Saturday, November 7, 2015

Gothic Romance

Posted by: Unknown
I saw Crimson Peak recently and I LOVED IT. I worried with Tom Hiddleston in the lead that it would fall too much to the romance side. I worried with Guillermo del Toro as the director that it would fall too much on the horror side. But it was dead on perfect Gothic Romance. The sets, the costuming, the acting—everything was wonderful.

It sent me on a search for Gothic Romance reads. Classic Gothic Romance stories don’t always work for me as romances. The way I see it, Romance as a genre is a celebration of the traditional ideal of romantic love. Gothic Romance has all the trappings of romance, but instead of celebrating the ideal of romantic love, it challenges it. Is this love or obsession? Can love truly be a redeeming force? What if the person you love turns out to be a monster or a liar or a murderer? Is love a sacred thing or is it all hope and circumstance?

So romance on the surface, but with maybe a corpse hiding beneath the dark water.

Here are some of the recommendations I received:

Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier:  I liked this better when I stopped trying to read it as a romance. The point of view character has a puppy-like infatuation with her much older husband. I’m pretty sure the author’s sympathies lie with his villainous, deceased wife, Rebecca. Maybe the best use of an unreliable narrator I’ve read.

Jane Eyre: I love Jane Eyre. My daughter read it recently. Before she went to bed, she said, “Mom! Mr. Rochester just asked Jane to marry him, and she said yes!” The next day, she was all scowly-faced. “We have to talk about Mr. Rochester.” Nothing beats attic wife.

Ammie, Come Home – Barbara Michaels: I like Barbara Michaels. Some of the stories feel a little dated, but they always hold my attention. They’re good spooky reads. Light on the romance.

Mary Stewart: I know I read Mary Stewart when I was younger. I would really like to read more, but I don’t read paper books, and she’s not available in digital. Boo.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare – Simone St. James: I’m a fan of Simone St. James. I liked The Haunting of Maddy Clare a lot. Very spooky. The romance in Silence for the Dead is better.

Other recommendations that I haven’t read yet…

Victoria Holt
Phyllis A Whitney
Dragonwyck - Anya Seton
Stygian – Santino Hassell
Eve Silver

Do you have a favorite Gothic Romance?

Thanks to Jeffe Kennedy, Kristen Callihan, Jenn Burke, Laura Curtis, Kelly-Instalove for all the great recs!


  1. I read a ton of Victoria Holt when I was in high school, also Mary Stewart (my faves are Madam Will You Talk and Touch Not the Cat) and Phyllis A. Whitney. (On a side note Phyllis A. Whitney's Guide to Fiction Writing is what caused me to write my first novel.)

    Glad you liked Simone St. James!

    1. Yes! You were the one who rec'd her to me. Thank you for that:)

  2. Here are some suggestions for gothics released in the last ten years or so: Jennifer St. Giles' The Mistress of Trevelyan, Lydia Joyce, Erica Ridley. There was Dark Obsession and Dark Temptation by Allison Chase. There are many who consider Deanna Raybourn's books gothic, though I'd say they're more mystery. Also, Susanna Kearsley writes with a gothic vibe. And I love Simone St. James!!!!

    In a more literary fiction vein, there's Diane Setterfield and Sarah Waters (Fingersmith). In young adult, recent gothic releases include Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and The Madman's Daughter, both of which I thought were great.

    1. Oh! I love Deanna Raybourn and Susanna Kearsley. I forgot to add Amanda Stevens - I really like her Graveyard Queen series. Thanks so much for the recommendations! Off to check them out:D

  3. I loved Crimson Peak, too. So gorgeous and perfectly gothic in every way.

    I cut my teeth on Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis A. Whitney. Mary Stewart's Spindrift was even made into a Disney movie starring Hayley Mills back in the day. :)

    More recently, I've enjoyed Amanda Stevens' Graveyard Queen series, which aren't exactly old-school gothic, but have a lot of the same elements and feel.

    And if you're looking for gothic romance from an HBM author, I have one coming out on December 15: The Lost Coast. :)

    1. LOL I just entered the comment up there about forgetting the Graveyard Queen series and then I saw your comment. Looking forward to reading The Lost Coast:)

  4. Margaret Campbell's The Spider in the Cup
    And Susan Howatch has some books that aren't really gothic, but have a similar mood:
    The Dark Shore, The Waiting Sands and Call in the Night

  5. There's an old Meagan McKinney historical romance that is the perfect Gothic read. I have kept it on my Keeper shelf. It's called Gentle From the Night. And it's a great Gothic read. Probably a cheap buy too. Love the blog and linked!

    1. Thank you! I'm going to have to break down and read some of these in paper:)


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