Post-Victorian Horror-Romance story; one of the first stories to really pull me into the literary world. A mix of wild magic fantasy, the mundane, and the creeping sensation of what lies beyond the shadows.
1920’s (written in, not about) Composer Roger Locke purchases a home near a lake in Connecticut, a farm. But, his first night in the house he is besieged by a strange woman in the dark and a mysterious entity that wants him out. Instead of turning away from the house and running back to the city he decides not only will he stay, but he will debunk what’s going on. And find that mysterious woman who he cannot get his mind off of, even to save his life.
This story is wild, I could talk about it for ages. There are four predominant characters: Roger, his cousin Phillida, the man she eloped with Ethan Vere, and of course the mysterious woman that Roger couldn’t tell whether or not she was human or spirit. That’s of course if you don’t count The Thing From the Lake, or Bagheera the cat.
Phillida runs off with a man who worked as an entertainer, her parents won’t listen to her; so she turned to her favorite cousin, Roger. He offers them a place to stay in his Cottage Farm after the initial fright didn’t scare him off. The three of them slowly go through the horrors that are centuries in the making, with an evil older than time.
Funny, witty, serious, romantic, and frightening! Maybe its because I can relate to Roger so well, but I fell in love with the story the first time I read it, and I’ve never forgotten it. I’ll quote two passageways, both early on, I wouldn’t want to spoil a moment of this story for anyone.
When Roger encounters the mysterious girl the first time, she breaks in to warn him, but she won’t show herself, hiding in the darkness. He gets her to stay by promising not to turn on a light, and he won’t move. Caught in a stalemate, she eventually leaves, and he goes back to the city to help with Phillida, when he comes back he wakes to a surprise.
How should I describe Fear incarnate? The Horror was at the open window opposite the foot of my bed, staring upon me with slavering covetousness of the prey It watched. I lay there, and felt It seek me across the darkness with the tentacles of evil that groped for some part of me which It might lay hold.
If these passages right from the flesh of this wonderful book don’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what will!
It could not pass the defense of my will. I felt the malevolent fury of It’s striving. Like the antennae of some monstrous insect brushing about my body, I felt It’s evil desire wavering about my mental self, examining, searching where It might seize. It had not yet found the weakness It sought. If it did-?
Don’t you just love the drama in these delicious lines?
“Who are you?” I asked.
A sigh trembled towards me. “I am one who stands on the threshold of your beautiful world, as a traveler stands outside a lighted palace gazing where she may not enter, and feeling the winter around her.”
I can’t describe the love I have for this story other than saying: what are you doing reading this, go order it, go read it.
It’s poetic and rich, full of life, and darkness; in fact, I think I need to read it again right now.