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The Haunting of Bly Manor proves that every love story is a ghost story

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The Haunting of Bly Manor, which premiered last week on Netflix, makes me a little sad I’ve never seen a ghost. It’s the second series from The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan. Like American Horror Story, the Haunting shows are anthology dramas, with each series telling a self-contained story. They’re not connected, in other words, other than by cast and aesthetic each show is a drama first, horror show second, set largely in lush, spooky estates.

Like Hill House, Bly Manor is based on a foundational horror text. For this go-round, Flanagan has chosen Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw. The original story is told in flashback by an unnamed narrator who spins a tale of a governess hired to take care of a wealthy man’s niece and nephew in the stately Bly Manor. In time, the governess begins to see people who may not really be there, and she also suspects that something is wrong with the children. Bly Manor uses its source material as a loose frame for narrative, filling in the spaces between the major beats of the original plot with standalone stories about people haunted by very real things (like guilt or jealousy) that occasionally take on a supernatural dimension (ghosts).

Bly Manor begins in 2007, with a ghost story told by a woman (Carla Gugino) the night before a wedding in an old, historic manor. Her tale takes place 20 years earlier, when a woman named Dani (Victoria Pedretti), living abroad in London, takes a job from the wealthy Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) to be governess to his niece and nephew, Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth). So she moves into gloomy Bly Manor to care for her new charges.

But something is wrong at Bly — the children have clearly seen things that no child should see, and someone appears to be living in the west wing, which is supposedly sealed off. Meanwhile, Dani is running from something that makes her cover every mirror she comes across.

Despite all this creepy scene-setting, though, Bly Manor isn’t terribly big on moments that make you want to hide under the covers. Like the novella it’s based on, the series is a gothic romance, which means it’s more interested in the supernatural as a means of exploring indescribable feelings, like terror or love. The genre never tends to be terribly popular in its time because it’s often conflated with the most straightforward version of horror: the scary kind.

Like the ghosts at its heart, gothic romances tend to grow in the telling, as more people recount their tragic tales. There are some frightening moments, but the series is a muted contrast to The Haunting of Hill House, which produced a number of delightfully frightening episodes during its run. Bly Manor is trying for something harder.

Its nine episodes weave in a number of tragic stories as the series expands its scope, growing to fill the eponymous manor’s gloomy halls. We hear about the housekeeper, Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller), so lost in her work that she loses herself, seeming to forget her own biography. About Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif), whose whirlwind romance ends, predictably, in tragedy. (Gothic romance.) About the history of Bly Manor itself. It adds up to a series that believes the true beginning of a ghost story is a kiss, and not a haunting, because to love means eventually to mourn. Ghosts aren’t anything but pain that’s managed to bend the rules of the natural world.

In The Haunting of Bly Manor, like The Haunting of Hill House before it, there are real ghosts hiding in the edges of the frame, just out of focus. Spotting them is a fun, spooky diversion — mostly because the show’s characters don’t notice them.

Look closely and you’ll see them: a plague doctor appears in various rooms; elsewhere, a soldier appears out of focus. They’re different from the ghosts the cast can see, and the ones they’re terrorized by. They make you wonder about what ghosts haunt the spaces you pass through every day and the stories that might be hiding in familiar places.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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