The Ghosts of Kerfol
author : deborah noyes
pages : [paperback] 176
In her classic ghost story “Kerfol,” Edith Wharton tells the tale of Anne de Barrigan, a young Frenchwoman convicted of murdering her husband, the jealous Yves de Cornault. The elderly lord was found dead on the stairs, apparently savaged by a pack of dogs, though there were no dogs — no live dogs — at Kerfol that day. In this remarkable collection of intertwining short stories, Deborah Noyes takes us back to the haunted manor and tells us Anne de Barrigan’s story through the sympathetic eyes of her servant girl. Four more tales slip forward in time, peering in on a young artist, a hard-drinking party girl, a young American couple, and a deaf gardener who now tends the Kerfol estate. All these souls are haunted by the ghosts of Kerfol — the dead dogs, the sensual yet uneasy relationships, and the bitter taste of revenge.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book because I’ve been trying to branch out more and discover books that I haven’t heard about before. This was one of the books in that little experiment that I picked up from the library. I thought that it would be interested just because of the ghosts and murder. Then I realized it was several interconnecting stories and I was even more intrigued. While it didn’t completely impress me and isn’t a favorite, it also isn’t a waste of time and was definitely enjoyable.
I think that my favorite tale has to be the last not, and not because it’s the most recent. That and the first were the ones I connected to the most because the characters felt closer to my own age and were more relatable. I liked how every story had a different person with a distinct personality to fixate on, giving me an idea of what it was like living in that time period and dealing with this haunted house. Its history was gruesome and the horrors kept piling up as I flipped through the pages.
While there were some parts where the plot dragged, I had enough interest in everything to carry on. It did help that each story was fairly short, twenty or thirty pages long, so the entire novel was short as well. I don’t think that I’ll be rereading this, but I will check and see if Deborah Noyes has written anything else. Her writing style was really gripping and great.