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The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  231 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The figure of my wife came in... it came straight towards the bed... its wide eyes were open and looked at me with love unspeakable' Edith Nesbit, best known as the author of The Railway Children and other children's classics, was also the mistress of the ghost story and tales of terror. She was able to create genuinely chilling narratives in which the returning dead featu ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published July 5th 2006 by Wordsworth Editions
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Bill  Kerwin
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it

The Victorian writer Edith Nesbit is a study in contrasts. Although she was an unconventional woman, a Fabian socialist and a chain-smoker in an age when "well-bred women" did not smoke, she nevertheless--according to Mrs. G.K. Chesterton--suffered from "strange reversions to ultra-respectable standards."

Although her marriage to Hubert Bland was superficially traditional, and resulted in five children, it concealed a menage-a-trois: Alice Hoat, the "housekeeper," was her husband's mistress, and
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
A collection of 20 ghost stories by an author best known for her childrens' books. Some are scary, some are dark, some are just plain weird. Most are about men and what happens to them when they don't act according to some sort of „norm“. As we learn in the introduction Nesbit had to share her husband with another woman and even raised her child. She did so without complaining, but I believe her unhappiness comes through in her ghost stories where she punishes men whether they have done somethin ...more
Aug 09, 2011 added it
I actually really enjoyed this. I thought that because there were so many stories in here, I wouldn't remember any of them - but when I looked back, I did! So they must have made an impression.

It's interesting to see that Nesbit wrote in many different genres, and it is a shame that these were previously neglected. Written in a realistic, straight-forward style, which conveys her uncoventional and independent attitude. These stories definitely seem to be ahead of their time, and less genteel, an
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn’t know anything of Edith Newbit till I read this book The Power of Darkness Tales of Terror. Stellar story telling. I thought the writers of that century the ones I’ve read, Poe, Hugo, Conrad, and now Nesbit they all serve up a rich broth of flowing language but Ms. Nesbit who is especially rich in her detail and descriptive eloquence.

“There was a woman in it, of course, and money, and a friend, and regrets and embarrassments –and all of these reached out tendrils that wove and interwove
Hugo Emanuel
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
One of the least engaging collections of supernatural tales I've read so far. The stories fail to both chill and avoid the clichés of the genre. Despite the character's backgrounds and settings of the stories being quite diverse, the overall plots are quite common, which would be quite all right if the prose conveyed any kind of suspense or dread. Instead, we have somewhat fleshed-out characters brought to life by a prose which seems more preoccupied with being whimsy and witty than horrific or ...more
Tom Mathews
Perhaps best know for her Boxcar Children series, E. Nesbit also wrote many entertaining ghost stories. The stories are fairly lightweight, similar to what one would expect from an episode of The Twilight Zone.

My thanks to the good folks at The Literary Darkness reading group for introducing me to this and many other examples of literary dark fiction. There is no other group at Goodreads as capable of picking apart a book and helping readers glean from it all they can.
Shawn Birss
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This recent collection of works by Edith Nesbit contains the following stories, in this order:

Man-Size in Marble
Uncle Abraham's Romance
From the Dead
The Three Drugs
The Violet Car
John Charrington's Wedding
The Pavilion
Hurst of Hurstcote
In the Dark
The Head
The Mystery of the Semi-detached
The Ebony Frame
The Five Senses
The Shadow
The Power of Darkness
The Haunted Inheritance
The Letter in Brown Ink
The House of Silence
The Haunted House
The Detective

But for The Detective, I was able to find them all online,
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
my main takeaway from this is that people went mad reaaaally easily back in victorian times. one little corpse, or one little ghost, and folks were left drooling, gibbering, and ready for the asylum. otherwise, these stories were pretty good. some spooky, some funny. i think the real horror of them has been diluted because a lot of these scenarios have become cliches, but at the time they were written they must have sent more than a few people to the madhouse. this book is also notable to me per ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This was O.K...not outstanding but a fair collection of macabre tales and hit and miss quota wise..well significantly more hits than misses.
In honesty the less supernatural tales are the more fun as there's a cheeky deceit in the way of a couple of tales which I admired for their cleverness..much more so than the run of the mill departed lover returning tale or ghostly prescience ones.
Not bad at all the tales recall Roald Dahls adult tales more than say Lovecraft or Poe but I found this book wor
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
E. Nesbit, who is best remembered as a children's author, wrote many stories of mystery and the supernatural and this collection probably represents her best. This collection is worth reading for fans of Victorian/early 20th century stories of this genre. There's nothing particularly scary or chilling in this collection, and many of the stories are not supernatural at all. Often the central theme is unrequited or otherwise unsuccessful love or romance.
Margaret M.
My Goodreads group had this author/title on a read list - I am smitten! Just what I wanted - lovely ghost stories and intelligent writing. I am going to read more by this author for sure.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Violet Car by E. Nesbit
On Madness, Visions, Imagination and Ghosts
This will be more of a guessing note than a real resume, or rendition of the story. I can’t tell exactly if there is a violet car, if it was in the imagination of the sick patient, his hallucinations became contagious and here I am, doubting- was there such a car?
Actually I like lavender and the idea of a violet car, although preposterous to you, seems rather enticing to me.
But then, I did see an analyst, so there you have it
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
With her unconventional private life (sharing her husband with
another woman and keeping on good terms with both) is it any
wonder Edith often turned to the fantastic and macabre for
inspiration. I don't think there is a tame tale among this
collection. Some of them actual kept me up at night!!
Where to start - "From the Dead" starts conventionally enough
with the narrator marrying his best friend's sister when he
finds out his fiancée loves someone else but when his new wife
confesses it was all part o
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Includes some genuinely spooky stories that are week and is definitely worth a read. Nicely done social commentary mixed in with products of their time as pertains to race and ethnicity, which make it more of an appealing read for horror and dark fantasy fans interested in ghost/horror stories from the late Victorian period. This goes for readers interested in discovering more work by women writers from this time period - ghost stories kept food on the table for many of the great literary names, ...more
Jun 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Most of the tales in this collection are fairly standard of their type and quite enjoyable. There are a few, however, which might best have been left on the scrap heap. The compiler's intentions are to showcase Ms. Nesbit as not just a childrens author, and as that it works just fine. There are many other short stories by Ms. Nesbit in a similar vein to those collected here that might have merited inclusion over some stories that did make it in.

