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The Ghosts of Kerfol

The Ghosts of Kerfol

by Deborah Noyes

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Now in paperback— In an enthralling work of Gothic suspense, an Edith Wharton story inspires five connected tales set in the same haunted manor over the centuries.

In her classic ghost story "Kerfol," Edith Wharton tells the tale of Anne de Barrigan, a young Frenchwoman convicted of murdering her husband, the jealous Yves de Cornault. The


Now in paperback— In an enthralling work of Gothic suspense, an Edith Wharton story inspires five connected tales set in the same haunted manor over the centuries.

In her classic ghost story "Kerfol," Edith Wharton tells the tale of Anne de Barrigan, a young Frenchwoman convicted of murdering her husband, the jealous Yves de Cornault. The elderly lord was found dead on the stairs, apparently savaged by a pack of dogs, though there were no dogs — no live dogs — at Kerfol that day. In this remarkable collection of intertwining short stories, Deborah Noyes takes us back to the haunted manor and tells us Anne de Barrigan's story through the sympathetic eyes of her servant girl. Four more tales slip forward in time, peering in on a young artist, a hard-drinking party girl, a young American couple, and a deaf gardener who now tends the Kerfol estate. All these souls are haunted by the ghosts of Kerfol — the dead dogs, the sensual yet uneasy relationships, and the bitter taste of revenge.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In five wonderfully chilling short stories, Noyes (Red Butterfly; Gothic!) pays homage to Edith Wharton's ghost story "Kerfol," about the wealthy Anne de Barrigan-terrorized by a husband who murders her dogs and then is himself murdered by their ghosts. The first entry retells the story from the point of view of the chambermaid Perrette; the following stories march forward chronologically from the original's 17th-century setting but remain at the Kerfol chateau. In suspenseful prose that evolves from Perrette's antique speech ("I kept close by [Milady], especially when the moon swelled and paw prints dotted the mud round the moat come morning") to a contemporary perspective, Noyes follows four more unsuspecting and vulnerable victims as they enter Kerfol, now filthy with neglect, where their thoughts are overtaken by the voices and visions of those long dead. Ghost dogs appear from nowhere; the evil, twisted Yves de Cornault inspires terror from the grave; and the still beautiful spirit of Anne haunts the estate. Readers will be eager to know how next this house and its ghosts wreak havoc-and even death-on those unlucky enough to darken its doorstep. Ages 14-up. (Aug.)

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VOYA - Molly Krichten
This collection of five short stories spans the seventeenth century to the present. The uniting element is Kerfol, a manor house in Brittany originally created by Edith Wharton in her short story Kerfol. The first entry retells Wharton's story of a baron apparently killed by phantom dogs from the point of view of a young girl who is a servant in the baron's house. The following stories detail the experiences of others at Kerfol, who have visions, delusions, or perhaps real encounters with the residence's inhabitants, past and present. Short stories are a difficult sell to teens. This collection will be no exception, but it will be enjoyed by avid readers of historical fiction as well the occasional Edith Wharton fan, who will embrace Noyes's use of Kerfol as the setting for each story. Noyes's literary style may be inaccessible to some teens as several tales do not feel like authentic young adult fare. Some historical inaccuracy may pull the reader out of the story. Her writing is strong and her use of vivid description is effective in setting the scene, but her characters are not as interesting or compelling as many teen readers might demand. This collection may lend to creative writing exercises in which students write their own adaptations of classic short stories. Reviewer: Molly Krichten
Children's Literature - Melissa Zanot
This book is a collection of intertwining ghost stories that start in the year 1613; the last one ends in the year 2006.The first story describes a young wife and her husband told through the eyes of a young servant girl. The marriage twists and turns through insanity, anger, fear and hate. It ends with the deaths that will haunt the mansion for the rest of its days. The second story has a young man inherit the haunted mansion and describes the first haunting that is recorded. The third story is told during the 1920s and Prohibition with a young woman encountering many a haunting and a death. The fourth story is set in 1982 where a young man and young woman decide to stay in the house on a dare and chaos ensues. The last story is told in 2006 and is the story of a deaf boy and his father who renovate the old mansion. Each story could be told on its own merit, but as a whole, this short story collection is wonderful. A creepy set of stories that are not overly gruesome or violent, this collection is sure to thrill your students who love a ghost story. Reviewer: Melissa Zanot
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Beginning with a gothic tale set in 17th-century France and culminating with a modern, spine-tingling horror story, Ghosts is a collection of five short stories that center around one haunted house. Based on Edith Wharton's "Kerfol," the first one features the young wife of an abusive, older lord who also showers her with gifts, one of which is a sapphire necklace that appears in the subsequent tales. Although the master kills his wife's dogs one by one, the story ends with him found dead, mysteriously mauled by canines. The second tale takes place in the Napoleonic era with the new heir to Kerfol, nephew to a childless great-aunt, beset with nightmares about his father's death and haunted by a nonexistent pack of dogs. Both the following story, featuring a 1920s flapper, and a modern tale include some suggestive sexual scenes, but they in no way diminish the value of these creepy ghost stories that are reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's work. The first story is the longest and most difficult and may be a hard sell for less-sophisticated readers. If they can hang in, however, they will be rewarded with some great gooseflesh and an exciting read.-Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School Library, Loveland, CO

Kirkus Reviews
Drawing inspiration from Edith Wharton's ghost story "Kerfol," this collection of five linked stories follows the mysterious and frightening events at a French estate over the centuries. The first story retells the events of Wharton's original, in which a young woman is convicted of murdering her husband, the aging lord of the manor. Subsequent stories feature a visiting artist, a spoiled rich girl, an American couple and a deaf gardener. All are visited by the various spirits that haunt the estate: Dead dogs roam the property, frightening visitors; a murdered lord seeks revenge for his untimely death; a beautiful maiden mourns her lost love in the orchards. Told from a variety of perspectives, each story builds on the last, drawing the reader deeper into the passion and misery that wind their way through the estate. Beautiful and genuinely frightening. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
980L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Deborah Noyes is the editor of the young adult anthologies GOTHIC! and THE RESTLESS DEAD. She is also the author of RED BUTTERFLY, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, and HANA IN THE TIME OF THE TULIPS, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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