Saturday, October 30, 2010

Susanna Kearsley: Mariana

Susanna Kearsley's novel Mariana-- a winner of the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize in 1993-- is a novel I'd been waiting for and wanting to read for a while after a recommendation from blog reader Hannah. I was not disappointed, and this novel is one I'll be picking up again to read in the future. I only wish I had read this novel first of Kearsley's that I've read, but I'm glad that I got around to it, and I'll be seeking out her other novels.

Julia Beckett sees Greyweathers in Exbury as a child and is drawn to it. When she comes into a tidy sum from a dead relative and is looking to move out of the city to work on her illustrations, she buys the old estate in the English countryside. She meets a colorful cast of characters from the Lord of the local manor, Geoff DeMornay to Iain Sumner, a gardener and complex man as well as Vivian, a local bar owner. When Julia starts having strange experiences and losing time, she has to consider a crazy idea that her brother Tom poses: that she is the reincarnation of Mariana, a 17th century woman.

Characterization 5/5: The characters in this novel are vividly drawn and round. I loved them all other than the villains. Richard DeMornay stands as one of the best romantic protagonists I've seen in any novel, and the end of this novel was the most satisfying that I've read in a long time.

Plot 5/5: This novel is about 375 pages in length, and there is not a wasted word. So often I've read novels in this genre that go on and on with repetitions and details that don't add to the story (a few I've reviewed on this blog come to mind). The plot of Mariana is tight, and everything in the novel advances it further. Multiple storylines keep the tension going.

Atmospheric elements/spooky stuff 4/5: The time travel aspects, ghosts, and settings are quite spooky.

Literary elements 5/5: This novel is well researched and smart.

Rating: 4+ stars ****+

If you like ghosts, time travel, 17th century and British/Irish History, and great love stories, this novel is for you. I honestly stayed up until 2 a.m. reading last night because I just had to finish the novel. I haven't done that in a very long time. I think this novel can hold its own with a classic like Rebecca.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just a reminder: last days before the Whitney Contest ends...

In a few more days, I'll be giving away two Phyllis A. Whitney novels to one lucky reader. I have a huge collection of them, so you might just get one you haven't read yet (I'll let you choose if you win from the ones I have if you'd like)! Just post on any blog entry by November 1st at 12 a.m. EST.

Happy Halloween, dear readers! :) 

Friday, October 22, 2010

James Herbert: The Magic Cottage

In Herbert's The Magic Cottage, Midge Gudgeon and her boyfriend Mike Stringer-- he is the narrator of this book-- are looking for a quaint cottage in the woods-- away from the hustle and bustle of London. Midge sees an ad in the paper for one such cottage and is immediately, inexplicably smitten with it. With peeling paint, dying flowers, lovely rooms, and a charming mien, they buy the cottage.

From the first, the cottage has oddities: no spider webs though it has been vacant for some time and cracks in walls that disappear, not to mention that living there leads to mindblowing sex and spooky hallucinations. Squirrels and birds and other creatures of the woods love Midge, and she becomes even more fey to Mike's observing eye than she already is as a cute, little pixie like gal.

Soon, though, there is trouble in paradise. The neighbors are part of a strange healing cult: Elder Mycroft and his gang are more than a little creepy. What is the power they have, and why do they want Gramarye cottage so badly?

Characterization 4/5: [I enjoyed the realistic narrative voice, and the characters were all well drawn. I also think the name Midge Gudgeon is great.]

Plot 4/5: [The plot moves at a nice pace-- not glacially but not like a stampede either. The horror and shivery stuff unfolds slowly but not too slowly, and there is a definite racheting up of suspense. I only had a problem near the end when things almost got laughable; however, there is a nice twist, too, at the end. I didn't care for the ending much, though I won't give it away. :) It's semi-happy, I'd say.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 4/5 [The bats alone and the scuttling in the attic gave me the creeps, not to mention the cult next door and the dead who gain voices in the novel.]

Literary 4/5 [This one isn't deep, but it's fun.]

Rating: ****  4 stars  

I recommend this one. It is different and creative. I haven't read another spooky novel quite like it. If you like cottages and the like, you will love it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Midterms and Gothic Novel Reading

I know it's been a while since I've posted a review. I've been swamped with grading this week, and I hope to have one of 'The Magic Cottage' by James Herbert up very soon.

