Carter takes traditional fairy tales and legends as her base for this series of compelling short stories. The results are usually darker than the originals but they retain the essence of them. Carter's tales seem to compliment the fairy tales rather than detract from them. She merely demonstrates another strand, another interpretation.
There are ten stories in this collection, the longest being the title piece. I have to say, that is one of my favourites, probably because of the gruesome imagery that runs rampant throughout it. It takes Bluebeard as it's underlying tale but is very much an excellent tale in its own right. My other favourites were "The Courtship of Mr Lyon", mainly due to the Beauty and the Beast base, and "The Lady of the House of Love". The latter was bewitching, particularly the language of decay that permeates the narrative.
I'd highly recommend this collection but I would add a caveat - don't read it just before you go to sleep!