Carmilla Voiez writes about her life, depression, Drac in a Box Gothic Clothing, LGBTQ+, feminism, Horror Fiction, Book reviews, Horror novels, Scotland, UK, creative writing, free short stories, writing prompts, writer workshops, indie author advice.


Where Monsters Pray: Trisha J. Wooldridge

Where Monsters Pray: Trisha J. Wooldridge

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 horror feminism LGBTQ book review

a book review

Where Monsters Pray is a collection of short stories and poems featuring women who

face monsters,

make monsters,

or are monsters.

However fantastical, the reader will recognise the real and all too human pain and betrayal in each offering. Who are the real monsters, and why will they so often escape consequences?

The first story: “The Last Unicorn Sacrifice in New Hampshire” introduces the themes which are woven through the collection. The dangerous nature of consensus and the hypocrisy of its adherents. A religious community worships a unicorn as God’s ambassador. To the congregation, it is their precious and secret angel, but to three girls, it appears very differently, forcing them to question everything they have been taught.

Where Monsters Pray: Trisha J. Wooldridge

It is followed by a narrative poem: “The Unicorn and the Old Woman” told by a person most of us frequently try to ignore. This rhythmic tale takes the fresh-faced and innocent point of view of its predecessor and flips the lens of its wrinkled and exhausted head to great effect.

Throughout the collection, we are forced to see the world through the eyes of women who are victimised by society. Wooldridge refuses to protect us from her characters’ rage and pain. If anything she revels in our discomfort, while providing exceptional social commentaries and giving voices to those we might sooner silence and ignore.

The stand out stories for me were: “Heart of Frankenstein” which considers what might happen if Frankenstein’s Monster fell in love with a Nazi. “Swamp Gas and Faery Lights” where a trickster fairy discovers that human lives should not always be coveted. “Fixed” where science and magic collide. And “Gardens of New Bubastis” which is a heady cocktail of scientist playing God, class war and animal rights.

The collection is wonderfully queer in both senses of the word. It’s due to be released this summer, and I urge you to check it out. Trisha J. Wooldridge is one hell of a writer.

I’ll leave you with three lines from the poem: “Her Eyes Hold the Secrets of the Ocean and the Moon.”

“Her eyes are stilled waves after the storm,

the quiet mourning of unseen depths of loss,

an unbroken reflection of the heavens.”

No comments yet