Cover Image: The Dread Penny Society

The Dread Penny Society

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The fun I had with these stories!

This compilation of stories was exactly what I needed. Each story follows the style of an old penny dreadful story - a glimpse of a story based on something wicked, mysterious, or downright supernatural. To name a few of my favorites in the collection, “The Lady and the Highwayman” follows a heroine caught up in the efforts to stop a mysterious monster looming over the town after being pestered yet intrigued by the local highwayman. “The Gentleman and the Thief” follows a town recluse and his childhood friend as they try to uncover the mystery of items going missing in his manor. And “The Merchant and the Rogue” follows a sweets shopkeeper and another roguish shop owner as they attempt to stop the local squire from using his status to squander all the shops in town.I found myself most drawn to the works of Mr. King, but I others as well.

If you’re in the mood for a short read filled with whimsical, old timey versions of horror, and of course some light romance, these stories are for you! I found myself glued to what would happened next and giddy with emotion as the characters found romance.

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC of this compilation.

Was this review helpful?

Readers will enjoy the short "penny dreadful" stories that have previously been interspersed in all of Sarah Eden's Dread Penny Society novels and are now in one collection---including three new never-before-seen stories! Ms. Eden has a distinctive voice for each "line" of these gothic Victorian tales that includes mystery, adventure, romance and of course, ghost stories. This collection is a definite must-have for Sarah Eden fans!

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely love this series and sad to leave the world behind. Each character and pairing have such a unique story and it’s so fun to see all these different personalities come together. From reading the first to the last, it has been such an adventure.

Was this review helpful?

After enjoying the Dread Penny Society novels for so many years, what a pleasure it is to have all of the penny dreadful stories from those - and a few bonus tales - collected in one volume. One of the things I appreciate most about the stories is the variety of genre and Eden's ability to tell each with the distinct voice and style of the various author characters. One would never mistake Mr. King's work for Stone's or Brogan's. This a great book for light reading - and would make a great gift for Dread Penny fans or young readers who enjoy a little gothic atmosphere.

My thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This book is amazing! Every time I picked up "The Dread Penny Society", I was whisked back in time, and did not want to put this collection down!

Firstly, what a gorgeous cover!

Sarah M. Eden is a phenomenal author! Her storytelling is brilliant and breathtaking, and jumps right off of the page. When I read one of her books, I always feel immersed in the time period of the story, as her writing is detailed and visceral.

This book is a collection of the Penny Dreadful stories that are found throughout Ms. Eden's "The Dread Penny Society" series, as well as a few new additions! The Penny Dreadful's often mirror the themes in each book, or connect in some way, and having them all in one anthology collection is awesome! I love that this book has them all in one place!

I highly recommend this book!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC of this book, it is incredible! All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed reading all of the penny dreadfuls in The Dread Penny Society series, so I was excited when the author came out with this book with all of them included. Not only that, but we get three new stories to read as well! They are all very quick reads, so if you only have a few minutes to read, one of these stories would be perfect for you. Each of the stories is very different from the others, and you never quite know just where they will take you. A fun addition to the series.

Was this review helpful?

I like that this is a collection of stories. I guess I was expecting something different since I'm one of the few people who hasn't read the originals until they were put in this book. I thought they would somehow tie into each other. However, each story is a lesson in how to write a short story and how to write in a different voice. That was genius.

Was this review helpful?

Awww, these were fun to read! I loved how rich and descriptive the stories were, even though they were shorter. I also like the idea of getting a feel for what these "installment" stories would've been like. Of course, Ms. Eden always writes a good story, so that wasn't all that surprising!

Was this review helpful?

Sarah Eden is a genius in her writing. The fact that she can interweave so many stories told from so many voices is amazing. I definitely like this format better than the original books which rotated between chapters from several stories at a time. I like to read each story separately. The bonus stories included in this collection are the icing on the cake. The concept of the Penny Dreadfuls and the Dread Penny Society is fascinating. I have heard so little about Penny Dreadfuls in other places. I love exploring the concept here. I loved the author heroes portrayed throughout the series.

Was this review helpful?

This book is may be my favorite short story collection I’ve ever read. I love the nod to history, in composing “penny dreadfuls,” similar to what would have been written as serials during Victorian England and printed for the poorer classes. It’s quite fun to experience some forms of literature in ways they would have so long ago (though I am quite lucky to have the benefit of the entire story at one time). It’s also a strong nod to Sarah M. Eden’s talent, that she can write each dreadful as if from a different “voice,” and staying so accurate to the historical serials.

These “Penny Dreadfuls” come from Sarah M. Eden’s popular series, The Dread Penny Society, where in each book, two “Penny Dreadfuls” are written from the perspective of characters in the book. They are so well done and a really fun twist on those novels. This book contains many of those stories, as well as three original stories never before published. I genuinely love all of them—and this coming from someone who is not typically a big fan of paranormal.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a single favorite story in this collection. There are so many fun ones! But some I especially love include The Lady and the Highwayman, Higglebottom’s School for the Dead, The Queen and the Knave, Posie & Pru, and On a Sea of Glass.

This is the perfect spooky read for this time of year. I think we will read some of these spooky tales with my children, to get us in the mood for Halloween.

**Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. I have provided this honest review of my own volition.

Was this review helpful?

