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Fireside Gothic

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  322 ratings  ·  50 reviews

From the No.1 bestselling author of The American Boy and The Ashes of London comes a collection of three gothic novellas – Broken Voices, The Leper House and The Scratch – perfect for fans of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley.

Three dark tales to read by the fireside in the cold winter months


It’s Christmas before the Great War and two lonely school

Kindle Edition, 257 pages
Published November 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins (first published 2016)
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The evocative title is absolutely perfect for this collection of three stories, all of which have previously been published as Kindle Singles – and all of which had passed me by. I'm glad to have discovered them, particularly as all three are thoroughly my kind of thing.

In Broken Voices, set prior to the First World War, two schoolboys are required to stay at school and lodge with a teacher over the Christmas holidays. One of them is our narrator, whose parents are abroad and whose aunt has fall
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book - all three stories contained within are wonderful. The author says: "They were originally commissioned separately as Kindle Single ebooks and written over several years. With the benefit of hindsight, however, it's obvious that the stories share common themes. Perhaps fate intended them to bring them together all along."
Broken Voices is the story of a young boy left behind in England to attend school while his parents live in India in the years prior to the First World War. It is
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three novellas that have in common that they're ghost stories but, more important for this reader, that they're superb pieces of storytelling. There's a sense of M.R. James about them (indeed, I spotted a "visual quote" from James at one point, albeit involving a cat rather than a dog, and there could easily be others I missed), but the style is reminiscent, too, of other, non-Gothic UK writers like Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. If you're in search of formulaic ghost stories, complete with yer ...more
The three stories in this collection were originally published as separate “Kindle Singles” but they complement each other very well. Despite their different settings, they share some overlapping themes. More importantly, they all express the atmosphere of old-fashioned eeriness evoked by the well-chosen title Fireside Gothic. This is not blood-and-gore horror, but the type of other-worldly terror which creeps under the reader’s skin. I’ve read a blurb comparing these stories to Andrew Michael H ...more
Marcus Wilson
This is a collection of three novelettes and it has the feel of something that was rushed out to fulfill publishing commitments or something, it’s not exactly essential reading. Stories are ok, the first Broken Voices is by far the strongest, reminding me of M R James at times. I wasn’t overly taken in by the other two. Not a terrible book, but not a must read either.
Three tales that linger “hauntingly” in my mind: A lonely schoolboy and the music of bells, a man who’s sister punishes him endlessly, and a troubled ex-soldier’s obsession with cats

I need to search out more Andrew Taylor- thankfully he is quite prolific- yay!
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're in Susan Hill territory here, with a mainstream historical/crime novelist having a go at something weirder. The results are mixed and generally enjoyable, though I do have a few reservations.
The first story, 'Broken Voices', is a pastiche of the 'classic' ghost story, set in the early twentieth century and featuring a haunted cathedral, a troubled chorister, and a 'festive season' which epitomises Mud's 'Lonely this Christmas'. It builds atmosphere well, and would probably adapt very nicel
A little too much overlap between the stories and some cop-out endings, but still a spooky and well-written trilogy of stories.
Brian Stabler
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three well written horror shorts evocative of the classics. Probably best read sat in front of a roaring log fire in a dimly lit room.
Joanne Sheppard
Fireside Gothic is a sort of omnibus of three novellas by Andrew Taylor, who is best known for his historical and crime fiction. The three stories in Fireside Gothic are Broken Voices, a ghost story about two desperately lonely boys who are forced to remain at their boarding school over the Christmas holidays, The Leper House, about a man who becomes embroiled in a sinister turn of events on the way home from his estranged sister's funeral when his car breaks down during a storm, and The Scratch ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Having read and enjoyed some of Andrew Taylor’s historical crime novels, I was immediately intrigued when I heard about Fireside Gothic, a hardback collection of three novellas which had originally been published separately in ebook form as ‘Kindle Singles’. The stories are all quite different but, as Taylor says in his author’s note, they do share some common themes.

Broken Voices, the first of the three, has the feel of a classic Christmas ghost story. Set in an English cathedral city just befo
Circlestones Books Blog
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-kindle
A collection of three gothic stories


“The emptiness of the place enfolded us like a shroud. The air was cold and smelled faintly of earth, incense and candles.” (Quotation page 44)

