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Pretty Marys All in a Row
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Pretty Marys All in a Row

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  65 reviews
You’ll find her on a lonely highway, hitchhiking at midnight. She calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her by another name: Resurrection Mary. And when she’s transported home each night to a decrepit mansion on a lane to nowhere, she’s not alone.

In the antique mirror, call her name three times, and Bloody Mary will appear. Outside, wandering through a garden of pois
Paperback, 94 pages
Published November 28th 2017 by Broken Eye Books
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Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Mack. Mistress Mary. Mari Lwyd. Resurrection Mary. Bloody Mary. They’ve been the subjects of terrifying legends or strange nursery rhymes for ages. Have you ever wondered what’s beyond their creepy songs and sightings? In her haunting new novella, talented, on-the-rise author Gwendolyn Kiste aims to explore their stories more, not necessarily their origins mind you, because that’s boring, but explore where they go and what they do when they’re not disturbing us.
Once upon a time, the
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have officially found a new favorite author. Gwendolyn Kiste has a gift for fantastic storytelling, and I'm over the moon to have found her.

I absolutely adore the way Kiste takes fairy tales, urban legends, and nursery rhymes and weaves them into her own dark tales. In Pretty Marys All in a Row the five Marys are phantoms who live together in a rundown mansion at night, feeding each other the fear they have collected in order to stay vibrant and retain their traditional roles. Resurrection Mar
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
One of the shortest and most frustrating reads of 2018 for me, Pretty Marys all in a Row really had the potential to be something truly amazing. But though the initial concept is quite unique (and just damn cool as well), author Gwendolyn Kiste just couldn’t quite stick the landing. And that was where the frustration came from; I really really REALLY wanted this book to deliver on the awesome premise. And damn, just look at that cover!

The highway, my forever companion, is a trimming of black sat
Robert Vanneste
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 . An original story or to me anyway . It was inconsistent in places but overall an easy read .
Eddie Generous
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unnerving Magazine Review
Mary is a name synonymous with ghosts, the kind of lurking visages that come when called and scare with presence rather than action. This is a tale that explores these Marys trapped in ghastly duty, and, damn, what an intriguing idea.
It’s interesting in a way beyond a single note and the progression of the story is unpredictable, impressive. This probably in part because it’s a topic I’ve never considered, but now am thinking about, wondering the how and why of the name
Orrin Grey
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
One part Candyman, one part Final Girls, stir until it's something that feels like you could play it as a World of Darkness expansion, and you've got an idea of Gwendolyn Kiste's brilliant little novella. Four of the five Marys may be drawn in broad strokes, but they're drawn so as to always leave you wanting more, especially Mary Mack, perpetually building her own coffin, and petulant Mari Lwyd, quaffing mead from her horse skull.

Short enough to be read in an evening but expansive enough that i
Yolanda Sfetsos
I first heard about this novella on Twitter, where several people mentioned how good it was. So I picked up a copy late last year with the intention of reading it in 2019.

Resurrection Mary. Bloody Mary. Mistress Mary Quite Contrary. Mary Mack. Mari Lwyd. We all know the names from urban legends, nursery rhymes and old myths, but no one knows how they spend their afterlives when they're not haunting.

Well, this is that story.

Rhee spends her time haunting a stretch of highway and grieving over her
Sci-Fi & Scary
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I know I've read at least one short story by Gwendolyn Kiste in anthology, Pretty Marys All in a Row was the first time I actually set out to read something specifically from her. I had actually originally intended to just skim it to get a sense of her style and whatnot. However, within pages I was absolutely hooked.

This is a dark fantasy novella with its roots in horror. The concept was so unique that it delighted me. (While the cover is absolutely gorgeous, I was not expecting the stor
Kasey Ashton
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a fun and amazing novella! I loved the concept, the writing, the characters, and story. I would love to revisit this world again in another story!
Amie's Book Reviews
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In a dilapidated country house with "... trim around the windows the shade of old urine, the faded stonework as dejected as first love" resides a very unusual family."

"We're a house brimming with Mary's, the mortar bursting at the seams with urban legends and deranged nursery rhymes. We don't know how we got here, and we don't know how to leave." 

Thrust together in an afterlife that not a single one of them asked for, are five women, all named Mary.

Each Mary is a ghost and each has their own my
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely engrossing read! The original premise is what piqued my interest- a houseful of ghosts, the various Marys of urban legend, leave nightly for hunts and join back together at suppertime to quell their perculiar appetites, a spectral existence of routine- until something comes to disrupt their little "family." An extremely creative take on the folklore. A lovely, meloncholy, thoroughly engaging ghost story. ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This book had such promise and I would love to see this premise explored as full novel.

It started off really well the. Just sort of flatlined (pun intended) and became really rushed in the last couple of chapters.

I loved all the Mary’s we were introduced to; some I had never heard of before.
Michael LeSueur
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic read. Hauntings, explorations of famous female myths/urban legends, and creative takes on said figures? What is there not to love? Looking forward to reading more of Gwendolyn's future work! ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Part of the reason American Gods works is that it offers a kind of reward to folk lore mavens and religious study majors. Do you have a working familiarity with obscure Northern European mythologies? Are you able to describe what Neil Gaiman got right and what he fudged a bit in terms of the Egyptian religion? Then the guessing games of that novel - just which Middle Eastern Goddess is this? - magnify its other charms.

"Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste (released by Broken Eye Books)
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Legends of deadly ghosts and mythical entities have been around since the dawn of time. However there are several myths about various paranormal entities named Mary, and in author Gwendolyn Kiste's book Pretty Marys All in a Row a new story about the infamous Marys arises, and it's a whirlwind story that fans of horror and speculative fiction will love. Here's the synopsis:

You’ll find her on a lonely highway, hitchhiking at midnight. She calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her by another
Bill Hsu
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm afraid I found this disappointingly conventional, after the magic highs of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe. ...more
Maria Haskins
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dark, twisted, strange, eerie, and moving, all at the same time, this is a beautifully written ghost story with a twist (or two, or three... or more). Because while most ghost stories are told from the perspective of the living being haunted by the dead, Kiste's novella is told from the point of view of a ghost: Rhee, who haunts a stretch of highway and delights (at least sometimes) in frightening those driving down that road. She lives in a strange world between the living world and the afterli ...more
Cassie Daley
Full review:

“Our bodies are skilled at make-believe, carrying out the sacraments of lives we lost long ago. It aches inside me how close we are to existing yet how agonizingly far away.”

This was my first book by Gwendolyn Kiste, although I also own AND HER SMILE WILL UNTETHER THE UNIVERSE, which has also been widely recommended by my bookstagram friends. I’m in love with her writing, and with the way she’s been able to create such a unique new world f
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-books
Any fans of Neil Gaiman absolutely needs to own this novella. Gwendolyn Kiste shows us what four urban legends do when they are not haunting a highway, mirror, funeral home, or rural homes. It's something I never really thought about, but love the idea of seeing them all live in a house together, feeding off of fear before being called back away to their infamous haunts. Rhee, the main character, is Resurrection Mary, haunting a stretch of highway, and happens to have a little more power than an ...more
Catherine Griffin
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
A ghost story told from the ghost’s point of view.

Trapped in the afterlife, five ghosts named Mary find solace in each other’s company and in curious relationships with the living. But with some of the ghosts fading, can Rhee — otherwise known as Resurrection Mary — free them from the dark force controlling their existence?

While this is a short story, it’s well written, well edited, and rather good. I’m not keen on ghost stories generally but this combines an interesting premise with good charac
Nick Cato
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this fresh take on ghosts and urban legends. Full review 12/11/17 at
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Review coming soon!**
C.E. Clayton
Can ghosts die? What turns a ghost into one of the fabled hauntings that eventually become legend? That is the core of what “Pretty Mary’s All In A Row” is about. 5 Mary’s of legend—Bloody Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, Mari Lwyd (who I didn’t know), Mary Mack, and Resurrection Mary—all occupy the same house, going out each night to haunt and return with the fear of their marks in order to feed and sustain their ethereal existence. The problem? 3 of the 5 Mary’s can’t seem to scare anyone anymore—ma ...more
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I think I'll challenge myself next year into picking up more work from indy publishers, especially with how hard the entire industry has been hit the last few months.

This author first got on my radar with Rust Maidens (which I still haven't read, but I saw one of my friends post about and the concept seemed interesting), so when Pretty Marys All in a Row showed up on sale on Kobo, I jumped at it.

There's some interesting stuff here. Our main character, Rhee, is actually nicknamed, since she's Res
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a short but beautiful story!

"Five Marys in one house are bad enough, but five Marys without nicknames are downright confusing.

But these days, we don't feel like five Marys anymore. We barely feel like anything at all."

Resurrection Mary. Bloody Mary. Mistress Mary. Mary Mack. Mari Lwyd. Five Marys, embodiments of five legends, living together as a family, as sisters, would. Every night they go on their haunts and return to have dinner together before sunrise and sleep. Time passes different
Kevin Lucia
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful ghost story - a modern rendition of T. M. Wright at his best. Full review on CDonline soon.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing with great atmosphere. The Marys were interesting characters and I loved the concept. It’s a short, satisfying read.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it

Once upon a time the darkness stole my life from me. Now it's stealing my hereafter too

There's no rest for the wicked they say, and that couldn't be more true with the fearsome five as I call them lol in this VERY unique ghost story Pretty Mary's All In a Row inspired by popular folktales and urban legends this novella speaks on a nostalgia that most people probably completely forgotten about or at least haven't mention in ages The author explores a fresh new take behind their strange st
Carrie Laben
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like the legends of the Marys of the title, this book is simple on the surface but hints at a darker, more complex world that the characters themselves are only beginning to understand.
Gerri Leen
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-author
A gorgeously crafted story that plays with the urban legends of various supernatural Marys in unexpected and ultimately moving ways. Kiste is a favorite author and one reason is her ability to mix luscious imagery with accessible plot and dialogue. Oftentimes it's either/or with that, but this gives you a story that should appeal to readers all along the literary-to-commercial sprctrum. The bittersweet ending is surprising and thought provoking. Loved it! ...more
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Kindle Unlimited ...: Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste 1 6 Jan 01, 2018 05:42AM  

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Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, from JournalStone; the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books; and her debut novel, The Rust Maidens, from Trepidatio Publishing. Her short fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Shimmer, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, LampLight, and Three-Lobed ...more

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