I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was alerted to this gem by a fellow book blogger and swiped it from NetGalley before it was archived. I must say, I was not disappointed. Though I read very little fiction, I found the women covered in this book, and the sub-genres of horror that they are the masters of, to be incredibly interesting and thoroughly researched.
Mary Shelley is typically the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of master horror writers. Frankenstein remains one of the best novels of all time (fight me, I dare you.) Yet there are so many women who are lesser known, who were writing at an even earlier time than Shelley, who contributed great work to the various sub-genres exhibited here. We hear about so many, those who wrote/write speculative fiction, science fiction, Gothic horror, straight-up ghost stories, psychological thrillers, and more.
The amount of information contained in this book is actually quite staggering when you consider the fact that it is not a massive tome. Not only do we get numerous detailed biographies of the selected authors, we are offered up their 'not to be missed' works, as well as additional stories, books, and novellas that we should look into in that particular sub-genre. That last bit is actually rather dangerous if you already have a fairly extensive TBR, and you typically read the works in these categories. You will easily fall down the rabbit hole and add one hundred new books to your list.
The authors truly do a fantastic job of showcasing the female authors and it might surprise you to find out how many there are, when horror is unfortunately stereo-typed as a male-dominated genre. Yet here we are introduced (or reminded of) women who were writing as far back as the 1600s, and privy to the obstacles they faced in getting published to begin with. As the authors move through the centuries, authors are grouped together either by period that they wrote in, or sub-genre, or both. I think this was an excellent way to present the information, as it truly provided a big-picture. When you take a step back, you will be amazed at the breadth of information before you.
If these are genres you usually read, then not only will this be a great source of information about authors you are already familiar with, but it will be an impressive reference for discovering other authors and works you are not yet familiar with.