So fun that they compiled all the penny dreadfuls from the Dread Penny Society series into one book!! I enjoyed being able to read each one straight through without the breaks of the coordinating story from the accompanying books. Each one stands alone very well, but they do also coordinate with the storylines of their accompanying books as well, which is an aspect readers wouldn't know from reading just this edition. This compliation also includes the addition of three extra penny dreadfuls! I'm not sure if Eden wrote them for further books that didn't happen or if she wrote them and then they didn't fit in with the other books in the series or if they were written specifically for this special edition. I enjoyed reading through the penny dreadfuls again in this collection and to get a chance to read the new ones. Plus the bonus of the portrait of the Dread Penny Society (I'm assuming, from the artist's name, drawn by the author's daughter??) was fun to see how someone else imagined them to look like! Each book in the series included one PD from "Mr. King" and one by another member of the DPS, so there are the original 5 Mr. King penny dreadfuls and then 5 from other DPS members. The bonus PDs include another one from Mr. King and two from other DPS members. This book did take me a while to get through, due to the size of each PD and then that there are 13 total PDs included! Overall, a fun read and fun way to wrap up the conclusion of the series with this special edition! I love that Eden took this form of serial reading from the Victorian(?) era and brought it to today's audience in this fun and unique way!

Content: Clean.

Possible Triggers: Each penny dreadful deals with ghosts or the supernatural.

Was this review helpful?

This is a collection of short stories written in the style of the Victorian penny dreadfuls.
My Overall Thoughts
I have never read any of the original penny dreadfuls, so I was unsure what to expect. I had a little trepidation fearing they would be horror, which I don’t really care for. The name did lead me to believe that might be the case, but I was pleasantly surprised. They were all mysteries in a Conan Doyal meets Dickens style. There was some supernatural thrown in, but there was no graphic violence or anything else more horror-like. There were even some Gothic romance elements.

What I Didn't Love

I was very disappointed when I came to the end of this collection and there were no more stories. Ms. Eden, if you are reading this, please write more. I need more.

Potentially Offensive Content

Child abuse
Supernatural elements

What I Loved
Each story was pretty short but really well developed. I could easily have broken this collection up and read a story a day and really savored each one. Instead, I read the whole book in a day. I just could not put it down.
I really felt transported to Victorian England. These stories are so atmospheric. They were dark without being nightmare-inducing. I stayed up way too late reading this in bed and slept peacefully when I finished.

Was this review helpful?

A great read!

Sarah M. Eden is a great author. I love that you can trust the quality of her writing. I really enjoyed this book as I have much of her back list. They are always a highly enjoyable read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read an arc of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I love that we get all the Dread Penny stories in one. The different authors are characters from the Dread Penny Society series and the stories are taken from there. I love it.

Was this review helpful?

The author's goal, as she says, was to make these novellas read as close to the original penny dreadfuls they were inspired by, and I guess she succeeded both regarding the language and also, unfortunately, the inherent predictability of Victorian popular fiction. There is something comforting in knowing what to expect from a gothic romance of course, but there really wasn't much setting these stories apart. Eden has certainly done her research, but I sadly wasn't spooked (or romanced) off my feet.

Was this review helpful?

These are so much fun to read! I loved reading them in the books The (Dread Penny Society series), but sometimes
It was a tiny bit hard to jump from story to story and remember what was happening in each penny dreadful- so it was wonderful to have them each together and complete to read through and enjoy.
I’ve also seen the physical book and it’s BEAUTIFUL! It was a fun one to read and I can’t wait to buy a physical copy.

Was this review helpful?

Loved every minute of these beautiful and dark stories! Who knew they could be so fun! I am also listening to it and Justine Eyre makes my day with her beautiful voice! Thank you!

Thank you to Net Galley for this copy, all my opinions are my own!

Was this review helpful?

This collection of “penny dreadfuls” is a lovely add-on to the completed Dread Penny Society Series. Many of the stories accompanied and paralleled the action of the individual novels; some are new. All are written in the style of the time.

Separated from the novels, the stories still stand up well. There are a variety of stories, especially when adding in the ones that were not in the original novels. These stories run the range from adventurous to supernatural. Frequently, but not always, there is also a romantic element.

Possible Objectionable Material:
Some deal with the supernatural, like monsters in the forest or ghosts. All are treated in a light enough way that they should not give nightmares.

Who Might Like This Book:
Anyone who liked Eden’s Dread Penny Society series and would like to have all the stories (with new ones) in a single volume. Anyone who likes the penny dreadful stories of days gone by.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for providing an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book is also reviewed at

Was this review helpful?

Now available, all 10 penny dreadfuls that were previously just available woven into the five books of The Dread Penny Society series. And I am so excited that they are now available in a penny dreadful collection because these stories are fantastic. The now get to shine on their own as well and that is exciting.

They way Eden wove these into the stories genius. Now they can be enjoyed all on their own and you can really see how fantastic Eden is at creating all sorts of stories. She is one talented author and these dreadfuls are just what you might need if you are looking for shorter stories full of mystery, intrigue, adventures monsters, ghosts, spooky thrills and more. And on top of the ten originally found in the books of the series you get three new stories as well. Wonderful penny dreadful collection to be enjoyed by many!

*I received an advanced copy from the publisher/author and all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Finally. If you've read the Dread Penny Society series, you'll know what a treat each book is with a story within a story unfolding. I was beyond thrilled to see this set come to life in a whole collection--with THREE added bonus stories.

I loved the very start of the book, where Sarah M. Eden talks about writing these and a little background on what they are. I hadn't ever heard of Penny Dreadfuls before reading this series and I love how each one has a hint of mystery, fantasy, gothic, and/or love. They're such a treat to read and it was fun to enjoy a complete story here and there.

This is one set that defines putting the icing on the cake of a series!

Content: mild moments of peril; mild romance

Was this review helpful?