September 8, 2009

Gothic Fiction - Historical and Timeslip Favourites

I just wanted to highlight the excellent Die, Gothic, Die post by Special Guest Emily Ryan Davis from Scorched Sheets posting at Romancing The Blog, in which she poses the question to readers whether the Gothic romance novel is real and truly, dead. I completely agree with Emily that this category of novel is still firmly alive, albeit I think it has been repackaged and hidden within other categories like timeslip, historical fiction, paranormal romance and fantasy romance.
Wikipedia has a great summary about exactly what Gothic fiction/Gothic romance is and its historical roots. My first experience with Gothic romance fiction was reading Victoria Holt as a teenager...her books totally suited my mind frame at the time...depressed, moody and overly dramatic. After reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott I looked into her backlist and realized that she wrote a collection of Gothic short stories anonymously called A Whisper in the Dark. If you want to read pure Gothic fiction I highly recommend this collection. I am very fond of historical fiction and timeslip novels that incorporate gothic elements and if you are looking for further reading in these genres I would recommend: A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander
A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
A Great and Terribble Beauty by Libby Bray (YA)
Rebel Angels by Libby Bray (YA)
The Sweet Far Thing by Libby Bray (YA)
Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Serpent's Tale by Ariana Franklin Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley Sepulchre by Kate Mosse Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn Silent in the Santuary by Deanna Raybourn Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn Frankenstein by Mary Shelly Perfume by Patrick Suskind Dracula by Bram Stoker Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Here's a list of Gothic fiction from LibraryThing based on tag cloud popularity. Here's a list of Gothic romance fiction from LibraryThing based on tag cloud popularity.


  1. I sure hope that Gothic fiction is not dead. I am a fan and will remain one. I think Daphne du Maurier's writing made me a fan but there so many others out there, as your list shows.

  2. Just seeing how many books on your list I have read and loved makes me realise that I really do enjoy a good gothic novel! You've listed some of my favourites!

  3. I love a creepy fun Gothic novel! And I definitely think they're just being repackaged. I recently read a romance/mystery with definite Gothic influences called Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark by Donna Lea Simpson and just loved it!

  4. Looking back at the list I made I realized that gothic fiction may be my all-time favourite genre! I did not even include all the gothic romance novels that I love.

    Lana I'll have to check out Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark. Lady Anne this name!