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More Deadly than the Male: Masterpieces from the Queens of Horror

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Readers are well aware that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein: few know how many other tales of terror she created. In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote some surprisingly effective horror stories. The year after Little Women appeared, Louisa May Alcott published one of the first mummy tales. These ladies weren’t alone. From the earliest days of Gothi Readers are well aware that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein: few know how many other tales of terror she created. In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote some surprisingly effective horror stories. The year after Little Women appeared, Louisa May Alcott published one of the first mummy tales. These ladies weren’t alone. From the earliest days of Gothic and horror fiction, women were exploring the frontiers of fear, dreaming dark dreams that will still keep you up at night.  More Deadly than the Male includes unexpected horror tales by Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and forgotten writers like Mary Cholmondely and Charlotte Riddell, whose work deserves a modern audience. Readers will be drawn in by the familiar names and intrigued by their rare stories.  In The Beckside Boggle, Alice Rea brings a common piece of English folklore to hair-raising life, while Helene Blavatsky, best known as the founder of the spiritualist Theosophical Society, conjures up a solid and satisfying ghost story in The Cave of the Echoes. Edith Wharton’s great novel The Age of Innocence won her the Pulitzer prize, yet her horror stories are known only to a comparative few. Readers will discover lost and forgotten women who wrote horror every bit as effectively as their male contemporaries. They will learn about their lives and careers, the challenges they faced as women working in a male-dominated field, the way they overcame those challenges, and the way they approached the genre—which was often subtler, more psychological, and more disturbing.


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Readers are well aware that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein: few know how many other tales of terror she created. In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote some surprisingly effective horror stories. The year after Little Women appeared, Louisa May Alcott published one of the first mummy tales. These ladies weren’t alone. From the earliest days of Gothi Readers are well aware that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein: few know how many other tales of terror she created. In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote some surprisingly effective horror stories. The year after Little Women appeared, Louisa May Alcott published one of the first mummy tales. These ladies weren’t alone. From the earliest days of Gothic and horror fiction, women were exploring the frontiers of fear, dreaming dark dreams that will still keep you up at night.  More Deadly than the Male includes unexpected horror tales by Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and forgotten writers like Mary Cholmondely and Charlotte Riddell, whose work deserves a modern audience. Readers will be drawn in by the familiar names and intrigued by their rare stories.  In The Beckside Boggle, Alice Rea brings a common piece of English folklore to hair-raising life, while Helene Blavatsky, best known as the founder of the spiritualist Theosophical Society, conjures up a solid and satisfying ghost story in The Cave of the Echoes. Edith Wharton’s great novel The Age of Innocence won her the Pulitzer prize, yet her horror stories are known only to a comparative few. Readers will discover lost and forgotten women who wrote horror every bit as effectively as their male contemporaries. They will learn about their lives and careers, the challenges they faced as women working in a male-dominated field, the way they overcame those challenges, and the way they approached the genre—which was often subtler, more psychological, and more disturbing.

30 review for More Deadly than the Male: Masterpieces from the Queens of Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    La La

    4.5 stars on the blog. As with most anthologies, especially multiple author collections, there was a wide range in writing quality. What surprised me was the weaknesses of the more well-known authors including: Mary Shelley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Pulitzer Prize winning Edith Wharton. They would build these solid stories and then the climax and ending would be but a droll whimper. The Edith Nesbit (of The Railway Children fame) story was dreadful. The lesser, or relatively u 4.5 stars on the blog. As with most anthologies, especially multiple author collections, there was a wide range in writing quality. What surprised me was the weaknesses of the more well-known authors including: Mary Shelley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Pulitzer Prize winning Edith Wharton. They would build these solid stories and then the climax and ending would be but a droll whimper. The Edith Nesbit (of The Railway Children fame) story was dreadful. The lesser, or relatively unknown authors' stories which fell pancake flat for me were for the most part wandering with characters going places that had zero to do with the story, and they also had tediously detailed descriptions of things like what was in the character's pockets, or where an ingredient for a recipe came from which also had nothing to do with the story. I have the feeling these wanderings and descriptions were only there to give the reader more to read, like reading the back of a cereal box when you just want to occupy your mind. Ha ha. I also saw some of this writing style with the famous authors' inclusions, so maybe it was popular for short fiction during those times. These stories all had either easily predictable conclusions, or confusing open-ended endings which left me rolling my eyes. This too seemed to be a popular thing. It was also interesting to see how what was considered Horror at the turn of that century is what we would consider Paranormal Fantasy in current times. There were, however, three previously unknown to me authors whose stories were strong and extremely enjoyable: Annie Trumbull Slosson, Louise J. Strong, and Russian author Helena Blavatsky. They were in my opinion better offerings than those of the popular classics authors included in this collection. I will be looking into their other works very soon. The addition of short bios infused with some of the history of the times the authors' lived in, placed at the beginning of each story, was what garnered the extra half star from me for this anthology. They were interesting and gave information about the writers' personal lives, careers, and the hurdles they faced and overcame as female authors in those times. I was approved for an eARC, via Edelweiss, in return for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Victorique Crawford

