Isis Sousa may first and foremost consider herself a visual artist, however she is already proving herself to be adept at fiction. Her latest release 'Eleanor's Gift' on Tragic Books is a short story and ode to the traditional gothic novel. Illustrated with small, delicate black and white scenes the book is great for bedtime reading or just for those who lack the time to fully commit to a novel.
The story focuses on Lord Welton, who becomes the centre of and ever increasingly dark and dangerous situation after finding Eleanor, the sole survivor of a carriage accident, and bringing her into his home to recover.
Despite the short length of the story, the text doesn't feel rushed in any place. In fact it feels very focussed and focusses on the development of the characters in order to propel the story forward. The text plays with the classic elements of the gothic novel – the historical setting, mysterious strangers, secrets, eroticism, horror, and the uncanny – in order to build a brief homage to the genre.
It is an engaging and enjoyable read. It's biggest strength and weakness is it's length. If it were longer it would certainly satisfy those who enjoy getting lost in a story for as long as possible. However it is a nice length to read on the go or if you're short of time without having to put it down.
As far as the content of the story goes it is identifiably influenced by the classics of the Romantics and English Gothic periods of the early 19th century. It carries itself well without resolving to self-knowing parody and instead creates a tense, character driven narrative that builds a sense of dread and foreboding very quickly and comes to an unrushed finale.
'Eleanor's Gift' may only be a short story, but it is well-written and well presented alongside it's small but intricate illustrations. It's a brief but satisfying serving of gothic literature that will appeal to fans of the classics.