The narrator remembers one special Christmas, more than forty years ago. He is fifteen years old and has to stay in school over the holidays, together with a boy named Faraday, who is two years younger. Mr. Ratcliffe, an old, long retired teacher, takes care of them and during the evenings, he entert
Missy (myweereads)
Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor consist of three stories which have a similar thread through them. The first is called Broken Voices which is set before the Great War at Christmas time. Two school boys have been forced into companionship in the care of an elderly school teacher. With nothing to do but to listen to tales about the creepy cathedral the boys concoct a plan to see if there’s truth to these stories which results in a fatal death. The second story is called The Leper House which is a ...more
Bill Lawrence
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'd not read any Andrew Taylor until after I met him at a book festival. I got to talk to Andrew and had a great conversation with him. Subsequently, I had to read something by him and started with The Silent Boy and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, to Fireside Gothic. It looked like a great Christmas book and I was not disappointed. Andrew Taylor writes beautifully in a classic style that is a pleasure to read. He creates a wonderful sense of atmosphere in these three stories from the cathedral schoo ...more
Fireside Gothic contains three dark-edged stories of (as the cover strapline puts it) fear, retribution and death. The first, Broken Voices, is the most atmospheric, set in the precincts of Ely Cathedral over a cold, murky Christmas period just before the First World War. I can't resist stories set in and around the closed world of a great cathedral and this one is full of detail and just enough creepiness to be an ideal story to read in a cosy room on a cold winter's night. The Leper House, the ...more
Tim Rideout
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The sound had a hypnotic effect - I was growing chilly in front of the open window, but I didn’t move. I stayed there until I heard another sound, so distant and so faint that the other noises of the night almost drowned in it: the irregular tolling of a bell.’

The Gothic continues to fascinate readers and the reasons are evident in this collection of three modern Gothic tales by Andrew Taylor.

Each novella is expertly crafted, with a subversive sense of underlying anxiety and menace established
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Gothic ghost/horror stories. This book was really good, my favourite story from the trilogy was Broken Voices set at the Christmas before the Great War. Two schoolboys and an eerie ghost story about the nearby Cathedral. The story Broken Voices put me very much in mind of M.R.James, a writer whose ghost stories are among the best. Eerie cathedrals and libraries being very much a part of M.R.James stories. In this book there are also two contemporary stories which were also very good and w ...more
Jane Watson
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book from Andrew Taylor - haven't read any of his for ages and had forgotten how good he is. Three shortish novellas, all different, but a number of animal themes in them - two have cats in them, two have pigs! All intriguing and ghostly, hence the Gothic in the title, but not hugely scary. Cleverly done, great description, and plenty to keep the interest going. Must read a few more of his or re-read perhaps. ...more
Phil Bradley
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much enjoyed these three novellas which had more than a touch of a modern day M R James. Each story was quite different, but shared the same feeling of quiet background menace. None of the stories had a traditional ending either where everything gets neatly wrapped up. The pleasure is gained by reading the story, not the conclusion.

I read these curled up against a warm radiator, which is as close as I could get to a fireside. Thoroughly recommend this trio.
J Bradbury
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3 fantastic ghost stories- hard to put down! Wonderful atmosphere created especially in the first story and linked by common themes including cats!
A fantastic read especially by the fireside on a dark winters night.
Sara Aye Moung
3 stories in the mystery/ghost genre. Not usually my kind of book but did keep me wanting to see what happened next. Maybe my lack of experience in this type of writing but I felt I wanted more definitive resolutions than those provided? That may be the point though!
Kirsty Cadman
3 spooky Gothic novellas that have a similar feel to the stories of M. R. James. I read this straight after another Gothic tale and these left me a little disappointed. The first time I read them that is! I I did go back to them not long after and enjoyed them much more.
Pam Winkler
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good!
Broken Voices was good, a perfect gothic story.
The Leper House was good, but I'm not quite sure what I was supposed to think of the sibling rivalry.
The Scratch was good. I didn't expect it to go like that. I liked it.
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I think it should have been a bit more or something...I read it, but all I felt was I was just passing time, left me with not much. Maybe I'll try it again, at a later date , maybe? Just one I wouldn't advise reading when life is busy or chaotic. ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally a modern believable "Three tales of fear, retribution and death." Well worth reading for that edge of the unknown that creeps into ordinary lives. ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The last of the three stories was the best. The other two began with so much promise, but fizzled our like damp squibs 😒 So all in all, a little disappointing.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, gothic
3 dark tales, each with a strange, uncanny atmosphere and unexpected twist. 3.5
Zoe Radley
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
absolutely chilling and very intoxicating loved every page.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three short stories with a slightly spooky theme. These weren't all out horror stories, more subtly mysterious. Very enjoyable and reminiscent of Susan Hill. ...more
Three good little reads; unnerving, clever but not too scary. Just the way I like it!
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Andrew Taylor (b. 1951) is a British author of mysteries. Born in East Anglia, he attended university at Cambridge before getting an MA in library sciences from University College London. His first novel, Caroline Miniscule (1982), a modern-day treasure hunt starring history student William Dougal, began an eight-book series and won Taylor wide critical acclaim. He has written several other thrill ...more

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