    Entertaining and refreshing, the classics really wowed me this time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    tightrope.to.the.sun

    "'Wal, I talked with Jed about it; and says I to Jed, says I, 'Now, ef you'll take my advice, jist you give that are old house a regular overhaulin', and paint it over with tew coats o' paint, and that are'll clear 'em out, if any thing will. Ghosts is like bedbugs,--they can't stan' fresh paint,' says I.'" -- Tom Toothacre's Ghost Story by Harriet Beecher Stowe *I received a review copy from the publisher in return for an honest review* Guys! This short story collection was amazing. All of the "'Wal, I talked with Jed about it; and says I to Jed, says I, 'Now, ef you'll take my advice, jist you give that are old house a regular overhaulin', and paint it over with tew coats o' paint, and that are'll clear 'em out, if any thing will. Ghosts is like bedbugs,--they can't stan' fresh paint,' says I.'" -- Tom Toothacre's Ghost Story by Harriet Beecher Stowe *I received a review copy from the publisher in return for an honest review* Guys! This short story collection was amazing. All of the horror stories included were written by female authors between 1830 and 1908. The majority of those included are not well known or frequently anthologized. Each story was prefaced with a short blurb by the editor, Graeme Davis, to give some background on the author and some context about the style, genre, or importance of the piece. I enjoyed reading these, because I am much less familiar with what was typical of stories during this time period and it was nice to have a little stylistic background. None of the stories included were frightening or scary, so if that is what you are looking for, you will probably be disappointed. However, being a fan of horror, it is great to see the history of specific horror sub-genres. All of the narratives were well crafted and interesting, and there was a huge variety of topics covered. Many of the pieces were hauntings/supernatural/ghost stories, but they also included vampires, mummies, sea stories, transformations, and psychological ruin. by far, my favorite story was The Beckside Boggle by Alice Rea. The Beckside Boggle was set in England's Lake District (near the Scottish border) and Rea wrote characters who spoke in dialect that was difficult to get the hang of, but greatly enriched the authenticity of the piece. I don't want to ruin the plot for those of you who have yet to read it, but she perfectly captures the sense of unease the characters feel, throws a couple of twists in, and provides a really unique method of murder. This is a small thing, and probably nit-picky, but I was a little disappointed that The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was included in this collection. As much as I love that story, it felt out of place because of how well it is known. In so many of the before-story blurbs, Davis mentioned how little-known or less popular the stories he chose to include were. Finding such a popular story in this collection felt a little off-brand. Despite that, I loved reading all of these horror stories by badass female authors of the 19th and 20th centuries. They deserve so much more credit than they have been given by society, and I am so happy that Davis put this collection together. 4 Stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jess Schiermeister

    This was such a disappointment. I thought it would be better and I was looking forward to it. By far, the highlight is The Yellow Wallpaper. A few other stories were also a bit creepy but I wouldn’t really call most of these women “Queens of Horror.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Review coming to blog and Booklist soon

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Holmes

    I got to meet/listen to Davis talk about this book at The Bookies in Denver and enjoyed the heck out of his talk and then the heck out of the book. The stories were, of course great, but the concept and the research are top notch as well. Great pickup and I even got a signed one for my daughter.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Morris