The contents list is completely out of whack, one s
Mengxing Fu
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is said J.K Rowling loves E. Nesbit's stories and I totally understand why after reading this book. The same crisp humour, real horror, accelerating suspension. A good read!
It seems that Nesbit is particularly fond of two men falling in love with one woman or two women over one man subject. I wonder whether it has something to do with her own life story: living under the same roof with her husband and his mistress. There must be stiffled jealousy and resentment, narrowly escaping into the gh
Axel M.
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulp, horror, mystery
Aus der Dunkelheit, von den Toten...
Eine Sammlung heute nur noch sehr selten nachgedruckter "Gespenstergeschichten" aus der viktorianischen Zeit, die geschickt zwischen die Werke von Conan Doyle und Bram Stoker gesteckt werden kann, oder die gesammelten Kurzgeschichten von Aleister Crowley.
Ich spüre ein Crossover in der Luft, und Feuer im Himmel!
Besonders angenehm, dass sie von einer Autorin stammen, eben jener Mrs. Nesbit, einer anscheinend flamboyanten Erscheinung mit sozialistischen Neigung
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books-read
I've never read any of Edith Nesbit's better-known children's books, but these short stories (mainly ghost stories, though not always with real ghosts) were well-written and atmospheric, and often had twists and unexpected endings. She was weakest when she took a stab a science fiction, with mysterious potions a la Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but for the most part it was a very solid and enjoyable collection.
Ade Couper
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The 1st thing I have to say is "ye gods! why did no-one tell me about this before?"

Ok , Edith Nesbit , otherwise known as EE Nesbit (writer of "the Railway Children", "5 Children & It", & "The Phoenix & the Carpet")also wrote ghost stories - & they're bloody brilliant! I'd put her on a par with M R James , frankly.

There's not a duff tale in this collection ; I will single out "The shadow" as 1 of the scariest stories I have ever read though......

Buy it - & prepare to be scar
Gracious Plum
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I've been reading this book on and off for months now. some of the tales were quite good, I liked the one about the car and the statues the came to life. some of them became quite similar. none of the stories were particularly terrifying but I suppose they would've been back in the day. I ended up giving this book to my dad as he didn't have anything to read so I didn't get to read the last few stories
Ruby Hollyberry
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Sort of 3.5 stars here. I really liked some stories, and others were too weak and ladylike. It was more enjoyable for the fact that not all the stories were ghost stories. Some are ghost stories, some are other kinds of horror, and some start out looking like ghost stories and end up humorous instead. The funny ones were some of the best of the bunch!
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Strong addition to my ghost story collection. Not sure why Man Size in Marble is the most famous among them as it's one of the weaker, more predictable, contributions. Nesbit excels at creating a creepy mood with her scenic descriptions. A treat to see another side of her from my childhood favorites, The Book of Dragons, and Five Children & It.
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nesbit really had the gift for stirring a bit of real charm and humor into her unsettling stories: try "In the Dark," for a good example. I'm going to read this one for our Thrilling Tales adult storytime podcast for May, and it should be spooky fun.
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-gothic
Best known as the author of The Railway Children, Nisbet was a fine and under-appreciated horror writer.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
If you like ghost stories, well worth reading.
If I could give tis book 3.5 stars it would be the most accurate rating. Some stories are very good, some - a bit disappointing.
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Too old school for anyone except retrohorror fans but a few stories are well written. I recommend the following three as standouts: Man-Siza Marble, the Three drugs, and the Shadow.
Keiran Thegreat
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Victorian ghost stories. Varied and well written short stories on a range of creepy themes. In my opinion a close second to M.R.James.
Chiefdonkey Bradey
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I shall not easily forget the creeping dread and pitiless conclusion of "Man Sized in Marble"
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connec

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