Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues.
THE GHOST GARDEN (1918) – Written by female author Amelie Rives. This story starts out in Colonial Virginia. Melany Horsemanden was almost legendary for her beauty but also for her mean-spirited nature and casual cruelty.
She had an elaborate dream-mansion constructed for herself and named it Her Wish. True love comes Melany’s way but her selfish and outrightly villainous nature drives away the only man who truly loved her, not just her wealth and beauty.
Horsemanden dies young and her ghost haunts the mansion for years. Eventually Evan Radford, a wealthy northern man, shows up and is so intrigued by the history of the deserted mansion Her Wish that he explores the grounds.
Evan is disturbed by his familiarity with so much of the house and the grounds. He is obviously the reincarnation of Melany Horsemanden’s love that got away.
Radford’s fascination with the area prompts him to linger and he becomes a houseguest of the Warrenger family. Evan falls in love with their daughter, Melany, thus outraging the ghost of Melany Horsemanden.
The dead Melany unleashes a reign of terror on the living Melany. Ultimately, Evan moves into the abandoned Her Wish to try to protect Warrenger from the jealous ghost.
Our hero contends with Melany’s spirit on several occasions but eventually the undead southern belle gets the upper hand. She begins to woo him away from Melany Warrenger and is slowly stripping him of his life essence so that he can join her in death.
Mustering some final resistance, Evan plans to go through with marrying the living Melany. Unfortunately the night before the wedding the ghost lures Radford out to her grave, despite Melany Warrenger’s efforts to prevent it.
Our hero falls down lifeless at the graveside and is pronounced dead by a local doctor. The dueling Melanys aren’t finished fighting over Evan, however, and a few nights later Warrenger summons the late Radford back from the dead.
He had been dwelling with the evil Melany in the realm of the dead and though the living woman brought Evan back to life he is now almost a soulless zombie, longing to return to Melany Horsemanden on the other side of the grave.
Before Radford can rejoin Horsemanden in death inspiration strikes. Burning down Her Wish drives away the spirit of the dead Melany, freeing Evan from her influence in time for a happy ending.
The Ghost Garden is a nice neglected bit of American horror but it is far too lengthy. Modern day readers may like it as a kind of vintage reversal on the Twilight novels.
I was disappointed that the story didn’t really explore the male lead’s creepy memories of his few days with the dead. Despite the way the early part of the novel drags I am genuinely surprised that this novel hasn’t been adapted multiple times for the big screen. +++
FOR A NEGLECTED WEREWOLF NOVEL SET IN 1790s NEW YORK STATE CLICK HERE
FOR ISABELLA OF EGYPT, FEATURING A GOLEM, A MANDRAGORE, A LIVING DEAD MAN, A GYPSY WITCH AND A JEWISH SORCEROR CLICK HERE
FOR MORE HALLOWEEN ITEMS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/halloween-season/
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