Some have said that the principal elements of Gothic are the presence of the supernatural and a quality inherent in the world that arouses such feelings as fear or terror. To some degree, that's still true, but instead of castles and stark terror, today's Gothic atmosphere, and what we sought, can be found in narrow alleyways, a moonless waterfront, or in the corner of a familiar room where light always falls short. And it can be found deep within each of us.And so these 19 tales are steeped in melancholy, in an oddly gentle form of despair. Carrie Richardson's "Nuestra Señora" is told by a man who helps two lovers, a man and a ghost, meet once a year in the eerie spaces of a flooded church. Jessica Amanda Salmonson's well-crafted "A Mirror for Eyes of Winter" is about an aged widow caught in a winter storm: "It seemed to me that death was an icy terror that displaced the soul; it was a dark, dark cloud, iron hard even though insubstantial." Other tales feature ghosts that lure people into facing long-buried secrets, ghosts that seek to pull their loved ones into death, and even the hoary image of ghosts haunting crumbling ruins.
If this anthology has a drawback, it's only that the artistically conservative style may seem a bit tame to some readers. But the stories in Gothic Ghosts are subtle and well crafted, and will definitely please fans of understated horror. --Fiona Webster