The Turn of the Screw

“The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be…” An unnamed narrator listens to a male friend reading a manuscript written by a former governess whom the latter claims to have known and who is now dead.

The manuscript tells the story of how the young governess is hired by a man who has found himself responsible for his niece and nephew after the death of their parents. He lives in London and has no interest whatsoever in the children.  Flora and miles seem to be model pupils but gradually the governess starts to suspect that something is very wrong with them. As she sets out to discover corrupt secrets of the house she becomes more and more convinced that something evil is watching her.

It is allegedly a ghost story but its an ambiguous ghost story. It is left up to the reader to decide what exactly the nature of evil within the story is. It really does turn your blood cold. Book Two of this summers reading list “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James is a must read. You will enjoy it not only for its Victorian Gothic narrative style but for the joy of allowing your own perceptions to form the story.

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