Two delightful Christmas tales by Anthony Trollope, who, along with Dickens, was one of the literary giants of Victorian England.
"Such Good Yarns abd Nicely Narrated"
This creepy tale from Widdershins follows the same pattern as the others in the book: the supernatural element in it can be otherwise explained - that is, the strange happenings can be understood as being supernatural or merely mental aberrations of the protagonist. In either case, the story is meticulously written and quite chilling.
Oliver Onions (a pseudonym of George Oliver's) was a significant English novelist. He wrote this collection of ghost stories under the title Widdershins. The first story, "The Beckoning Fair One", is widely regarded as one of the best in the genre of horror fiction, especially psychological horror. The story can be read as narrating the gradual possession of the protagonist by a mysterious and possessive feminine spirit, or as a psychotic outbreak culminating in catatonia and murder.
This little gem of a novella manages to include a number of the same themes found in the longer novels in a much more compact form. Young Bessie falls in love with a man "above her station" and, although the love is returned, the social implications lead to many trials and tribulations before true love conquers all.
"A Cinderella Story"
In The Europeans, Eugenia, Baroness Munster, is about to be repudiated by her husband, a German prince. With her artist brother, she travels to Boston to visit relatives that she has never met in the hope of finding a wealthy new husband. Their uncle, Mr. Wentworth, sets them up in a nearby house, and his children, Gertrude, Charlotte, and Clifford, soon become friends with their newly found cousins.