When Madeline honors her mother's dying wish and returns to The Chalet, she discovers the true secret of the old mansion; a seductive spirit whose undying love has waited decades to claim her for its own.
One Hell of a Spooky Story!
The Chalet had once been the home of the wealthy Centaurian family, but now it is in disrepair, its beautiful rooms shrouded in dust. Strange things happen in the old house. There are rumours of ghosts walking the empty rooms, and those who venture there often never return. Is the house really haunted? Or do the legends stem from the vivid imaginations of the local people? Madeline´s mother has just inherited the house and it seems that Madeline is about to find out for herself.
This is one hell of a spooky story. You imagine it is going to be a typical gothic ghost story with some tragic event in the past triggering the apparitions. Wrong! But I’m not going to tell you what is really going on. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
PS. I’d leave the light on if I were you.
-- Jenny Twist
Why are some of us compelled to enter the dark, unknown recesses of an abandoned home? How much do we ever really know about the private lives of our parents -- their lives before children, and outside of family? And how far would a demon go to resurrect the woman he loves?
Tara Fox Hall once again weaves a narrative that unfolds carefully and with much detail. Reading The Chalet reminded me of Stephen King's The Shining -- every turn down the winding corridors of a grandiose, but seemingly lifeless mansion was a new revelation. I couldn't put it down. I was drawn in completely by the demanding feeling of inevitability, foreboding, tragedy, and mystery. Once again, Hall's portrayal of the bittersweet reality that love can be was powerfully expressed. Her work resonates with hope and loss, confusion and knowledge, hatred and love, in such a way that we cannot help but feel deeply for both the protagonist and the villain. Tara takes a candle to those shadowy places of the human heart where many of us fear to look; she peers into the corners, walking a fine line between light and dark which is both unsettling and arousing. Her story satisfies and yet leaves us hungry for more.
Thank you again, Tara, for pushing the limits. I can't wait to read your next work!
--Tori L. Ridgewood
I found myself drawn into The Chalet from the very first pages. I have a passion for old houses with histories and mysteries, and Madeleine's Chalet had plenty of both to satisfy my appetite throughout. We know it's going to be a sinister place right from the start because of the narrator's lifelong fear of it. Many people who have entered its doors simply disappear without a trace, but what is its mystery? Well, if I were to tell you, it would spoil the experience of reading this gripping and entertaining story. The story has surprising layers of complexity - just when you think you're getting to the truth, the story takes another surprising turn to lead you deeper into the puzzle, deeper into the heart of the house. And it is a house with a heart in some respects. The Chalet becomes another character in the story.
Tara Fox Hall doesn't just tell stories, she weaves spells of enchantment. The way she creates and sustains atmosphere is masterful and her characters (including the chalet) live and throb with life. This is a highly recommended short story read; it will leave you wanting and hoping for more. The Chalet shows us a writer at her very best. Well done, author!
As usual, when reading a Tara Fox Hall story, I expect something unusual, and I’m a sucker for haunted house stories, but…this one? Let me tell you… After my slightly checkered life, I don’t consider myself a wimp (well, not a Grade-A one, anyway), but as short as the story is (only 27 pages), it took me several nights, because I’d get a few pages in, remember I was alone in the apartment and it was past midnight, and…simply couldn’t continue on. That may be a left-handed endorsement, but there it is. I admit I’m a total coward when it comes to atmosphere...chilly rooms and the snap of old beams in the night. Hmmm...maybe I should claim Grade-A status after all.
The Chalet was not just a walk down the street. It was located in Minnesota near a large forest, surrounded on three sides by state land. How many hunters and campers got seduced to go behind those great twin oak doors I’ll never guess. But I know that at least a few did; the ones who got reported to my family over the years. What they saw, I’m not sure. Perhaps it was Madeline herself, or the force that remained of her, since she had died in that house 40 years earlier.
The Chalet had been a gift from an admirer who hoped to woo Madeline. Joseph Martelli was not the kind of person you said no to, even if you were a big star like Madeline. He controlled a big section of the Chicago mob. He also loved to trophy hunt, and he took to the Minnesota woods every winter to do just that. The Chalet had been Martelli’s place before he had given it to Madeline lock, stock, and barrel. Just why a pure blood Italian of seven generations had gone overboard for a black singer wasn’t understandable, not with a wife and a mistress already. Maybe it had been her music. Madeline’s voice was pure magic. Or maybe Martelli had done enough evil here over the years that the place was haunted already and he wanted to dump it.
What happened behind the closed doors before the murder isn’t known, not conclusively. Whatever disturbed Madeline’s packing also is not known. But Madeline ran from it, whatever it was.