Gothika: Tales of Love and the Supernatural
by Eli Easton
Immerse yourself in four tales of love and gothic horror in this anthology by Eli Easton. Each story is novella length.
On the harsh planet of Kalan, weakness is not tolerated. When young spore farmer Edward suffers a carriage accident that kills his mail-order bride and his factory manager, Edward has little chance of survival, until Knox—an enormous “reconstitute” slave—plucks him from disaster.
Recons are part machine, part human remains from executed Federation prisoners. But Knox is different from other recons. He can read and has flashes of brilliance. With no one else to rely on over the bleak winter, Edward forms an alliance with Knox, and against social taboos, they become friends. Edward struggles against his growing lust for the large humanoid, and while Knox thrives in his new life, memories of his past torment him.
A twist of fate brought Knox and Edward together, but there will be a price to pay in blood when they learn how deeply their lives truly intersect
Colin Hastings is sent to Jamaica in 1870 to save his father’s sugar cane plantation. If he succeeds, he can marry his fiancée back in London and take his place in proper English society. But Colin finds more than he bargained for on the island. His curiosity about Obeah, the native folk magic, leads him to agree to a dangerous ritual where he is offered his heart’s most secret desire—one he’s kept deeply buried all his life. What happens when a proper English gentleman has his true sensual nature revealed and freed by the Obeah spirits?
“Among the Dead”
Ever since his accident, Neil Gaven sees dead people. He’s isolated himself, unable to bear the constant barrage of sadness and grief. But a gentle ghost grabs his attention on the bus one day. He seems to understand, to have some secret to impart. Neil works to interpret the ghost’s clues. Then they lead him to Trist, a homeless young man who is also tormented by spirits. Are they two of a kind? Maybe together they can find a way to live among the dead.
“The Black Dog”
Constable Hayden MacLairty is used to life being dull around the tiny hamlet of Laide on the north Scottish coast. They get occasional tourists, “monster hunters” interested in the local legend of the Black Dog, but Hayden thinks that’s only a myth. A rash of sheep killings, a murdered hiker, huge footprints, and sightings of the Black Dog force Hayden to rethink the matter. With the help of Simon Corto, a writer from New York doing research for a book about the Black Dog, Hayden tries to figure out why the enormous hound is reappearing. Hayden finds himself strongly attracted to another person for the first time in his life. But between the danger stalking the hills, Simon’s inevitable return to New York, and Hayden’s mother’s illness, true love may be more of a phantom than the Black Dog.
MMy Thoughts and Review:
Four timeless tales, one that flung me to an alternate universe where the body parts of prisoners are reconstituted in a Frankenstein-esque way and then sent to work as slaves on a harsh planet where they harvest spores used in obscure ways to “help” the government.
One such recon, KNOX, shows signs of intelligence and over time and with the help and aid of a newly formed friendship of his Young Master, he begins to remember things from his past life, that should have been wiped from memory.
In “The Bird,” a plantation owner discovers what it means to lose one’s inhibitions in a different culture. This allows doors to open in the man’s heart and mind that he closed years earlier, believing the desires of his heart lost to him forever.
Next up was a ghost story to rival any seen at the cinema. Ghosts can be terrifying, but they can also just be misunderstood beings as the MC discovers in the wonderfully vibrant and dark story about a man who suffers a trauma. Once it is over, he wakes in the hospital to find he can see the dead.
Finally, a legend brought to life in the frigid northern hills of Scotland. It is said the Black Dog is a harbinger of danger or destruction to come. So, why is it coming around now when the quiet town is fine, and nothing is happening? A very good question indeed.
This anthology is perfect for the season. The gothic sense, so dark and alluring draws you to the table, the creepy factor, however, sprinkled here and there, tickles your brain’s taste buds like a special spice. The romance aspect was infused throughout, much like a Secret ingredient that sneaks up on you. You can’t quite figure out how or when you first discovered it’s flavor, but it is what made the dish completely satisfying.
This anthology is a must-read to get you into the spooky spirit of the season. 👻
Sharonica’s Logic: 4.00 embrace-the-spirits-stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.