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Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades
Date of Review: 
Alicia "Kestrell" Verlager

Edited by Catherine Lundoff
Review by Alicia "Kestrell" Verlager

Women's writing is filled with stories of ghosts and haunted places and, as Catherine Lundoff explains in her excellent introduction to Haunted Hearts And Sapphic Shades, women's ghost stories can run the gamut from the spine-tingling to the romantic to the socio-political.

Haunted Hearts And Sapphic Shades follows in this long tradition of women's ghost stories by offering seventeen stories with a wide range of tones and themes demonstrating the breadth and depth of the ghost story.

Many of these stories use ghosts to link contemporary women to their historical counterparts, as in "Spirit Horse Ranch" by Sacchi Green, in which a contemporary rancher is haunted as much by the ghost of her own past as by any ghost from the historical past, or "Ostraca" by Brenta Blevins, in which a college student working at an archeological dig is haunted by dreams of an ancient Egyptian ghost.

Other stories provide a psychological twist to the ghost story, as in M. Christian's "The One I Left Behind" or the truly disturbing "Words Like Candy Conversation Hearts" by Kathleen Bradean’s in which a ghost is attracted to a female poet for her way with words.

There are ghosts who are unconcerned with the well-being of those they haunt, as in City Of The Dead by Kaite Welsh, while other ghosts prove to be busybodies determined to interfere in the lives of the living, as is the ghost experienced by the modern ghostbuster in Dayle A. Dermatis's "Some Old Lover’s Ghost."

Some ghosts turn out to be perfect companions, as in the amusing "Focus Of Desire" by Elise Matthesen while others turn out to be roommates from hell, as in "The Dyke You Know" by Selina Rosen.

Some ghost are sweetly romantic as in "Waiting Tables And Time" by Lyn McConchie, while others are demonic forces which must be outfoxed, as in Melissa Scott's exceptional "One Horse Town."

Haunted Hearts and Sapphic Shades is an enjoyable read, whether you are looking for something spooky to read on a stormy night or searching for new collections of lesbian writing.