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Stained Property: A Review of The Red Lodge

Book cover for H.R. Wakefield's The Red Lodge. Image on cover shows a lodge on a hill. The sky behind it is red and either sun or moon is half-behind the house.

The telling or reading of ghost stories during the Christmas season was once a tradition in Victorian England. This series of books seeks to revive this tradition. Beginning this year, I hope to review all of them during the month of December for as many years as it takes to finish this project. 

Title: The Red Lodge – A Ghost Story for Christmas (Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories)

Author: H.R. Wakefield

Publisher: Biblioasis

Publication Date: 1928 and 2018

Genres: Paranormal, Historical

Length: 32 pages

Source: I borrowed it from the library

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

Reading a ghost story on Christmas eve was once as much a part of traditional Christmas celebrations as turkey, eggnog, and Santa Claus.

The Red Lodge is a magnificent Queen Anne house, the ideal rental for a young family on a much-needed holiday. But something is wrong at the Red Lodge. What caused the drownings of so many previous occupants? What dark presence lurks in the river? Why has the son grown sullen and afraid?

Review:

Some places are too evil for human occupancy.

One of the most fascinating things about living in or visiting an old house is researching the former owners and what their lives were like. Generally, this sort of search yields pretty mundane results, but as you’ve probably already gathered this isn’t one of those occasions. I won’t go into details about how and why The Red Lodge became such a restless and malevolent place, but that backstory really made the plight of the newest occupants even more poignant.

The narrator of this tale deeply loved wife and his young son, so it struck me as odd to see how quickly he brushed away their anxiety about living at The Red Lodge. Change is hard for everyone, so I would have understood if he hadn’t listened the first couple of times. It did feel weird to have a six-year-old and a cherished wife talk about odd things happening in their home and change their habits as a result of them without the father and husband taking note of that. sure would have liked to have a clearer explanation for whether this was a common occurrence in their family or if the spirit had already begun to warp the main character’s perspective so early on.

While this wasn’t a gory story, there were definitely some awful things that happened at the lodge. I appreciated the way the author hinted at how folks died there instead of describing it in elaborate detail. This was definitely one of those cases where less was more, especially given how reluctant folks would have been to discuss this sort of thing in the 1920s in general.

If you think a property can be stained beyond all hope of repair from the awful things that happened on it, I’d recommend checking out The Red Lodge.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: An Average Day in My Life

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

My answer to this prompt certainly isn’t what I was expecting it to be when I first saw it about eleven months ago, but I’m sure you all can say the same thing.

Most of my time is spent at home or outdoors.

I’m lucky to live in a walkable, safe neighbourhood. Practically all of errands I need to run can be accomplished without using public transit, a cab, or a private vehicle. My biggest hurdle there is only buying what I can comfortably carry.

I add things to my shopping list before they run out, and I consolidate trips as much as possible. If paper towels are on sale and I know I’ll need them next week, I’ll pick up a package of them during a normal grocery store run. For heavy items, I buy what I can and try to remember I’m not superwoman.

This has been a good way to develop my muscles! My arms do a lot of lugging stuff around for my household, and I’m grateful for my ability to act like a human pack mule when necessary.

Much of my time at home is spent typing up blog posts and stories. The gentle clicks of a keyboard is one of the most common sounds you’ll hear here. it’s so common that sometimes I dream about it.

woman doing yoga. stretching head down into lap.
Someday I’ll be this flexible!

Home workouts are another way I pass the time. Lately, I’ve been doing lots of yoga while a knee injury heals and trying not laugh too much when my spouse tries to distract me during  the most pretzel-like moves. He likes to poke gentle fun at the instructor.

This is the beginning of the coldest months in Ontario. When the weather allows for it, I love going for long walks at the park and seeing the first signs of winter and the last signs of autumn in the land.

On freezing days, I stay home and watch television instead. I enjoy sitcoms like Kim’s Convenience, science fiction like Star Trek: Discovery, and nonfiction science/history shows like Cosmos.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Again

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

a book and a dried bundle of flowers sitting on a wooden chair I’m the sort of reader who bounces between doing many rereads and only wanting to read books that are new to me.

The next time I’m in the mood for a reread, these titles will be at the top of my list because of the sense of wonder I felt when discovering their marvellous plot twists and character development for the first time.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

2. 1984 by George Orwell

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) by Douglas Adams

4. The Handmaid’s Tale (The Handmaid’s Tale, #1) by Margaret Atwood

5. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

6. The Valley of Horses (Earth’s Children, #2) by Jean M. Auel

7. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

8. The Hate U Give (The Hate U Give, #1) by Angie Thomas

9. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

10. The Martian by Andy Weir

A Photo Essay of Toronto in November

Each month I share photos from one of the parks in Toronto to show my readers what our landscape looks like throughout the year. This is the tenth instalment of this series and will be a bit longer than usual.an autumn tree covered in bright yellow leaves

Click on February, MarchAprilMayJune July, August, September, and October to read the earlier posts.

