Wednesday, the 31st of August, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Since we’re nearing October, and the season of spooky reads, I thought of dipping into my stack of seasonal reads and picking out one that I have had waiting for a while and planned to read some Halloween, but didn’t so far successfully do so. I should mention of course that I am no great reader of horror or spooky stories but books or stories will mild horror elements are ok once in a way. Today’s pick is of course from the Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell or Mrs Gaskell whose books, particularly North and South are among my favourite reads. Besides her novels in which themes like industrialisation, class relations, scientific developments, but also relationships, with usually prominent female characters, she wrote short stories as well as poetry and nonfiction including a bio of her friend Charlotte Bronte. Her ghost stories are said to be different from her novels and other writings and written in a gothic vein. I have read a few of her short stories, which included one called ‘Lois the Witch’ (not about an actual witch but deliberately misused witchcraft allegations in the Salem trials) which was truly frightening because it was so real, and so possible.

This collection, The Old Nurse’s Story and Other Tales (1852), is one which I had downloaded a couple of years ago, planning to read it for Halloween but … The collection has the titular tale plus 10 other stories, in the gothic vein, but I am not sure if it is only the Old Nurse’s Story that is the ‘ghost’ story in this volume or the entire collection. Some from their titles, like ‘Curious, if True’, ‘Two Fragments of Ghost Stories’, ‘The Crooked Branch’, and ‘Disappearances’ seem like they will have supernatural elements, but let’s see.

Have you read this collection or any of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels or other writings? How did you enjoy them?

Lisa’s pick this week is Daughter of the Forest (1999) by Juliet Marillier, the first of a fantasy/faerie series.

Cover image from Goodreads


11 thoughts on “Shelf Control #198: The Old Nurse’s Story and Other Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

  1. I haven’t read the collection, but I loved The Old Nurse’s Story and a couple of other spooky ones of hers that I’ve come across in various anthologies over the years. I should warn you that The Old Nurse’s Story got a Fretful Porpentine rating of five, which means I found it pretty scary!!


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