Book recommendation: The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse

I admit, when I pick up a book, I usually like it to be a novel. I like having plenty of time to get to know characters, and I enjoy spending a fair bit of  time with them once I have gotten to know them.

But, every once in a while, I like to read a collection of short stories. Oddly enough, the anthologies I tend to lean toward most are related to the horror genre. They’re usually straight horror, thrillers, or ghost stories.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I was drawn to The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse.

Mosse’s anthology is, as its title suggests, a collection of ghost stories and horror stories, as well as one play. Six of the stories were previously published, and the play had been broadcast on TV.

There were a lot of things I liked about this anthology, but the most prominent is the inspiration behind each of them. They weren’t all inspired by the same thing (well, two of them were, but I’ll get to that in a bit), but they do share similar inspirations. Many of the stories were based off of folk tales and legends from England and France, while others were inspired by the English and French landscapes.

These sources of inspiration meant a new experience for me. I’m not overly familiar with English and French folk tales and legends, but the idea of learning about them – even just slightly – intrigued me. That alone was enough to convince me to buy the book.

Once I started reading, I was hooked. Mosse’s stories were gripping, and several of them had me unwilling to set the book down. And, despite my desire to spend more time with some of the characters, I felt that Mosse did a wonderful job of both plot and character development.

As I mentioned, two of the stories were based on the same legend. But to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have realized this if Mosse hadn’t explained the inspiration behind them. While that could be due to my lack of knowledge of the original legend, I think it was because of the stories themselves. They were very different, and each great in its own right.

Finally, I appreciated the Author’s Note Mosse provided for each of the stories. Not only did the notes reveal the inspiration behind each story, they also explained why each was important to Mosse. And while it isn’t necessary to have this information to enjoy the stories themselves, I did find that it added an extra element.

Goodreads summary

A wonderfully atmospheric collection of stories from one of our most captivating writers, inspired by ghost stories, traditional folk tales and country legends from England and France. These tales are richly populated by spirits and ghosts seeking revenge; by grief-stricken women and haunted men coming to terms with their destiny – all rooted deep in the elemental landscapes of Sussex, Brittany and the Languedoc. The collection will include The Mistletoe Bride, La Fille de Melisande, Red Letter Day, The Lending Library, The House on the Hill…

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