    Stories included: The Transformation by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley- 3 stars The Dark Lady by Mrs. S. C. Hall- 4 stars Morton Hall by Elizabeth Gaskell- 3.5 stars A Ghost Story by Ada Travanion- 4 stars An Engineer's Story by Amelia B Edwards- 3.5 stars Lost in a Pyramid by Louisa May Alcott- 5 stars Tom Toothacre's Ghost Story by Harriet Beecher Stowe- 5 stars Kentucky's Ghost by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps- 4 stars At Chrighton Abbey by Mary Elizabeth Braddon- 4 stars The Fate of Madame Cabanel by Eliza Ly Stories included: The Transformation by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley- 3 stars The Dark Lady by Mrs. S. C. Hall- 4 stars Morton Hall by Elizabeth Gaskell- 3.5 stars A Ghost Story by Ada Travanion- 4 stars An Engineer's Story by Amelia B Edwards- 3.5 stars Lost in a Pyramid by Louisa May Alcott- 5 stars Tom Toothacre's Ghost Story by Harriet Beecher Stowe- 5 stars Kentucky's Ghost by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps- 4 stars At Chrighton Abbey by Mary Elizabeth Braddon- 4 stars The Fate of Madame Cabanel by Eliza Lynn Linton- 4 star (It is still applicable to today.) Forwarned, Forarmed by Mrs J.H Riddell- 3 stars The Portrait by Margaret Oliphant- 3 stars The Shrine of Death by Lady Dilke- 3 stars The Beckside Boggle by Alice Rea- 3 stars The Hidden Door by Vernon Lee- 4 star Unexplained by Mary Louisa Molesworth- 4 star Let Loose by Mary Cholmondely- 5 star The Cave of the Echos by Helena Blavatsky- 5 star The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman- 4 stars The Mass for the Dead by Edith Nesbit- 5 star The Tyburn Ghost by Countess of Munster- 5star The Duchess at Prayer by Edith Wharton- 4 star The Vacant Lot by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman- 4 stars An Unscientific Story by Louise J Strong- 5 star A Dissatisfied Soul by Annie Trumbull Slosson- 3 stars The Readjustment by Mary Austin-3 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    WheeldonHS

    Just finished 'More Deadly Than The Male', an anthology of gothic horror/ghost stories written by female writers. This anthology included several little known stories and authors. In fact, when looking up several of the stories on Goodreads to get a feel for what the stories where about, I ended up personally inputting many of the stories onto the database myself as they weren't there. Each story is preceded by a small biography about the author (sometimes more interesting than the proceeding stor Just finished 'More Deadly Than The Male', an anthology of gothic horror/ghost stories written by female writers. This anthology included several little known stories and authors. In fact, when looking up several of the stories on Goodreads to get a feel for what the stories where about, I ended up personally inputting many of the stories onto the database myself as they weren't there. Each story is preceded by a small biography about the author (sometimes more interesting than the proceeding story) as well. As it is an anthology, some stories are better than others, but overall the stories are well-written and engaging. I definitely recommend it to fans of gothic horror.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ava

