Tuesday, 8 May 2018

'Picnic at Bluebell Wood'

The last story in Kate Haynes' collection Waiting in the Shadows is a tale of Mean Girls. Or is it? Moyra is a new girl at school, and feels her life would be complete if she could join the elite group of clever, fashionable girls. So when they invite her for a picnic she is ecstatic. Even more wonderful is the fact that the boy she fancies will be there.

Of course, as the date of the outing approaches Moyra begins to wonder if she is being set up. Maybe the group is going to ruin her life, as mean girls tend to do? And sure enough, when she arrives at Bluebell Wood with her bag stuffed full of nosh, there is no sign of the cool girls. An upset Moyra decides to have a picnic by herself - that'll show 'em. But then she encounters a weird presence - pink of face and somewhat Jamesian - that prompts her to flee.

At this point the mean girls scenario is twisted into something else. Moyra is entitled to join the elite group, but membership comes at a very high price. Far from being a stepping stone to something better, Bluebell Wood turns out to be the focus of everything. There are worse things than being an outsider, it seems.

And so the book ends with a suitably dark tale. Overall this collection offers an entertaining canter through a world that overlaps with those of many genre greats. Any ghost story fan would, I think, enjoy it.

That ends my running review. More to come soon! There are all these books...

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