(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?
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.