Title: PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW
Author: GWENDOLYN KISTE
Genre: URBAN FANTASY, ADULT FICTION
Length: 94 PAGES
Publisher: BROKEN EYE BOOKS
Release Date: NOVEMBER 28, 2017
Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW: A Novella of Ghosts
New weird urban fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste, follows the (after)lives and times of five ghosts and their haunts, combining contemporary fairy tale and urban legend in a story that shows that being dead isn’t always a bed of roses.
Releases November 28, 2017, from Broken Eye Books.
Mary, Mary: Always hitchhiking the same lonely highway, she calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her as Resurrection Mary. And when she’s transported home each night to the same decrepit, nowhere mansion, she’s always got her sisters.
Call her name three times, and Bloody Mary appears. In the poisoned garden, Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary. Downstairs, Mary Mack, forever building her own coffin. And brooding with her horse skull, the restless Mari Lwyd.
They are the Marys, embodiments of urban legend and what goes bump in the night, every child’s nightmare. But as the walls between their realities start to crack, the shadows threaten oblivion. To save herself and her sisters, Rhee must unravel who the Marys are before the darkness claims them.
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 mystique. For example, most readers have heard of the legend of Bloody Mary and that if you look into a mirror and say “BLOODY MARY” three times, she will appear; dripping blood.
Each night the Marys separate and head out to haunt people in the style required by their respective legends.
The Marys return home after haunting each night, they gather together around the dining room table and share the night’s adventures, just like families everywhere sit together at their kitchen table for supper every night.
The Marys are reasonably happy – as happy as five dead women can be, but their happiness won’t last much longer. Something is coming for them and unless they find a way to fight it, they are doomed to an existence where no one can see or hear them – a fate much worse than death.
The storyline is spectacular. Although this novella is only 94 pages long, or perhaps because of its length, no unnecessary scenes are included. This means the action is non-stop and readers will not want to put this book down – they will feel compelled to find out what happens next.
The author has done a superior job of character development and it becomes impossible for the reader to feel negatively toward the Marys. In fact, they become sympathetic characters. Readers will be rooting for the Marys. It may seem strange to empathize with a ghost, but you will understand when you read this book.
Those who enjoy tales of ghosts and of unrequited love will enjoy this book.
I rate PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“… he looks real now. Real and wicked as heartache.”
“… leans in close, and I taste his breath, all jagged ice and coffin dirt and winters that never end.”
**Thank you to Broken Eye Books for providing me with a free copy of this novella.**
COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR:
“Folklore and fairy tales have always been a huge inspiration for me, both for their whimsy and their remarkably dark underpinnings. As a horror writer, there’s nothing as familiar and unsettling as many of the original fairy tales most of us grew up reading.”
“In that vein, Pretty Marys All in a Row started from a conversation I had with my husband, who is a fellow devotee of folklore. He and I went through all the Marys who appear in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and other legends. It’s astounding when you list them all, how often the name appears in different incarnations (ditto for the Jacks, though he’ll have to wait for another story).
“That conversation led me to a series of questions that immediately unnerved me. What if these Marys know they’re storybook legends—and what if they want no part of it? If the choice to be in our folklore was never theirs to make, then what if we’re perpetuating their torment by continually retelling these tales? And if the Marys, like Resurrection Mary and Bloody Mary in particular, are the embodiment of nightmares, then what kind of powerful force controls the nightmares? That last question terrified me most of all—the notion of something else, something unknown to them, controlling the Marys—and from there, Pretty Marys All in a Row was born.”
“Ultimately, the story became one about loss and identity and finding yourself and your home and family, even when all other choices have been ripped away from you. To have Pretty Marys join the incredible roster of releases at Broken Eye Books is beyond thrilling and humbling. This is a journey that’s been a wonderful one to take as a writer, and I hope that readers feel the same way.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gwendolyn Kiste is a speculative fiction author based in Pennsylvania. Her short stories have appeared in Nightmare, Shimmer, Interzone, Black Static, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among other outlets.
Her debut fiction collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, is available now from JournalStone.
You can find out more about her online at the following Links:
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:
Broken Eye Books is an independent press, here to bring you the odd, strange, and offbeat side of speculative fiction.
Their stories tend to blend genres, highlighting the weird and blurring boundaries with horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.
More information can be found at the following links: