Give yourself the chills with these five haunting reads. The Virago Chilling Reads bundle includes:
In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, its owners - mother, son and daughter - struggling to keep pace. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.
In these powerful and elegant tales, Edith Wharton evokes moods of disquiet and darkness within her own era. In icy new England a fearsome double foreshadows the fate of a rich young man; a married farmer is bewitched by a dead girl; a ghostly bell saves a woman's reputation. Brittany conjures ancient cruelties, Dorset witnesses a retrospective haunting and a New York club cushions an elderly aesthete as he tells of the ghastly eyes haunting his nights.
High in the Himalayas, the mountaintop palace shines like a jewel. Built for the General's harem, laughter and music once floated out over the gorge. Now it sits abandoned, windswept and haunting.
The palace is bestowed to the Sisters of Mary, and what was once known as 'the House of Women' becomes the Convent of St Faith. Close to the heavens, the nuns feel inspired, working fervently to establish their school and hospital. But as the isolation and emptiness of the mountain become increasingly unsettling, passions long repressed emerge with tragic consequences . . .
A girl returns from boarding school to her sleepy Merseyside hometown and waits to be reunited with her childhood friend, Harriet, chief architect of all their past mischief. She roams listlessly along the shoreline and the woods still pitted with wartime trenches and encounters 'the Tsar' - almost old, unhappily married, both dangerously fascinating and repulsive.
Pretty, malevolent Harriet finally arrives - and over the course of the long holidays draws her friend into a scheme to beguile then humiliate the Tsar, with disastrous, shocking consequences.
Dara and Marie were trained as ballet dancers by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters took over running the school together with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker - a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration - an interloper arrives and threatens their delicate balance.