It’s 1959, and Ginette has been sent to upstate NY by her doctors “for her mental health,” where she becomes trapped in a house haunted by its past.
This is another story that leans heavily on the trope of watching the neighbors and a stylized version of agoraphobia, not to mention the whole “crazy woman put out of sight to avoid publicity” thing. However, St. James takes this from what’s normally thriller territory into ghosts, hauntings, and paranoia, until it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. Both Ginette and the reader will eventually start to blur on what constitutes reality. In that way, this story came to remind me of The Yellow Wallpaper – not to say that they’re similar, but they have the same kind of trapped-room undercurrent and “women’s hysteria” gaslighting. Because this takes place fully in the past, it’s unlike other books I’ve read by St. James, but I still rather enjoyed it.
I’m not sure if Ghost 19 counts as a short story or novella, but the audiobook (read by Brittany Pressley) was just shy of three hours. Since that’s actually not my shortest audio in 2022, I decided to count it as one of my reads. (I don’t normally count individual short stories.) It was quick, well-read, well-paced, and captivating. Great for Halloween time!