Jane Austen

Gothics and Giveaway!

(n) Gothic romance (a romance that deals with desolate and mysterious and grotesque events) — from the Princeton University website

My introduction to Gothic romance was in high school, where I first read Jane Eyre and got sucked in by all the classic Gothic romance elements: a romantic but dangerous setting, an innocent and vulnerable heroine, a hero with Secrets. Later (having gone to an all-girl Catholic school) I also read Rebecca, a more modern Gothic that fascinated me and many of my classmates.

I suspect a lot of Gothic romance authors have been inspired by Jane Eyre, but Charlotte Bronte was by no means the founder of the genre. During the Regency, readers enjoyed Gothic romances such as those published by the Minerva Press. It was Ann Radcliffe who made them popular with examples like The Mysteries of Udolpho, which inspired much of the foolish behavior of Catherine, the heroine of Northanger Abbey. Although Jane Austen poked fun at Gothics, I suspect she enjoyed reading some of them herself. BTW I find this cover for Northanger Abbey very funny!

Gothics can go awry. I think the concept of the TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) heroine arose with romances in which the heroine runs off in her nightie, holding nothing but a candle, to investigate an eerie sound in the attic or cellar where dire events are suspected to have occurred.

I still like Gothic romance and I happily suspend disbelief to follow the characters into situations that are wildly unlikely in real life. I played with some of these elements in my recent reissue, SAVING LORD VERWOOD. I haven’t read many recent historicals like this (though I’m admittedly way behind in my reading) but dark paranormals provide the same thrill. A well-written romance with Gothic elements is like a piece of luscious chocolate. Who cares if it’s good for you?

Do you enjoy romance with Gothic elements? What are some of your favorites, classic or modern?

I’ll be giving away 5 Kindle or Nook copies of SAVING LORD VERWOOD to commenters chosen at random. If you win, you can also nominate a friend to receive a free copy. Void where prohibited. You must be over 18. No purchase necessary. Post your comment by midnight EST on January 13. I will post an announcement on Saturday, January 14, so please check back to see if you have won.


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10 years ago

I do enjoy reading books with some Gothic elements but just reading straight Gothic no. I do love reading something different and this does sound different, would love to read it.


Diane Gaston
10 years ago

I loved the more modern gothics. Victoria Holt. Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney. They led me into Historical Romance….and the rest is history!!!!

Cathy P
10 years ago

I like the more modern gothic romances. Haven’t read one in a while, but would love to.

10 years ago

I love Gothic elements! Especially when, like in Austen, there’s a little nod to the delicious ridiculousness of it all…

10 years ago

I have read some fun modern gothics, but I can’t stomach the originals–this may be left over from my traumatic 9th-grade English Class reading experience of Wuthering Heights. We called it “Withering Heights” in all our 14-year-old cleverness.

Barbara E.
10 years ago

I’ve read quite a few gothics over the years, especially Daphne De Maurer and Victoria Holt. Every once in a while I’ll pick up a modern gothic or historical romance with gothic elements and enjoy the heck out of it.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Maria D.
10 years ago

I do enjoy reading books with gothic elements. I do occasionally read an older gothic book. I like books alone the lines of Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, V.C. Andrews and Amy Tan.

Thanks for the giveaway

junegirl63 at gmail dot com

10 years ago

Oh, my gosh, I love Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey! Someday, I’m going to read the other two.

Elena Greene
10 years ago

Victoria Holt was one of my favorites for a while too, Diane. Now I’m tempted to dig into the back of the double-shelved books and find some!

Oh, Lorraine, for shame! 🙂 Actually my friends and I loved Jane Eyre so much we wished Heathcliff were more reformable and there was a happy ending. We were teenagers…

Louisa Cornell
10 years ago

Oh I LOVE a good gothic romance! Jane Eyre is an absolute favorite of mine!

And I have a stack of Victoria Holts and Phyllis Whitneys. Need to get those back out!

I love them so much my second completed manuscript was a gothic. It hasn’t sold, but I DO love it.

The dark and brooding hero, the mysterious house, the odd relatives, and things that go bump in the night. What’s not to love?

10 years ago

I’m currently reading the mysteries of udolpho – i like the way that the setting acts as a sublime character, i also love watching Jane Eyre (especially the one with toby stevens ) mmm

Janet Mullany
10 years ago

I LOVE that Northanger Abbey cover so much. Thanks for including it. I really enjoyed Barbara Michael’s gothics.

10 years ago

I have a box of old Gothic paperbacks and every once in a while, I’ll pull one out and read it. I sometimes think TSTL was a requirement for the heroine in these 1950’s to 1970’s books.
REBECCA is an all time favorite of mine. Like Diane, I read Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney long before I discovered romances.

I haven’t read one in a while probably because I never finished the last one. It just didn’t grab me enough to keep my attention.

10 years ago

Another 20th century writer of Gothic novels was Elsie Lee – wonderful, although hard to find in Europe. I too love the Northanger Abbey cover!

10 years ago

I like modern gothic romances. They are interesting and keep you intrigued to read more.

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