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September and Other Stories

Julie Ann Dawson

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Lulu Press

Published : 2005

Copyright : Julie Ann Dawson 2005

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4116-1922-6
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4116-1922-7

Publisher's Write-Up

Three sisters unlock an ancient evil buried in the tomb of a forgotten pharaoh. An alien horror manifests in the attic. A writer makes a deal with a devil over lunch. A daughter avenges her parents' deaths in a surprising fashion. Enjoy a good night of horror with the novella September, as well as 15 other short stories and poems from the works of Julie Ann Dawson.

From the top of a skyscraper to the depths of an Egyptian tomb, Julie Ann Dawson provides us with a unique collection of stories to satisfy horror fans. This collection features ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and a few mysterious unknowns that will leave readers guessing.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Hilda A. Bain (310505) Rating (8/10)

Review by Hilda A. Bain
Rating 8/10
'"Dear God, which angel did I so offend that I shall die without grandchildren?" exclaimed Mother. The thunder outside echoed her sentiments, but gave her no reply.'

Thus begins the opening story, A Candle for Imbolc, found in the new collection September and Other Stories. And in two sentences, Dawson completely sets up the entire familial relationship of the Collins family, who will frequent the bulk of this collection. And quite the family they are indeed.

September, the main novella around which the collection is based, as well as the first two stories, focus on Natasha Collins, a professor of philosophy and religion with the ability to communicate with supernatural beings. Set in the early 1920’s, the stories sway back and forth between dark fiction and feminist humour with wit and style. Natasha comes from an affluent family ruled over by the tradition-bound and society conscious Gloria Collins. Though only used infrequently, her presence is felt in the actions of her three daughters, who rage against the conformity desired by their mother and strike out into male-dominated professions. Sister Nicolette is a struggling female physician, who has trouble building her own practice.

As Natasha explains, 'Mother says it is because people are loath to trust an unmarried woman doctor.' Sister Natalie is an archaeologist who, while often invited to participate in research projects, cannot get a patron to sponsor her own digs.

The entire family, however, is sure that Natasha is insane. This is partly due to the presence of Natasha’s friend Tabitha, a ghost who died in a boating accident when Natasha was a child. Coupled with Natasha’s rather naïve but blunt manner of explaining the supernatural events that befall her, her mother has sought a psychologist to both treat Natasha’s delusions and keep her medicated to avoid any embarrassing situations. But the psychologist knows more than he lets on to Natasha’s parents, as becomes evident in a rather pivotal, yet subtle scene in the novella (I had to read it twice to register exactly what had just happened).

The novella, like the first two stories, is told through Natasha’s journal entries. September follows the sisters to Cairo, where they have joined up with an excavation team to uncover the tomb of a forgotten pharaoh. The tale is one part Lovecraftian horror, one part pulp fiction, and a dash of humour added for good measure. It is a fun and exciting story that leaves the reader cheering for the heroes.

The intriguing aspect of this collection is the complete changing of style after the conclusion of the novella. The next story, a flash fiction piece called A Daughter’s Pride is a tale of primal vengeance in the modern world. A young woman discovers her elderly parents have been kidnapped by home invaders and seeks revenge. The ending is poignant and, while dealing with supernatural beings, is painfully human in its message.

Dawson has a knack for creating intriguing characters. Hoshi Tamiguro, the antagonist in To Dine with a Demon struck me as amazing. She is simultaneously the temptress, the teacher, and the dark messenger at once.

Overall, fans of dark fiction and horror will enjoy this collection. If you are looking for something that beckons back to more traditional horror, but still has a fresh voice, pick up this book.
Hilda A. Bain (31st May 2005)

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