Anyone reading anything good and gothicky this week?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Winner of Contest/New Contest-- Phyllis A. Whitney Novels

I have drawn names for the two winners for the last contest, and Stacela and Sara are the winners of a Gothic Horror novel apiece. :) The odds were really great on that last one.

I'll be contacting you if I can, or if you see this post, you can email me with your address within 48 hours. I'll send out your books on Monday.

The new contest starts today. I'll be giving away two Phyllis A. Whitney novels to one lucky reader. I have a huge collection of them, so you might just get one you haven't read yet! Just post on any blog entry by November 1st at 12 a.m. EST.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mary Stewart: Thornyhold

This novel is one of Stewart's later ones, published in 1988, and might be called a cottage novel or cozy, but I think with its focus on witches and a woman alone and in danger, it is close enough to a Gothic Novel to end up on the blog. :) I know a lot of my readers do or would like this novel, so I wanted to post a review. My copy is the Fawcett Crest edition, and it's really gorgeous, though the cottage looks huge. ;)

Geillis Ramsey has inherited her witch-like, mysterious older cousin and godmother Geillis Saxon's cottage in the woods. For her, penniless and bereft of father and mother at age 27, the new home is a gift. Having known little happiness in her life, Geillis is elated at her new surroundings.

From the start, Thornyhold is lovely but mysterious. Geillis has left all manner of herbs and other tools of a witch or at least an herbalist, and her cousin young Geillis soon has a dream about flying and being part of a coven. Indeed, the cottage has a long history of its mistresses being white witches. Are the dreams and inklings Geillis has of being a witch or of having power to heal real, and what danger lurks near Thornyhold? Can the housekeeper and neighbor Agnes Trapp and others be trusted? Will Geillis be able to realize the fulfillment of a budding love affair and be happy at last?

Plot: 4/5 [This novel is lovely-- pastoral and bucolic. It's not a fast moving thriller, but it is quite satisfying as it spins out in descriptions of a sad childhood and of daily life as a young woman finds her way.]

Characters: 5/5 [Both Geillises are delightful. I pictured someone like Natalie Portman (brains and a certain fey and tentative quality she has fit to me) as young Geillis, and Helena Bonham Carter with her hair colored red as older Geillis. I also like Geillis' love interest and man of many talents-- Christopher Dryden-- (what a magical name that evokes dryads and all manner of lovely things, don't you think?), and picture him as a younger Robert Redford. A passage that describes him as a "lodestone-- a bright particular star" and as a "homme fatal" is one of the best descriptions of a hero I have seen, and I have read a lot of novels (168-69).]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 4/5 [The cozy atmosphere really works in this one, and there is a hint of danger as well. Some Gothic touches are the witchcraft elements, Hodge the black cat, dead pigeons in the house, a crystal ball, visions, Jessamy who is a little off, howling dogs in the night, and an enigmatic housekeeper.]

Literary elements: 5/5 [Yes, this is a smart and even dreamlike novel, well written and evocative of novels many of us probably love starring children and young women in bucolic places.]

Stars: 4+ stars   ****+

I recommend this one for all fans of Mary Stewart. If you're a fan of pastoral scenes, cottage cozies, masterful description and mild Gothic elements, you will also love this novel. I found it a nice break from the horror type or spookier novels I have been reading of late.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of Susanna Kearsley's 'The Shadowy Horses' linked on Kearsley's web site

One of my dear readers pointed out to me that Susanna Kearsley has added my review of her novel, The Shadowy Horses, on her website. I am not sure how long it will stay up there, but it's linked there now under the scrolling New Reviews section and here on the blog if you missed it before:

The Review

New Reviews on Kearsley's Site

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Movie Recommendation: The Wyvern Mystery

Based upon the 1869 novel by J. S. Le Fanu, who is most famous for his vampire Gothic novels, this film is a Gothic lover's dream. Set in the 19th century, with a mad woman, murder, a lecherous guardian, a secret heir, a heroine in distress, and a big mystery, this is a must see. The film is rife with ancestral edifices as well as lovely cemeteries, looming crosses, and other touches.

Naomi Watt is masterful in the role of Alice; I have liked her acting for some time. This movie only increased my admiration. If you have time this season, check this movie out for some thrills, chills and great atmosphere. The movie kept me in suspense until the last moment and made me wish there were more of its ilk out there.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A poll for fans of Gothic Romance Novels

I made a poll on GoodReads that I would love for you to vote in before 10/15 as fans of Gothic Romance Novels. They have quick poll making, so that was an easy place to do it. If you aren't a GoodReads member, it's a great site! I have a big virtual bookshelf and am part of several groups.

