This was a real life book club read. Written in 1842, it is an allegory about the meaning of Christian beliefs and the nature of evil.
It is a short novella set in a small Swiss mountain village. The story starts on the morning of a Christening, and the first half of the book has a great deal of detail about the preparations for the event, and I will admit that I struggled with it. The second half though was fantastic. It feature an old man from the Christening party telling all the guests the reason that an old beam remains and integral part of a new house. The reason revolves around a pact with the devil made generations previously and still haunts the village.
It is clearly a story meant as a sermon, but it also an early horror story and that alone makes it interesting. It isn't something I would ordinarily have picked up, but I am really glad that I have read it. It is interesting that what was considered frightening in 1842, still has that creep factor even now.