Category Archives: Reading

Some books from my past: 13 Ghostly Tales by Freya Littledale (editor)

This must have been an order from Scholastic Books because that’s what it says on the back. I remember some of the stories in this collection: Wait Till Martin Comes is one, but I don’t remember anything about it. I might remember The Railroad Ghost, but it could be something else I am thinking of (no — I checked, same story).

I think many of the stories are those that are passed down by the generations, so the authors below probably did not make the stories up, but put them down in writing.

Here are the books in the collection:

  1. Wait Till Martin Comes by Maria Leach
  2. The Trunk in the Attic by Adele DeLeeuw
  3. The Railroad Ghost by Murray T. Pringle
  4. The Dare by Maria Leach
  5. The Wild Ride in the Tilt Cart by Sorche Nic Leodhas
  6. The Ghost with one Sock by Freya Littledale
  7. The Most Haunted House by Louis C. Jones
  8. The Witch in the Wintry Wood by Aileen Fisher
  9. The Ghost Dog of South Mountain by Frances Carpenter
  10. The Thing at the Foot of the Bed by Maria Leach
  11. Ghost in the Orchard by Aileen Fisher
  12. The Golden Arm by Maria Leach
  13. The Ghosts from the Graveyard by Sorche Nic Leodhas

Some books from my past: Silverhill by Phyllis A. Whitney

Before I knew about Victoria Holt, I read Phyllis A. Whitney books. I distinctly remember where her books were on the library shelf at Gail Borden Library in Elgin. Their books were similar because there was always romance, always a mystery and the books were always told from a woman’s point of view.

The blurb on the cover flap of this book reads:

I opened the door and went down the gallery steps into the hall of mirrors, into a world of confusion. A hundred candles–a thousand candles–bloomed through the long room, repeating themselves in mirrors and windows, marching without end in myriad rows that receded to the infinite….I stood lost in bewilderment, touched by fear….

SILVERHILL — a novel of romantic suspense in which Phyllis Whitney once more creates an atmosphere of shuddering mystery–of stagnant evil which lurks behind the beauty of the setting.

SILVERHILL–a gray ghost of a house brooding among its white birch trees, which seems to Mallie Rice haunted by evil reflections from the past. In its Hall of Mirrors even her cousin Gerald Gorham, curator of the fabulous Gorham collection of treasures, hardly knows reality from illusion. Yet Mallie must discover the truth the great house so mockingly conceals.

SILVERHILL–where the shadow of Grandmother Julia Gorham lies long across the lives of those forced to remain beneath its roof. Here Mallie must fight to understand Wayne Martin, the young doctor who deeply attracts her, fight to save her half-demented Aunt Arvilla, and at length fight for her very life.

SILVERHILL–marshals its mysterious forces to move against Mallie, in an attempt to destroy her love and her sanity, as Aunt Arvilla’s were destroyed so long ago.

I will likely never read this again, but I just cannot throw it away.

Some books from my past: The King of the Castle by Victoria Holt

When cleaning out my mother’s attic knee-walls I found lots of books, most of which we left there to be sold or tossed. Some were mine from my younger days.

One of these books is The King of the Castle by Victoria Holt that I was sure I’d bought in England until I opened the cover and saw “STOP AND SWAP AT GAIL BORDEN PUBLIC LIBRARY” stamped on the inside front cover.

I don’t remember the plot, but I am sure it involves a woman who is   destined to become a governess or something who meets a handsome rich man who she dislikes at first, but falls in love with him and after some drama and scary things happening she knows he loves her too and they wed.

I should know, I read dozens of these Gothic romance books, mostly by Victoria Holt, but also other authors.

The back cover confirms at least some of the above:

She came alone to the legend-haunted chateau, the castle of the notorious Come de la Talle, deep in the wine country of France. From the moment Dallas Lawson arrived, she sensed an atmosphere of tension. She did not know that her arrival was a threat, that they did not want her in their midst, probing dark corners of the family mansion, lifting the dust from age-old family secrets…

She should have turned and run. But Dallas Lawson knew when she set eyes on the King of the castle, the handsome Comte, that she would never leave willingly. What she didn’t know was that she stood a good chance of never leaving at all…alive.

I really should read a Victoria Holt book again, it has been decades.

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street was a book group read. The host wanted something light for summer. I am glad she chose it because I really liked it. I’d only ever read one or two of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana books and didn’t even know about this series.

I think my favorite thing about the book was that it was written as a challenge by Armistead Maupin and the book reminded me a lot of Tales of the City.

We had the book group discussion about this on Thursday book and it seemed that everyone else enjoyed it too.