The poll is at the bottom of the page.

The Poll...

Barbara Erskine: House of Echoes

I took my second stab at an Erskine novel with this one, published in 1997.

Adopted at a young age, now that she has a young child of her own, Joss has sought out her mother and father. Both are dead, but she learns she has inherited the old, ancestral home, Belheddon, in a tiny village in Essex. The inheritance comes at a perfect time since her husband Luke has just seen his business go down in flames. Almost from the first, though, Joss realizes something isn't right with the house: a cryptic note from her mother, warnings from those who live in the area, laughter of children who cannot be found, cold spots, mysterious roses that appear on her pillow, shadowy figures, and voices haunt Joss, Luke, and their son, Tom. What is wrong with the house, and what can be done about it? Will the family be able to exorcise the evil there, or will it engulf them?

Plot: 4/5 [This novel moved at a nice pace, and even more importantly, the dialogue was much better this time around. I think Erskine had some coaching or writing classes between this novel and Midnight is a Lonely Place. This one was published two years later; I admire the changes she managed to pull off. It is nice to see changes for the better in a writer; the dialogue between male and female characters is usually fine and when it's bad, it's only slightly intolerable. The novel really got suspenseful for me around 150 pages in; it was enjoyable to that point, but the intrigue heightened as it went on. I enjoyed reading this one in bits and savoring it.]

Characterization: 4/5 [The characters are nicely drawn, though I can't say I have ideas about who would play most of them.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 4/5 [This one is quite spooky and has plenty of thrills and chills. In fact, it kept me awake a little last night. I took off a star for just how haunted the house is. There is not much subtlety in the novel; these ghosts come at the reader fast, furious, and in great number-- especially in the beginning. The novel mellows and gets richer as it goes, if that makes sense. Also, the first reference to the Tin Man honestly made me giggle. Erskine writes unevenly (in my opinion), but if you want lots of ghostly activity, she's a sure bet.]

Literary elements: 4/5 [This one is pretty fluffy, but I admire any novelist who writes lengthy novels like this one and holds them together this well.]

Rating: 4 stars   ****

I recommend this one as a good Halloween season read. If you like haunted mansions, tearful love stories through generations or ghosts in general, this one is for you. The novel is long, too, so you have plenty of thrills to savor. I am not sure I'd read this one before bed, either, if you want to sleep well, and that's a pretty good recommendation for any Gothic Novel! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Guest Blogger Kristi Lyn Glass and Gothic Journal/Gothic Romance Lending Library

**Lisa's note: I am honored to have this guest post from Kristi Lyn Glass. I hope you will check out the archived issues of Gothic Journal on sale at the website and sign up for the mailing list and newsletter. For hard to find Gothic Novels, look no further than the Gothic Romance Lending Library. And pass the word on to your friends who like these novels...

Gothic Romance Lending Library Lends Gothic Romances by Mail

Gothic romances in the tradition of Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney are available for loan via the mail from the Gothic Romance Lending Library (GRLL). Gothic Journal founded this non-profit library in 1996 to collect as many of these titles as possible and make them available for reading by gothic romance fans.

There are currently 2,250 titles in the library plus 1,171 duplicates, for a total of 3,421 volumes. Most of the books have been donated by gothic romance fans to help keep these books in circulation. Book donations are tax deductible.
The library is particularly interested in receiving, and thus preserving, classic historical gothic romances. However, it will also gratefully accept donations of contemporary romantic suspense novels, romantic mysteries, supernatural romances (provided they contain a puzzle or mystery), and woman-in-jeopardy romances. In short, the library contains books that each contain these three ingredients: romance, life-threatening suspense, and a puzzle or mystery.
The library is housed in the home of volunteer librarians Rod and Pat Christian in Spokane, WA. Library users may order from two to eight books at one time and keep them for approximately one month. For more information and to view the GRLL catalog, see or contact Rod and Pat Christian, Gothic Romance Lending Library, E. 12225 25th, Spokane, WA 99206, (509) 926-8278,

This article was submitted by Kristi Lyn Glass, publisher of Gothic Journal. From 1991 through 1998, Gothic Journal was the only news and review magazine for readers, writers, and publishers of romantic suspense, romantic mystery, and gothic, supernatural, and woman-in-jeopardy romance novels. Although no longer available in print form, Gothic Journal continues to provide its back issues and reviews and lists of recommended titles in its genres via and its web store.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peter Straub: Ghost Story

This Gothic Horror/Ghost Story Novel was published in 1979. Many readers consider Ghost Story their favorite of such novels. I finally got around to reading it.

