The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski

The Victorian Chaise-Longue - Marghanita Laski, P.D. James

“The Victorian Chaise-Longue” is a short gothic horror about a 1950s bedridden housewife who falls asleep on an old chaise-longue and awakens eighty years in the past. The main character, Melanie, takes on the life of a deathly ill Victorian woman named Millie Baines. Little does she know that secrets lurk in Milly’s rotting Victorian past…


Laski’s writing style is manic, jumping between lavish descriptions and clunky exposition with no room to breathe in between. As Melanie is restricted to her bed for the duration of the short story, the focus is mostly on theological and philosophical subjects, such as death, passion, religion, and the like. The writing captures Melanie’s terror at her situation flawlessly, and there are certainly several poignant moments that hit the classic gothic sweet spot. At the same time, I frequently lost my place or missed scene transitions entirely, hampering the book's excellent foreshadowing. 


“The Victorian Chaise-Longue” could hit a bunch of Halloween bingo squares, as it’s a classic gothic horror/mystery written by a woman. Certainly something for my followers to look into if you’re missing one of those squares, as it’s short and only about $10 on a Kindle. Non-bingo readers may find it an interesting, if unsettling, read to fill an evening.