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"An engaging, intricate horror tale that feels ripped from the pages of a penny dreadful."

~ Kirkus Reviews

Read the full review here!


"In 'The Black Garden', John S. McFarland sets the mood early and keeps you immersed in it until the end. In 1882, Perdita Badon-Reed rejects a proposal of marriage and looks for a fresh start in the odd and isolated Mississippi town of Ste. Odile. What she doesn't count on are the town's dark secrets and the personage of Orien Bastide. John McFarland creates a dark atmosphere with great skill that keeps you reading this gothic horror tale."

~ Debbie Monterrey, KMOX Radio

" 'The Black Garden' is literate and suspenseful, a complex, lyrical story drawn from the dark traditions of Southern Gothic horror. John McFarland has written a grand opera of a tale."

~ Elizabeth Donald,

author of "The Cold Ones," "Nocture," and "Setting Suns".

            The year is 1882, and Perdita Badon-Reed, a sheltered Boston aesthete, has just made the most momentous decision of her life. Having spurned a respectable suitor, she finds herself on the Mississippi River, steaming toward the strange French Colonial village of Ste. Odile to accept a teaching position at a girl’s academy and pursue her dream of becoming a stone sculptor. Of the many hardships that await her, the one she least expects looms in the form of Orien Bastide, an incubus, who has conducted his seductive and parasitic existence for two millennia. Perdita soon realizes the full horror of Bastide’s intentions, and that she alone has the will to stop him. In order to defeat the treacherous Bastide and save future generations from his predations, Perdita must abandon her personal ambitions, and perhaps her life.

"McFarland takes his stories concerning the strange, history-haunted town of Ste. Odile to new and Gothic proportions in this novel of a young woman who must confront an unnatural horror which spans both centuries and continents.

Richly imagined, this is an intricate, intelligent and absorbing tale of faith and sacrifice."

~ John Linwood Grant,

author of "Where All is Night, and Starless".


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Historically, stone sculpture was considered too physically taxing and dependent on planning to be done by women. By the 19th century, attitudes had started to change.


The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli.  For centuries sleep paralysis and nightmares were thought to be the work of demons.

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