The story opens up on Don Wanderley, a troubled man in his 30s, telling about the worst thing that ever happened to him. The story was fascinating in a put your fingers over your eyes kind of way from the first page. That fascination held for about thirty pages for me. After that, the plot was full of fits and starts and very few shivers.

Sears James, Frederick Hawthorn, Edward Wanderley, John Jaffrey and Lewis Benedikt are friends who have lived in Milburn for years. They weave a narrative with scary ghost stories alongside present and past events-- a tradition that began when their friend Edward Wanderley died a year from the start of the main narrative in Milburn. How did Wanderley die? Who is the new woman in town named Anna? What are the evil forces that are at work in Milburn that threaten to destroy these old men and the town?

The plot is multi-layered with no less than seven stories and points of view going on. This sort of plot can't be easy to do, and it falters soon for me. I read 150 pages of the novel and gave up as I didn't want to slog through over 300 more. I felt few thrills or chills, and I think Straub's spare writing style is part of the reason. I want to see, feel, hear an autumn day, and Straub gives few details. I would choose The Shining or Pet Sematary over this one as great Gothic Horror Novels any day.

You might give this one a try and love it as many do. I loved Julia by Straub, but I have never found another of his novels to equal that one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween Gothic Movie Recommendation: The Tomb of Ligeia

Starring Vincent Price and released in 1965, this creepy flick is worth your evening. If you have Netflix, you can stream it instantly. We have a wii, and that's how I watched it over a couple evenings when I had time.

The opening scene alone was enough to make me shiver; don't miss it. Is Ligeia really dead? Might she live again as her husband Verden Fell believes? What will become of Fell's new wife, Lady Rowena? Black cats, a ruined abbey, spooky old school ministers, smouldering sensuality, a creepy corpse, and other Gothic Elements feature in this movie based upon the story by Edgar Allen Poe. Black and white and color are also dazzling in this film. I recommend it for one of these chilly autumn evenings. Vincent Price is perfectly creepy in his role, and Elizabeth Shepherd somehow manages to exude both an ethereal quality and blatant sexuality.

I'll be doing some other occasional brief, Gothic Film/Movie recommendations as I run across worthy films, but look no further if you want a good one for the season.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Your Favorite Gothics

I thought it might be fun to make a list of favorite Gothic Novels-- say our top 3, 5, 7, 8, or 10. I have chosen a Top 7 to leave room for others I haven't found yet. If you have three or five, that is great, too. A reader commented yesterday that another top list that was begun in the comments was helpful. So, here's my top 7 with a little blurb about why:

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-- This novel is the one that made me fall in love with Gothic Novels. The obsessive romance between Cathy and Heathcliff (where I first learned about solipsism) , the symbolism of two houses, and the setting on the moors makes this novel a timeless and daring classic. If you haven't read it, you are missing out. I also recommend the A&E version of this movie; I'm a big Ralph Fiennes/Juliet Binoche fan, and this movie captures the wildness and darkness of the novel.

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: This novel has stood the test of time as a ghost story and a cautionary tale about science and progress. The setting of ice and cold as well as the macabre monster and mad scientist make this one a winner. I have taught it dozens of times and will never tire of it. In fact, it ranks above Stoker's Dracula for me. Robert DeNiro, Helena Bonham Carter, and Kenneth Branagh star in a masterful version of this one.

3. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier: This novel is a masterpiece with its characterization and Gothic Elements. DuMaurier remains unparalleled in creating an atmosphere of eeriness and of injecting twisted love and sexuality into a novel deftly. Also, I think the dead Rebecca is one of the most powerful and present deceased characters I've encountered in a novel.

4. The Man in the Moss by Phil Rickman: I had to include one of these novels in the list. It's part of the Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman; all these novels are oh so Gothic with old churches, ghosts galore, murder, peat bogs, demonic possession, and more.

5. Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels: I just reviewed this one, and I decided to include it in my top list. It is near the top of hers for me. Since she is my favorite modern author, it's a tough choice. For a genre subverting Gothic Romance Novel, look no further. I loved the characters so much by the end of this one that I cried the last time I read it.

