Hoo was this ever a good read! It's a collection of short stories: Disappearances;The Old Nurse's Story;The Squire's Story;The Poor Clare;Lois The Witch; The Doom of the Griffiths; The Crooked Branch; Curious, if True; and The Gray Woman. And at 10-50 pages (except for Lois which clocks in at 100+ pages) these are all a very manageable introduction to the Victorian style of writing. I probably should have started the year with this one instead of jumping right into Wuthering Heights, but, -ehn- I wasn't really sure about the whole 'short story' thing working out for me. Normally I find them more irritating than enjoyable because there just isn't enough substance for me to care about the characters or what they're doing. I feel like I'm just getting started and then it . . . ends !? Ugh, annoying. So, I kind of went out on a limb here, and with a beautifully creepy cover and a title like Gothic Tales who could resist? I also had a hunch that because Victorian authors tend to be wordy cram as much information into one sentence as is humanly possible, ramble extensively, go off on tangents, and carry on ad nauseam about irrelevant minutiae, their short stories might just be condensed enough to seem normal. Perhaps they could set a scene, develop a character, and get to the point in something less than Dickensian proportions. So, the short story! Who knew?