Spooky Ooky season is here at last! We’re getting you in the mood with a pair of lovers who seem to be encountering a restless spirit. They need to trust and rely on each other to get to the other side of this mystery. Today’s Halloween novella is Highland Haunting by Lily Maxton. **You’re cursed to hear SPOILERS!**
Learn more about our history fact - Halloween in the Regency, but visiting the sources we used for this episode: The Regency Redingote Blog - "Halloween in the Regency" by Kathryn Kane
Encyclopedia Brittanica: "Why Do We Carve Pumpkins at Halloween?"
Grab your copy of the book we read today, Highland Haunting by Lily Maxton!
Want to listen to a certain segment? Here is our outline this week:
0:00 - 17:07: Intro/History Facts
17:07- 20:29: Synopsis
20:29 - 27:21: Parlour
27:21 - 49:26: General Discussion
We include our synopses as a semi-transcription of the episode in our blog posts. You can learn more about how we compose these by reading this article. As a reminder though, our synopses are FULL of spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk :)
Highland Haunting Synopsis:
Ian and Robert have already met and found their happily ever after in a previous book, A Scot’s Surrender. They’ve found a way to live comfortably but discreetly in the times, open to their family and close friends. Ian works on the family’s property, with a cottage of his own, while Robert has rooms in the main house.
Ian is a brusque Scotsman, with a tough exterior but a warm heart. Quote
Once, Robert had thought him immovable, unapproachable, but he wasn’t really any of those things. He was only careful. With his heart, especially. So it was a very good thing that he’d given it to Robert, who knew to protect precious things.
Robert is a practical perfectionist, a novelist who writes supernatural mysteries and believes that those sorts of things live firmly on the pages of books.
So when Ian sees and hears an apparition of a woman in the days leading to All Hallow’s Eve, Robert struggles to come to come to grips with it. Quote
“But you believe in ghosts? You think you saw one?” Ian nodded, as if there was nothing wrong with the logic of not being superstitious but believing in otherworldly beings.
“What did it look like? Was it translucent? Was it a woman in a white dress? They always wear white dresses in the stories.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
Robert tried to be tactful. Ian was, contrary to the gruffness of his exterior, somewhat sensitive. “It’s not that I don’t believe you. I find it difficult to believe in otherworldly matters in general.”
“But you write books about them,” Ian pointed out.
“You wanted to believe in them once.”
Robert remembered that conversation very clearly. Remembered soft spoken words and a starlit night, and Ian. Ian beside him. He was right. After Robert’s parents had died, he’d wanted to believe in ghosts because it was better than believing in nothing at all. But he’d looked for signs for months, held out hope for even longer. If some part of his parents’ spirits had lingered after they were gone, Robert hadn’t found them. “Wanting to believe and actually believing are far different things,” he finally said.
But the ghost that Ian saw is persistent, anguished, and has a score to settle. She eventually shows herself to Robert as well, and he is left with no doubt about her existence, and so the pair, along with Robert’s sister Genevive, strike out to discover what’s tethering her to this world.
Along the way, they learn a few more things about each other. Their worries for their relationship surface, and the danger that presents itself with the gathering of information gives them a hurdle to surpass. Eventually, they plunge through the danger and spookiness, reunite the ghost with the bones of her dead lover, and emerge as a couple who is even more resolute and strong in their happily ever after, quote
It was an odd thing, to be secure in someone else’s love. To have that space, that feeling, be inviolable. It was changeable maybe, because nothing remained unchanged, but it would grow and change with them. Its roots were deep, like that centuries old hawthorn tree, profound and unshakeable, no matter how much it weathered. That was simply who Robert was, and who they were, together.