After Dark: Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

I picked up Fireside Gothic at my local bookshop before lockdown. I’m a fan of Andrew Taylor’s books and here he’s written three short stories with a supernatural theme. The first, Broken Voices, is set just before the Great War where two schoolboys are left in the care of an elderly teacher one Christmas. In the shadow of a Fens cathedral, the schoolteacher tells stories of local myths until the schoolboys decide to check out the truth for themselves.

The Christmas and Fens setting are classic ghost story tropes and there’s a lovely gothic feel to this story, particularly as the protagonists’ stories are updated at the end of the tale.

In The Leper House, a man returning from his sister’s funeral gets lost and knocks on the door of a remote cottage. It’s an atmospheric time leap story and could easily have stretched to a novella, I was so wrapped up in the characters. The final story, The Scratch, has a beautiful New Forest setting and is perhaps the most disturbing of the three dealing with post traumatic stress and infidelity.

This is a perfect read for an October evening by the fire. Do check it out.

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