Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)'s Reviews > When Darkness Loves Us

When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom
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really liked it
bookshelves: horror, ladies-of-horror, novella

“You become the monster, then you justify the monster, then you glorify the monster.”

These two novellas, “When Darkness Loves Us” and “Beauty Is . . .” were my first encounter with Engstrom. Thanks to the Paperback from Hell series put out by Valancourt Books, everyone can read this incredible piece of fiction that was otherwise lost.

The first story springs from a “what if?” idea: what if a pregnant woman was trapped underground in a cave? The story immediately drew me in, and it is a dark and claustrophobic tale about the regression of a young woman who does whatever it takes to survive and provide for her child.

The second story is about a developmentally disabled woman who was born without a nose. her disfigurement causes her father to despise her, but later in life, she finds someone who cares for her and teaches her, and she starts to gain her faculties back. Not everyone is so accepting though . . .

Both of these stories focus on what “monstrous” might mean, offering moral quandaries. Does Sally Ann (“When Darkness Loves Us”) make her final decision because she actually has become a monster, or just because she knows that’s the way others see her? When Martha (“Beauty Is . . .”) is treated with kindness and humanity she reflects that back—but the reverse is also the same. Who are the monsters in these stories? The women or the people who are cruel to them? Both?

In any case, Engstrom is definitely a lost horror talent, and I am also looking forward to reading her novel Black Ambrosia.
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Reading Progress

January 5, 2020 – Started Reading
January 5, 2020 – Shelved
January 5, 2020 –
page 83
35.47% "I have serious speluncaphobia after reading that first story."
January 10, 2020 – Finished Reading
January 26, 2020 – Shelved as: horror
January 26, 2020 – Shelved as: ladies-of-horror
January 26, 2020 – Shelved as: novella

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Kimberly Great review! I have this one lined up to read later in the week!


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