6. Still Life with Crows by Preston and Child: I love this series with Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. This novel was the first I read, and it is still my favorite. I love the Southern Pendergast (a man who was raised on a creepy ancestral estate in New Orleans that often makes appearances in the novels), and I love these novels. This one is a Southern Gothic with such an eerie atmosphere as well as caves, crows, murder, and a family secret. If you haven't read any in this series, run to the library. These novels are lengthy and ones I didn't want to end. I recommend any in the series, especially the early ones.

7. Dragonwyck by Anya Seton: Next to Heathcliff, perhaps Seton has created the best Byronic Hero I've ever seen. I found this novel recently, and it has ghosts, a wise old crone, obsessive love, murder, ancestral estate, vivid history and so much more. Seton writes like a dream to top it all off.

For me, these are must read Gothics. There are others that I could add to the list (Stephen King's The Shining or Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door almost made it), but I don't feel as strongly about them. Which novels are on your list, and why do you recommend them?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Barbara Michaels: Here I Stay

This novel by Barbara Michaels is a later Gothic Romance, published in 1983.

I found this unique cover image on Goodreads, though I have not seen this cover before. I'd love to find a copy of this particular edition.

Andrea Torgesen has purchased an old mansion that she plans to fix up and run as an inn or boarding house.  Andrea has had a tough life, and her brother Jim is no exception. After having a terrible car accident and almost dying, Jim is coming to live with Andrea. She sees him as her responsibility, and she brooks no opposition from him about his recovery. Her slowly budding interest in Martin, a lovable liberal lodger, complicates matters.

When Jim starts seeing things, and eerie happenings occur, Andrea wonders what she is fighting against. Battling Jim's unhealthy obsession with the family grave plot on the property, Andrea finds herself in a struggle with life and death.

Characterization: 4/5 [Andrea is not particularly likable, but I think her character is realistic considering her tough life. Moreover, she does change and grow in the course of the novel, so she is truly a round character. I found myself moved by this novel, so I would say that I grew to love all the characters. I picture Andrea as Valerie Bertinelli (younger) and Jim as a young Tobey Maguire.]

Plot: 5/5 [This one kept me in suspense, and I love the twist at the end. Michaels is not afraid to take risks as an author and disrupt the expectations of readers or genre. If you like Gothic Novels that don't play by the rules, this one is for you.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 5/5 [I got chills regularly from this novel with its ghosts, old documents, family graveyard, spooky photo, and the characters' obsessions. I also like the aspect of history repeating.]

Literary elements: 4/5 [This one is pretty fluffy, but Michaels always includes some feminism and liberal politics. I personally like both.]

Rating: 4+ stars     ****+

I recommend this one. It is innovative and enjoyable, and I rank it in my top five of Michaels' novels. I want to add a note here, though: the ending is quite unsettling and might trigger some readers. I don't recommend it for all readers. If you want to know more, you can send me a message or post here, and I'll get back to it so as not to add a spoiler on the blog.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Aola Vandergriff: Sisters of Sorrow

This novel was published in 1973 by little known but recommended, Aola Vandergriff. Thanks for the recommendation, Hannah!

Check this lovely cover art out-- one blond sister and one brunette. The blond has red blood like a tear running down her cheek. The estate is in the lower left hand corner. I apologize for my blurry image there. I dropped my phone, and the camera cracked. Sigh. I think you can still get the general idea of how unique this cover art is.

Twin sisters Shannon and Shelly Shelby (Try saying that one quickly twelve times!) have inherited Sorrow, a plantation handed down to them after their grandfather's death. Shelly has gone ahead but sent no word to Shannon.

Shannon, with the keen knowing that twins have, fears something has happened to Shelly. She goes to Sorrow with trepidation to find her sister. Her arrival throws the house into turmoil, and she meets a troubling group of people attached to Sorrow. Belle, her distant relative and the (old south racist) house mistress of Sorrow, warns her to leave or there will be trouble; Lutie, Belle's simple daughter, is frightening in her mysterious intensity. Annie and Thomas, black servants, warn Shannon to leave before it's too late, too. Then there is Yance Carey, a local lawyer who is advocating for change around the estate and for nearby Tullytown. Whom can Shannon trust, and it is really the ghost of Jason that she hears at night, singing? And where is Shelly?

