Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Book Review | Women's Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1890-1940 edited by Melissa Edmundson

Women's Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1890-1940 edited by Melissa Edmundson

Early Weird fiction embraces the supernatural, horror, science fiction, fantasy and the Gothic, and was explored with enthusiasm by many women writers in the United Kingdom and in the USA. Melissa Edmundson has brought together a compelling collection of the best Weird short stories by women from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to thrill new readers and delight these authors' fans.

I'm fascinated by the history of horror, and I love reading old stories by authors like Algernon Blackwood, H.G. Wells, Arthur Machen, and Lovecraft. With the exception of Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I haven't read many weird tales written by women. I'm absolutely loving that these old stories are being talked about via publications like Monster, She Wrote and being reprinted in books like Women's Weird (the book I'm reviewing here) and Women's Weird 2 from Handheld Press and the upcoming Weird Tales book from Valancourt Books. I am in my happy place here, and this volume of stories is a GIFT.

Women's Weird begins with a lengthy introduction into weird fiction and the history of strange stories by women. This leads into a list of books for further reading about weird fiction and its authors, a biography on each of the women in Women's Weird, and the bibliographical information for each of the stories in Women's Weird. It's such a treasure. I didn't realize until I was finished with the last story that there is a glossary of terms for each story at the back of the book as well.

As for the stories themselves, this anthology is filled with ghosts and unexplained deaths, and I absolutely loved it. I'm pretty sure I had only read the first line of the first story before I was already looking up and ordering the collection that story first appeared in in 1895. I was blown away by Baldwin's story ("The Weird of the Walfords") and the rest of the stories that followed in Women's Weird. Fair warning - Edith Wharton's story "Kerfol" contains animal cruelty, but I loved that story as well.

I'm looking forward to hunting down more stories from all of these women, but first I'm going to read the next book in this series - Women's Weird 2: More Strange Stories by Women, 1891-1937 - which happens to be out today!

If you are a fan of the old Weird Tales stories or you love a great literary ghost story, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Women's Weird. Horror has such incredible women in its history; I would love nothing more than to know these tales were getting the audience they deserve.

5/5 stars

Review copy provided by the publisher


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  1. This sounds amazing, I'm also very curious about women writers of the past, and this seems like a must read collection!

  2. Wow 5/5. Such high praise so how can I resist!


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