I found the short story Eveline’s Visitant by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, in Anthology of Fear: 20 Haunting Stories for Winter Nights (Marshall Cavendish Ltd.)
Quick Review (read on for full review)
An enjoyable, atmospheric quick read with an unexpected ending. Highly recommended for reading on a cold, dark winter’s night. 4 / 5
Two cousins, Hector and André de Brissac, quarrel over a woman. André is the cousin favoured by Fortune; women love him and the family money and lands have gone to him. By contrast, Hector is considered “a rough soldier” and “mannerless boor”. The quarrel escalates and a challenge to duel is issued, with fatal consequences for André.
But, with his dying breath, André does his best to ensure that Hector does not enjoy his victory nor his inheritance…He claims their quarrel is not yet over. Hector, however, does not believe in such things…
I will come to you when your life seems brightest. I will come between you and all that you hold fairest and dearest. My ghostly hand shall drop a poison in your cup of joy.
(From Eveline’s Visitant by Mary Elizabeth Braddon)
I’m a little late completing and posting this review, seeing as though I read the story as one of my Halloween Reads for 2019!
As part of the same reading challenge, I read The Cold Embrace, another short story by the Mary Elizabeth Braddon (you can find that review here). I noted then that I really liked the author’s writing style and ability to create the most atmospheric and unexpected twists in the story. So I went into reading Eveline’s Visitant with high expectations and was not disappointed. Once again the story was atmospheric and the unusual plot twists came as a surprise. Although I would like to go into detail about what was so special about these twists, I won’t for fear of giving too much away. But I will say this: the ending came as a complete surprise.
My copy was no more than twelve pages long, so it’s a quick read, but for all that, there is no lack of story. The setting is richly described, both Paris and the inherited estate, and there are enough details of the main characters to make them appear whole and believable.
If you enjoy reading ghost stories on dark nights by candlelight, I recommend you give this a read. There’s a creepiness to it, a pervading sense of the sinister…
I plan to read more by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and have added her first novel, published in 1862 – a sensational melodrama – Lady Audley’s Secret, to my TBR list.