Characterization: 5/5 [Very nicely done. I pictured Shannon as one of the Olsen twins and Shelly as the prettier one. I can never remember which is which. One would have dyed blond hair to play Shelly, and the other's hair would be brown, for the role of Shannon. Belle I pictured as a composite of Southern women I've known personally. Yance might be portrayed by Casey Affleck; I don't know why, but the character description made me think of him.]

Plot: 4/5 [This novel is unique and suspenseful. Only one thing drove me nuts: exclamation marks are overused! It's very dramatic! Drama, of course, is part of the Gothic Novel, but most authors let the drama fall into the novel through good dialogue and description, rather than bludgeoning readers with it via exclamation marks. One page honestly had more than ten of the blasted things. Otherwise, the plot moves swiftly, and I had no idea where this one was going for a long time.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 5/5 [This novel has so many creepy elements: the singing ghost (if it is a ghost), lights in the swamp, the family burial plot, spooky servants, mentally challenged child, inventive murders, flashbacks, a secret diary, winding staircases, and on and on.]

Literary elements: 4/5 [This one feels a bit fluffy, but it's a great read.]

Rating: 4+ stars   ****+

Lovers of Gothic Romance and/or Southern Gothic Novels, you won't want to miss this one. It has been a wonderful introduction to Aola Vandergriff, and I plan to seek out more of her novels.

Sisters of Sorrow

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Phyllis A. Whitney: The Winter People

This novel is one of the early ones by Whitney; it was published in 1969. I have used the image of the book cover I have, and I found the image at The Official Phyllis A. Whitney website:

Dina Blake is a museum jack of all trades when she meets Glen Chandler, a sculptor. From the moment Glen sees her, he insists upon sculpting Dina in alabaster. Their relationship develops, and they marry in a whirlwind. Dina is spirited away to Northern New Jersey. On her way to the family estate, High Towers, she runs into her old love, Trent McIntyre; his reaction to her new marriage puzzles her. Soon, she realizes that Glen has not told her everything about his family-- namely about his dark twin Glynis.

Danger and intrigue stalk Dina through the halls of High Towers. What kind of game are Glen and Glynis playing? Is Aunt Nomi friend or foe, and who can save Dina from the evil that lurks at High Towers?

Characterization: 5/5 [I loved this novel immediately, and the nicely drawn characters were a key to that reaction. I could picture Dina Blake with her Scandinavian looks. I could see Britt Eklund (in her younger years) playing her role, and Ralph Fiennes as her husband (a younger Ralph Fiennes); he has the hair color for the part! Trent McIntyre might be played by Clive Owen.]

Plot: 4/5 [The plot caught me up quickly; I really like the pace of the novel. I took one star off simply for how Dina runs into Trent McIntyre again; it seems so far fetched, but then I was thinking about how I ran into someone from my past once in the strangest place at a pivotal time. I guess it could happen.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 4/5 [The whole focus on cold, ice, white, and snow is chilling. I love the enclosed atmosphere Whitney creates; it is quite claustrophobic. The estate itself is creepy as is the obsession of Glen Chandler with Dina's image for his sculpture. Finally, Glynis is as menacing a twin and painter as you will find in literature.]

Literary elements: 5/5 [Yes, the novel is smart. Whitney uses symbolism and tone to create a true atmosphere. In other words, the novel is well written.]

Rating: 4+ stars   ****+

Don't skip this one. It is a true Gothic Romance, and the tone and atmosphere are masterful.

The Winter People

Friday, October 1, 2010

Revised Winner of Last Contest :)

Clark B./Sandy is the winner of Dragonwyck and the random Gothic Novel. The first drawn winner graciously announced that he would probably not read the books anyway, so I drew again.

Clark B./Sandy, I'm unable to email you that I know of, so please contact me by commenting or emailing me within 48 hours to claim your prize. Otherwise, I'll draw again! I really do need to give some of these Gothic Novels away to good homes (because my box is filling up!). :)

And just a note: if you are on blogger and you have a profile, be sure to activate it if you would like to be more easily contacted.

-- Lisa

New Halloween Contest

Since it's the season for haunted houses, goblins, ghouls, and such, the next contest will be a drawing for a Gothic Horror Novel-- in the vein of Rosemary's Baby, The House Next Door, Ghost Story, etc.

I'll draw two names for this one, and as usual, the novels I give away might be quite Gothicked. :) Just post a blog comment by October 15th at 12am, and you'll be entered into the drawing.
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