Welcome to November in Toronto! It was between 16 Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) and 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) on my visits this month. Temperatures are traditionally supposed to reach highs of 7 Celsius (45 Fahrenheit) at most now, so these numbers are quite out of the ordinary for us. Climate change is quickly altering our seasonal weather patterns.

This month is generally one of our rainiest ones. Nearly half of the days in the average November are rainy ones here. Sometimes it snows, too, although such early snow melts within a day or two.

The sunshine you’ll see in most of these photos is unusual, too. Our more typically overcast days were also pretty stormy this month, or I would have included examples of them as well.

Landscape photograph of a World War I memorial at an urban park.

It was raining heavily when the leaves were at their peak, but the rain luckily stopped in time for me to get some nice shots of the autumn foliage.

Close-up photo of World War I monument at a park. the monument is on a series of stone steps and surrounded by evergreen bushes.

The evergreen bushes are still looking good. They must not go dormant until December or January. I’ll check back again with them then.

Snapshot of a yellow autumn tree next to a dirt running trail at a park.

The running trail always shows signs of recent rainfall now, but it’s still firm enough to jog or walk on. This particular tree has such a nice rustle of leaves when you pass it. I wish I could stand there all day and listen to it’s melodic little song.

A canopy of autumn leaves still clinging to their trees.

We saw the canopy of leaves thin last month, and that pattern continues this month. There are still green leaves to see if you look closely.

A friendly hole in the trunk of a tree.

Who will nestle up here this winter, I wonder? It looks cozy.

A mostly green autumn tree a reddish yellow autumn tree, and a bare tree.

These are the three faces of November. Some trees are mostly to partially still green. Most trees are at or just past their peak of colour. Some trees have lost most to all of their leaves and are prepared for winter.

Lower half of a person standing in a pile of autumn leaves. Their shoes are totally covered with leaves.

And these are the two legs of November.

It’s a marvellous feeling to walk through so many leaves that you can no longer see your feet. Every step makes delightful crunching noises. I always have to fight the urge to dive into the leaves and do whatever the equivalent to swimming in them might be.

A tree who had lost half of its branches and part of its trunk during a winter storm. It is now covered in autumn leaves.

Our tree friend who lost half of its branches in that storm last winter is quickly shedding leaves.

A photo of a tree that lost a third of its branches in a storm last winter. It's leaves are quickly turning colours and falling off.

As is our tree friend who lost about a third of its branches and has been droopy and strangely damp in its trunk this autumn.

The trunk of this one looks a little less damp now, but I see no other obvious changes in it for better or for worse. May both of these trees do well this winter.

A tree filled with yellow autumn leaves that are glowing in the sunlight as they slowly drop to the ground.

It’s hard to know when to stop sharing photos with you. The landscape is filled with beauty now in every direction you look. This tree looked like it was glowing when I snapped a photo of it.

Trees filled with gorgeous red autumn leaves.

Don’t you want to go run into the centre of the park and twirl around with joy? I sure do.

There’s something remarkable about being surrounded by so many picturesque scenes.

A large, bare autumn tree flanked by trees that still have some leaves attached to them.

As hinted above, November is one of those months that changes rapidly. Some trees are bare while the ones next to them still have some to most of their leaves attached.

A shot of a plaza in a park that is lined by trees who have lost about half of their leaves.

I don’t know about all of you, but I still find beauty in trees that are past their peak autumn colours.

There’s something marvellous about watching autumn leaves dance on the ground when a stiff breeze hits them, too. I tried to film them to share on social media, but they stopped every time I hit the record button on my phone.

Mostly bare autumn tree with three birds nests in it

We’re also just begun to reach the time of year when the trees reveal their secrets.

I hope to share more photos like this next month. It’s fascinating to see where the bird nests were last summer when you couldn’t directly see the nests for yourself.

If we were walking through this park together, I’d stop and show you many nests like these. I think we should admire the birds’ hard work over the summer. The park, and the ecosystem in general, wouldn’t be the same without them. My ears sure appreciate their songs as well.

A cobbled path in a park that is lined by bright yellow trees in their full autumn splendour.

As always, I’ll end this post with the famous bench-lined walkway in the park. Isn’t it beautiful in autumn?

Stay safe, friends. Winter is right around the corner.