    WOW. This took me quite a while to get through just because I have a hard time reading short story collections straight through, and also it was like 500 pages. However, each story was phenomenal and I found dozens of new female horror authors to dive into!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    So good, especially for fans of gothic horror. I love the creepy castles, the ghosts, the prophecies, twists of fate. It's all so good. And I love the stories the editor decided to compile for this anthology. Fun to read, and I was introduced to many female authors who I need to read more of! So good, especially for fans of gothic horror. I love the creepy castles, the ghosts, the prophecies, twists of fate. It's all so good. And I love the stories the editor decided to compile for this anthology. Fun to read, and I was introduced to many female authors who I need to read more of!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    3.5- I really like the idea of compiling the works of lesser-known female horror writers for a collection like this. Several stories stood out for me and I definitely think their contributions to dark fiction should be recognized. Tales of note: -The Transformation by Mary Shelley - Classic tale of body snatching; lush prose, written in a Frankenstein-like voice. -An Engineer’s Story by Amelia B. Edwards - Pleasantly surprised that this was a more entertaining revenge/ghost story than I would have 3.5- I really like the idea of compiling the works of lesser-known female horror writers for a collection like this. Several stories stood out for me and I definitely think their contributions to dark fiction should be recognized. Tales of note: -The Transformation by Mary Shelley - Classic tale of body snatching; lush prose, written in a Frankenstein-like voice. -An Engineer’s Story by Amelia B. Edwards - Pleasantly surprised that this was a more entertaining revenge/ghost story than I would have expected from the vague title. -Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy’s Curse by Louisa May Alcott - A thrilling tale by Alcott that does not disappoint. Seeds of a poison flower bring madness and death to those who plant them. -At Chrighton Abbey by Mary Elizabeth Braddon - A captivating tale of a family curse; the ghostly sight of a long-dead hunting party brings doom to the living family. -The Fate of Madame Cabanel by Eliza Lynn Linton - Spellbinding tale of superstitious hysteria when an innocent woman is accused of vampirism. -The Shrine of Death by Lady Dilke - Exquisite vampire-like dark fantasy/brides of death. -The Beckside Boggle by Alice Rea - Odd, but creepy little tale of a strange lodger in the night. -The Hidden Door by Vernon Lee - A paranoid, superstitious man is convinced that an evil entity is locked within a secret room. The buildup makes this one worth reading; echoes of Lovecraftian dread and Charles Beaumont. -The Vacant Lot by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman - Don’t fall into the trap of buying a cheap house near a vacant lot where shadowy figures are lurking.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Magelaner

    "From the earliest days of Gothic and horror fiction, women were exploring the frontiers of fear, dreaming dark dreams that will still keep you up at night." This intriguing promise from the book's dust jacket was what lead me to pick up this collection of stories; unfortunately, it was a promise the book itself was unable to keep. Not only did the majority of these stories fail to keep me up at night, more than one of them actually put me to sleep! Davis has obviously conducted his research int "From the earliest days of Gothic and horror fiction, women were exploring the frontiers of fear, dreaming dark dreams that will still keep you up at night." This intriguing promise from the book's dust jacket was what lead me to pick up this collection of stories; unfortunately, it was a promise the book itself was unable to keep. Not only did the majority of these stories fail to keep me up at night, more than one of them actually put me to sleep! Davis has obviously conducted his research into classic horror writers well, and has compiled an impressive collection of lesser-known short stories by female writers; what he appears to have failed to take into account is that many of these stories are not well known today because they are extremely tedious for a modern reader. I think this would be a nice enough book to read one or two pieces from every now and then, but reading through it all at once is a slog. It took me a few weeks to get through, and a lot of the stories have run together in my mind, to the point where I'm no longer 100% certain what happened in which tale, or which works I would recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Taylor

    An incredible collection of lesser-known ghost stories from female writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection includes stories from an array of famous female writers who weren’t known for horror, like Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beetcher Stowe, in addition to lesser known authors lost to history, and the best ghost advice I’ve encountered all year: nothing drives off ghosts like a fresh coat of paint.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Good old stories that illuminate society of >100 years ago. The highlight was The Yellow Wall Paper, a story of sinking into madness. Always good to have evidence that women have been full participants in literature since long before it was acceptable. However, none of these stories were at all scary or "horror." Good old stories that illuminate society of >100 years ago. The highlight was The Yellow Wall Paper, a story of sinking into madness. Always good to have evidence that women have been full participants in literature since long before it was acceptable. However, none of these stories were at all scary or "horror."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    These were so much better than Twilight series! Those women of past wrote some scary stuff.

  16. 4 out of 5

    SchatzyT

    A good book to read around Halloween.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Denise Duren

    Classic ghost stories from the 1800s.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I appreciated the collection of littler-known works and the brief biographies of the authors. The stories themselves just weren't tremendously impressive. I appreciated the collection of littler-known works and the brief biographies of the authors. The stories themselves just weren't tremendously impressive.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tallon Kennedy

    C / 73

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liam Thomas

  22. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joe Lopez

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eleah

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  26. 5 out of 5

    Manda

  27. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anastacia Russell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marily

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