Sunday, 23 December 2018

Book review : The Mistletoe Haunting : Legend of Minster Lovell - David Slattery-Christy

The Mistletoe Haunting : Legend of Minster Lovell tells the sad story of Lady Ellen Forsyth, a young woman who is set to marry her sweetheart, Lord Lovell, on Christmas Eve. Ellen is a kind but ultimately naive young woman, unaware of all the emotional undercurrents going on around her in her family home : the jealousy of her elder sister Charlotte, who has not found a husband, and also the secret homosexuality of her husband-to-be, Lovell, who is secretly seeing his best friend (and best man at the wedding), the Russian Count Nicholai.

The run up to the wedding is charmingly related, with a real Downton Abbey feel about it. The servants are constantly rushing around, seeing to the intricate details around the country home and making sure that the guests are at ease. Lady Ellen is in the midst of things, with dress fittings and mistletoe parades up to the house, but she is largely unconcerned by all the practicalities and problems.

After the wedding ceremony, the younger guests all scuttle off for the charming tradition of a game of hide and seek. I have no idea if this was a genuine wedding tradition, but it is rather integral to the plot ! Charlotte has gone out of her way to spoil her younger sister's chance at happiness and leads her rather guileless little sister to her doom.

Alternate chapters bring us up to the modern day, with the reincarnations of Lovell, Charlotte and Nicholai continuing to see each other and, ultimately, continue the toxic relationships they had a hundred years ago. Ellen, who tells the story, is there as a ghostly presence, unaware of what went on all those years ago, but a seance by the descendants of some of her servants will ultimately reveal all to her and allow her to be free.

It's a charming ghost story, with lots of echoes of Christmas past which make it the perfect festive reading. The introduction explains that the story is actually medieval, much older than the Victorian setting it is given in the book, but I think this works very well. It's a short read, perfect for enjoying in the run up to Christmas.

star rating : 4/5

RRP :  £9.99

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Cosmic Egg Books (26 Feb. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785351672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785351679

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. I'd love to read this version of the famous local legend. There is a version by Kate Mosse too. I find this time of the year perfect for the ghost stories.

    1. Ooh I'd never heard of the legend before - I will investigate ! :)


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