Six Degrees of Separation: From ‘The Turn of the Screw’ to ‘Shadowplay’

Six degrees of separation logo for memeIt’s the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s time to participate in Six Degrees of Separation! This book meme is hosted by Kate from booksaremyfavouriteandbest. You can find out more about it on her blog and you can see all my other Six Degrees of Separation contributions here.

This month the starting point is:

‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James (1898)
I haven’t read this one, but I know it’s a horror story about evil phantoms trying to possess two small children under the care of a governess. I spent most of my teens reading horror stories (Stephen King, Dean R Koontz, James Herbert et al), but don’t really read them now. One that I did manage to read a few years back was…

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson (1959)
As the title suggests, this is a rather creepy tale about a haunted house. It follows the antics of four visitors who experience all kinds of scary shenanigans during their stay. It’s a spine-chilling Gothic read that leaves you with a sense of disquiet. Another book that achieves something similar is…

‘The Temple House Vanishing’ by Rachel Donohue (2020)
This story has a truly Gothic feel to it. It’s about the disappearance of a teenager and her charismatic art teacher from an exclusive Irish boarding school 25 years ago. Another story set in a boarding school is…

‘The Everlasting Sunday’ by Robert Lukins (2018)
This atmospheric novel is based in a reform school — reigned over by a kindly and eccentric “headmaster” — that has no rules or structured timetable. It is set during the UK’s “big freeze” of 1962-63 so that the students are effectively snowed in. Another novel where snow is a key feature is…

Travelling in a strange land

‘Travelling in a Strange Land’ by David Park (2018)
In this beguiling novella, a man makes a road journey from one side of the UK to another during a severe snowstorm that makes the drive particularly treacherous. He is making the trip to collect his son who has become ill in his university digs. Along the way, he ruminates about all kinds of things, including wedding photography from which he makes his living. Another book starring a photographer is…

‘Sixty Lights’ by Gail Jones (2005)
This captivating story is about a young woman orphaned as a child who leaves Australia to live in India and London. She has a fine eye for detail and becomes a photographer. It is set in Victorian times. Another book set during this era is…

‘Shadowplay’ by Joseph O’Connor (2019)
Set in London’s theatre district during the time of Jack the Ripper, this mesmerising novel brims with atmosphere and menace and pure Victorian gothic drama. It stars struggling writer Bram Stoker (before he wrote Dracula) who, as the manager of the Lyceum Theatre, must try to hold everything together, including its tempestuous stage stars, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.

So that’s this month’s #6Degrees: from one book set in the Victorian era to another set in the same period, via a haunted house, an Irish boarding school, an English reform school, a treacherous road trip, and Dickensian London. 

Have you read any of these books? Care to share your own #6Degrees?

17 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From ‘The Turn of the Screw’ to ‘Shadowplay’

    • Ha! I’m not sure I can blame reading horror stories in my teens got that. I actually think it stems from the first psychological thriller I ever read called The Silver Crown by Robert C O’Brien. I must have read that book two dozen times and it still used to make my heart go a million miles an hour.

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  1. You spent most of my teens reading horror stories? How funny, I’ve spent most of my life avoiding horror stories! Not surprisingly then, my first link went nowhere near horror!

    Enjoyed your chain. I do want to read Gail Jones one day, and sixty lights is one I have my eye on.

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    • LOL. Well, as I have just said to Davida (above), I don’t seek out creepy or Gothic books, but often the darker ones I love to read have that element in them.

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  2. Yours is the first mention of Shirley Jackson I’ve seen, surprisingly. The Haunting of Hill House is the only one of hers I’ve read – I began it wondering what all the fuss was about and ended it feeling distinctly unsettled. Loved Sixty Lights

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    • I had expected to see lots of Shirley Jackson in this month’s #6Degrees but you’re right, I think I may be the only one to mention her. I liked her other well known title, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is far less creepy. I have a couple of her other books tucked away on my Kindle to read at some point.

      And yay, glad you loved Sixty Lights. I have just bought Jones’ new one, which is set in the Kalgoorlie goldfields which I am looking forward to reading soonish.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Everlasting Sunday is an unusual one… it’s written by a Melbourne-based writer… don’t think it’s published in the UK, but it should be!

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