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A supernatural slice of seasonal Victorian Gothic.
Monsieur Benoit Lavarnier, toast of the Parisian art world and a man of cultured accomplishments, remains, for all of his polished veneer, a son of the Breton soil, with all that this implies with respect to his superstitious beliefs. Commissioned to paint a portrait of renowned beauty, Lady Helena Brocklington, he arrives in the autumn of 1843 not only with the accoutrements of his trade, but also with something sinister lurking in his train. He soon finds himself so smitten with his subject, and so invested in his work, that the resultant piece becomes imbued with an essence that could, perhaps, be construed as akin to a life force. Could it be, that so many decades after its completion, something beyond the paint itself endures?
An understated ghostly novelette, Victorian in sensibility and style, that immerses the reader in a tale of obsession, and terror.
The author’s childhood and formative years were spent in the English West Country, a region in which reality and fantasy are frequently confused, and where what elsewhere would be taken as peculiar, regarded as nothing more than an everyday occurrence. Soaked in myth, folklore and cider, his imagination eventually whirred into life and prompted him to pen, or at least type, a number of understated tales of the uncanny, drawing upon his wry observations of esoteric subcultures and beliefs, and the rich store of lore that seems locked into the land itself.