Gothic Horror, Classics | 304 pages | 01.07.2020 | Poisoned Pen Press
Poisoned Pen Press does a lovely re-release of this wonderful classic Gothic horror tale. I think the story is pretty well known but for anyone who has lived under a rock for the past 100 or so years, here is a quick recap. Fair maiden and all-around talented Parisian performer, Christine, meets The Angel of Music, aka Eric aka The Opera Ghost. Raoul, an old childhood friend, a regular opera enthusiast, and bonafide star-struck lover is not too pleased about this connection. Does Christine love him or the evil masked man? Is the masked man real or truly a ghost? And how does The Persian fit into all this? Of course, there is singing, intrigue, a mysterious underground lake, and the issue with the missing money as well as a few deaths, and some other odd occurrences; making this an epic novel of Gothic proportions.
I absolutely enjoyed Leroux’s writing. It reminded me of Lewis’ The Monk, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and even Stoker’s Dracula. I imagine this novel was quite a scandal when it was published. It clearly has erotic undertones, makes fun of Parisian society, and plays with our fears. There are love and jealousy, revenge and murder plots, paranormal events, some comedy, and a whole lot of sarcasm. It’s kind of delicious, to be honest. One of my favorite things is that the narrator breaks the fourth wall talking to the reader. In a surprising way, Leroux recounts actual events of the Parisian Opera, and we are left hanging to find out how much of this story is real and what is fiction. The entire book could be just an eye-witness report of some puzzling events that took place in 19th century Paris allowing our imagination to go wild.
I highly recommend picking up this wonderful re-release and to check out any others in The Haunted Library of Horror Classics by Poison Pen Press. This collection will be a horror-fan-delight.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.