Plus I have been looking forward to rereading something by one of my favorite authors of all time.
Back when I was growing up the only romance author my mother let in the house was Barbara Mertz who writes as both Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters (and also received a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago when she was only twenty three. Not that it is important to her life as a writer but the academic in my is mad jealous). As a Elizabeth Peters she writes murder mysteries with academic female characters and more then a splash of romance. As Barbara Michaels she write ghost stories, gothic horror and suspense also with a romantic subplot. I adore Elizabeth Peters' mystery stories but I really fell in love with the ghost stories she wrote as Barbara Michaels.
My favorites are:
From the moment she arrived on King's Island, Joanne McMullen knew that her sister's grief over losing her child had driven her dangerously close to madness. But when Joanne heard the same child's voice that her sister had heard wailing in the woods, she knew something terrible was happening!
The Crying Child is just down right creepy. Barbara Michaels takes the classic set up of a ghostly child's cry and builds the suspense up and up and up. As always I enjoy how she combines a whole lot of historical detail even into one of her books with a modern setting. Always a creepy read.
It is a find of inestimable value for Karen Holloway. The battered manuscript she holds in her hand—written in the nineteenth century and bearing the mysterious attribution "Ismene"—could prove a boon to the eager young English professor's career. But Karen's search for the author's true identity is carrying her into the gray shadows of the past, to places fraught with danger and terror. For the deeper she delves into Ismene's strange tale of gothic horror, the more she is haunted by the suspicion that the long-dead author was writing the truth . . . and that even now she is guiding Karen's investigation, leading her to terrible secrets hidden behind the cold walls of houses of stone.
One of the things that I love about Barbara Mertz, no matter what name she write under, is that she often writes about women academics and when she does they always come across as real academics. Thus I've always enjoyed this book, Karen Holloway has the passion and the drive of any young up and coming academic and as an up and coming academic myself I can relate. I also found the suspense to be riveting and then the conclusion incredibly creepy. I actually just recently found out that many fans consider this one of her weaker books which I think is a shame because this is definitely one of my favorites.
For the guests at Ruth Bennet's fashionable Georgetwon home, the seance was just a playful diversion . . . until Ruth's niece Sara spoke in a deep guttural voice not her own . . . and the game became frighteningly real..
This is an old-fashioned ghost story with everything you could want, possession, seance, creepy old house. The book is set in the nineteen sixties which can make it a little hard to connect with if you go into it expecting it to be contemporary but definitely one of my favorites. The mystery is solid, the ghosts scary, plus there are some hilarious scenes to boot. Put in the same position I only hope I could handle a haunting as well as Ruth does.
This is a ghost story that deals with some darker real life subject matter as well. Set in a crumbling old plantation house, this is again one of my favorite Barbara Michaels books because it scares the hell out of me. The only reason this book isn't a favorite, favorite of my is because I felt the ending was a little rushed but delivered no less of an impact.
This is another great and creepy ghost story, with a historical mystery that kept me at least guessing until the end. There are certain images from this book that have stuck with me the longest simply because of there understated scare factor. Gothic horror at it's best as far as I am concerned.
It should be noted for the record that the most recent of these books was written in the mid-nineties with Ammie, Come Home originally published in 1968 and all the rest falling somewhere in between. While I don't feel like that takes away from how good the ghost story is or how relatable the characters are don't expect these books to be contemporary to us any more.
Finally, speaking of autumn treats here is a picture of the vegan pumpkin pudding I made this afternoon the recipe for which can be found here.
It is delicious in case you were wondering.