I finished ‘Immortelle’ by Catherine McCarthy and loved it so I’m re-reading ‘Crossroads’ by Laurel Hightower to keep the grief horror train rolling.
Both of these books deal with the loss of a child and the all consuming grief that follows. They also feature the bereaved mothers as the main character and the lengths they will go to to see their child again. But aside from those similarities, the books couldn’t be more different. Immortelle is set in 19th Century Wales and is imbued with a strong sense of time, place and tradition, whereas Crossroads is modern day America & examines grief through that lens.
What makes Immortelle sing is the lyrical writing that draws you into the insular world of a small rural area that revolves around the church and the graveyard, and how death was dealt with as a community.
The other aspect I loved was what the author chose to exclude, including some major elements like the death of the daughter and her funeral. Their exclusion was even more powerful than if they had been there, and a great lesson for writers in what you choose / need to show to get the maximum impact.
And both of these novellas are 100 pages long and give you that perfect fix of dark, grief laden horror without overstaying their welcome.