Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
I was very indecisive when picking my Deal Me in Stories, so I added an extra “Lunar” twist.
For each full moon, I’ll be reading a horror story written by a woman.
“The Invisible Girl” by Mary Shelley
Card picked: A Jack
Thoughts: This is another tale that borrows some gothic tropes, if lightly. Our narrator isn’t the person directly involved in the story, but heard it from an old woman after he seeks refuge in a curious “ruined” tower that has a lovely painting called “The Invisible Girl” in its upper room. Further, this narrator is set in the early 18th century, not in Shelly’s early 19th. Since the old woman is telling a story that happened many years before *that*, we could place the main events of “The Invisible Girl” near the time The Castle of Otranto was written (although the events of Walpole’s novel occur centuries in the past). I wonder if this shifting a story backwards in history is meant to excuse some of the actions of the characters. Sir Peter and his widow sister treat Rosina terribly, but they are people of the past. Surely, people of the present behave more humanely. (Also in the land of Otranto connections I’m probably making up, we also have a heroine with a somewhat Italian sounding name.)
But anyway, the story: Henry, the son of Sir Peter, falls in love with Rosina, an orphan who lives on his father’s estate. Henry and Rosina have grown up together; of course they love each other, but since she has no heredity of note, the couple keep this love secret. All is well until Sir Peter’s sister moves in. She susses out the truth, sends Henry away and besmirches Rosina’s honor. Sir Peter sends her away and she presumably dies in the woods. Sir Peter, we are told, might feel badly about this, but Shelley’s not very convincing when she says so. Henry finds out his love is dead and decides to find her body. Instead, his boat is caught in a nasty storm and is led to safety by a mysterious light in a tower. When he asks nearby folks about it, they tell him the Invisible Girl is responsible. Which of course leads Henry to wonder, is the Invisible Girl the spirit of Rosina?
There’s a twist ending to this tale which I thought was quite nice. Paula Cappa originally posted about this story in October of 2013.
About the Author: Yes, *that* Mary Shelley. She wrote more than Frankenstein. A lot more! This is the first short story I’ve read by her, but it probably won’t be the last.