I can never really tell if I like short story collections.
It’s rarely the fault of the author, its my greedy book hoarder self that is the problem! I want to get lost in a book and short stories feel like a collection of cliffhangers.
Dreadful Young Ladies: And Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill, was a delight and an exception to my unresolved drama with short story collections.
Goodreads Synopsis: “From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Kelly Barnhill comes a stunning collection of stories, teeming with uncanny characters whose lives unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original.
When Mrs. Sorensen’s husband dies, she rekindles a long-dormant love with an unsuitable mate in “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch.” In “Open the Door and the Light Pours Through,” a young man wrestles with grief and his sexuality in an exchange of letters with his faraway beloved. “Dreadful Young Ladies” demonstrates the strength and power—known and unknown—of the imagination. In “Notes on the Untimely Death of Ronia Drake,” a witch is haunted by the deadly repercussions of a spell. “The Insect and the Astronomer” upends expectations about good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, love and longing. The World Fantasy Award–winning novella The Unlicensed Magician introduces the secret magical life of an invisible girl once left for dead—with thematic echoes of Barnhill’s Newbery Medal–winning novel, The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
By an author hailed as “a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), the stories in Dreadful Young Ladies feature bold, reality-bending invention underscored by richly illuminated universal themes of love, death, jealousy, hope, and more.”
I loved several of the stories, “Mrs. Sorenson and the Sasquatch” and the collections’ namesake “Dreadful Young Ladies” stood out as some of the best writing I’ve read in awhile. “Dreadful Young Ladies”, in particular gave me strong The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One vibes and that poetry collection is one of my favorite reads this year. I disliked a few others, and not in a “vehemently disliked“ way but certainly a “not for me” way aka my reaction to “The Insect and the Astronomer”. “The Unlicensed Magician”, I loved but wanted more of and would’ve read a full-length novel about Sparrow. (Seriously its not you it’s me, short story collections I promise!).
Overall this was a yes for me, I liked it and was thrilled my random pick at the library was a win. It was a perfect dark and creepy fantasy read to have on deck as we move into October (aka HALLOWEEN TIME Y’ALL).
Would I recommend this book? Sure especially to short story fans. 4/6 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Grab it on Amazon today and let me know what you think! https://amzn.to/2OtjZIM