused to find seven of them that I have been to.

 

Most of the book is a series of blurbs about each of the castles, giving a little history and relating what stories have been told about ghost sightings in them and any speculation about who these ghosts might be. The approach is refreshingly objective, though the author does admit to seeing three ghosts first hand at the end.

 

I expect to refer back to this book as a reference whenever I travel, to see what stories have been told about castles in the areas I visit. Though the individual entries are short, they are sufficiently descriptive to be a good travel guide for the castles themselves, with or without the ghosts.

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review 2019-06-24 18:22
#7 in the Watkins Series
The Smile of a Ghost (Merrily Watkins Mysteries Book 7) - Phil Rickman
This is my favorite Merrily Watkins to date. It’s set in the Border country between Wales and England, it features an English castle with Tudor connections (Ludlow), and there is folklore, in particularly that of the ghostly kind.

Merrily and Jane start the book happy. Lol is moving in across the way, and while Jane will be going to uni or leaving home soon, things are pretty ho-hum. That is until there is a death in Ludlow and that is followed by another one. But they could be suicide, except Merrily knows the man who is a relative to two of the victims. Of course, she gets involved. But there is also the question of the Deliverance Office and how certain segments of the church want to shut it down. Then Lol starts to have problems because, well, some people aren’t happy about an ex-mental patient having a relationship with the vicar. He’s also nervous about an up-coming concert.
So, like most Watkins books there is a slew of things going on and part of the wonderment is seeing how they might, just might fit together.

I’ll admit that I was little lukewarm about the series when I started reading, but it has grown on me. There are several reasons for this. The first is that Rickman writes good women. His women are totally believable. They are not always talking about men. It’s true that Jane might be a little advanced for her age and that her relationship with her mother perhaps borders too close on friends, but reasons for this are given in the series. It isn’t just Jane and Merrily’s relationship that is wonderful, but it is also Sophie and Merrily’s, and Sophie’s and Jane’s. The women in the book don’t get upset or jealous simply because another woman is better looking or if their husband spends time with a woman. Their concerns are far greater than simply relationships.

There is also Rickman’s treatment of mental illness. Lol and a few other characters are either recovering from or in the midst of mental illness. The reasons for such illness vary. The important thing is that those that stigmatize mental illness are shown to be wrong. Jane thinks that Lol is damaged and sensitive and must be wrapped in cotton wool, and this is somewhat how she thinks about her mother. Yet, Rickman illustrates that mentally ill does not mean damaged. Both Lol and Merrily aren’t as damaged or as weak as Jane or they themselves might think. The development of Lol over the course of the series has been wonderful. Furthermore, in this volume, also illustrates the cost of mental illness on those who are family.

Lastly, there is Rickman’s use of belief. Jane and Merrily believe different things, but there is a respect for letting someone believe in what they wish. This is true of most of the characters. And whether or not there really was a ghost and to certain degree the mystery itself are left, if not unanswered, then to the reader’s choice. Rickman does not judge.
 
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text 2019-06-07 13:36
Take the Party to the New Level With Jumping Castle Hire in Melbourne

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Jumping Castle Hire

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review 2019-01-30 01:34
Haunted Castles - Ray Russell,Guillermo del Toro

I hadn’t heard of Russell until I saw this Penguin edition somewhere.  I love castles with ghosts in them, or at least I love reading about them and visiting them in the daylight.  Not sure, if I would like to spend a night in one.  So of course, I had to get it and eventually read it.

 

                The fact that Russell worked for Playboy does show in a few of the stories – one or two stories have a link with sex and violence.  The objectification of Playboy isn’t present though.

 

                The first three stories – the S stories of “Sardonicus”, “Sagittarius”, and “Sanguinis” are apparently the three stories he is most widely known for.  It was “Sardonicus”, a story about a physician who tracks to castle to deal with a man who makes an offer he can’t refuse.  The ending of this story is particularly good.  The other two S stories make use of Jekyll and Hyde as well as Elizabeth Bathory.  The stories are good examples of why writers like Stephen King enjoy Russell.  In fact, Russell’s Bathory is well done not only in terms of historical accuracy but also in terms of a believable reason.

 

                But honesty, the best story in the collection is “The Runaway Lovers”.  The title couple is pretty much what the story is about, but how Russell uses it is just so wonderfully twisted. The ending is just so great.  Forget any upcoming superhero movie – I want this movie.

 

                Most of the stories present wonderfully twisted and subtle endings, especially “The Cage” which closes the collection.  Several stories have interlinked characters.

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review 2019-01-26 14:49
Nice folklore and history blend
Haunted Castles Across the World - Charles River Editors

I picked this up when it was offered for free. CRE does a pretty good job with their folklore titles, and this lives up to that standard. While roughly half the book is the United Kingdom and Ireland, there are some lesser known castles included. They also included forts in Africa and South America as well

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