Gothic fiction perfect for my Halloween reads

One Gothic horror story and four Gothics that lean more toward romance

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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My definition of Gothic fiction leans more toward romance than horror. The last four books which I read as a young adult are in that mode. They have some mystery, secrets, spookiness, romance and a female protagonist who doesn’t know who to trust and worries she may have fallen in love with the wrong person! Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is probably the first book of that type I read.

I read The Stranger Diaries last week and as I read it I thought, “this is my perfect book for Halloween.” It is a Gothic story within a police procedural. That made me think of the Gothic fiction I read when I was a young adult. And that is what the four other books I talk about today all are. But they are good books to read for Halloween if you just want a few chills and don’t want something too scary!

The Stranger Diaries is a police procedural, but the Gothic story “The Stranger” by R.M. Holland is gradually told throughout the book along with the modern murder mystery. That story is more in the Gothic horror genre, but perhaps because I read it gradually it didn’t scare me.

R.M. Holland is central to the book since he lived during the 1800’s in one of the buildings which is now a school where much of the book takes place. One of the characters in the book is an English teacher at the school and is writing a book about Holland.

Rebecca and Jane Eyre are two of the first Gothics I read. They are both considered classics.

I read and enjoyed most of Daphne du Maurier’s books during my teen years.

I read quite a few of Barbara Michaels’s books though I liked her Elizabeth Peters’s books better since they were more mysteries and less Gothic and/or supernatural. I especially enjoyed her Amelia Peabody series with Egyptology and mysteries central to the stories.

However, I remember enjoying The Master of Blacktower quite a bit when I read it!

Mary Stewart was also a great favorite of mine. I loved her adventure stories about young women in places like England, France or some other European country I dreamed of visiting. They had mysteries and danger and some were Gothics, but all were exciting and took me to new worlds.

Nine Coaches Waiting was one of the more Gothic novels of Mary Stewart’s I remember.

I read many of Victoria Holt’s books as a young adult. If I remember correctly most all of her books could be classified as Gothics. They have romance and suspense intertwined with scary looking lonely mansions. The young women in these books are often governesses so they are on their own with the child in a mansion with sometimes hostile servants and the arrogant often secretive and haunted father or guardian.

Do you like Gothic fiction? Do you tend more towards the horror instead of romance (that might turn to horror)? Have you read any of these books or authors?

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

6 thoughts on “Gothic fiction perfect for my Halloween reads”

  1. I love Barbara Michaels Gothic-y reads but it’s been awhile since I’ve picked up that particular one! The Elly Griffiths is on my TBR and Rebecca is one of my all time favorites. Great list!

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  2. I read a lot of Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt in my younger days – had forgotten how gothic some of their books were. Will check out the Stranger Diaries – looks interesting.

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  3. Yes to Victoria Holt, I too read her when I was younger. I like your definition of gothic, it would be where I would fall on the continuum too. Mary Stewart was a favourite too.

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