Gothic Interruption, Continued

So we’re talking about doing a Gothic romance seminar on Cherry Forms, reading a different book each month in a historical survey. For the purposes of this project, a Gothic romance is a novel that combines horror and romance, featuring an orphaned/isolated/innocent protagonist thrust into a dangerous and mysterious and possibly supernatural old house/wilderness with psycho-sexual overtones and at least one run through the darkness in a nightie.

The tentative list so far is:

1. Intro to Course, Mysteries of Udolpho, Radcliffe (1794)
2. Northanger Abbey, Austen (1818)
3. The Fall of the House of Usher, Poe (1839) [Link is to book of short stories that “Usher” appeared in.]
4. Jane Eyre, Bronte (1847)
5. The Turn of the Screw, James (1898)
6. The Circular Staircase, Rinehart (1908)
7. Rebecca, DuMaurier (1938)
8. Nine Coaches Waiting, Stewart (1958)
9. Mistress of Mellyn, Victoria Holt (1960)
10. [something from the 70s?]
11. Someone in the House, Michaels (1981)
12 [something from the 90s? Gaffney’s Lily was in 1996.]
13. [something from the 21st century?]

The plan is to put up a no-comment introductory post to that month’s novel here on Argh with a link to the Cherry Forums board where we’ll discuss the book in depth, thus not breaking the blog. (See The Popcorn Dialogues blog for examples of introductory posts. I mention PopD because we’re doing Ninotchka tonight at 7ET.) Everything is open for discussion. If we end up with too many titles, we’ll put up a poll and you can vote.

Discuss.

193 thoughts on “Gothic Interruption, Continued

  1. I have just taken in the fact that the actual discussions will be on the Cherry Forums board. Bummer. I once tried to join up, but I was so completely intimidated by the first page that I just whimpered and crawled away.
    Maybe just as well: Talpianna and I led a discussion of Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting on another forum a few years ago and I still have literally thousands of words on it (hers and mine) stored on the computer; goodness, there’s a lot to be said about that book. Layers within layers, subtle symmetries…
    Anyway, all the rest of you will now be SPARED such things as my detailed description of British society immediately after the War, the elaborate process of making telephone calls to another country in the 1950s, the reasons for very short courtships in the same era, and the manners expected of upper-class French small boys. Not to mention the detailed timeline of the surprisingly short time-span of the story.
    Aren’t you the lucky ones? πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

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    1. I have the same problem with the Cherry boards. You know what you describe sounds fascinating; I will definitely have to look into this Stewart woman. I must have missed something there.
      On a sidenote, how do you manage to use italics in this blog?

      To continue the Sunshine lobby for the 21st-century spot, it could be discussed in relation to Buffy, as it has a good vampire and a bad vampire, and a campaign to kill the bad one. Also, lots of baking.

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      1. You use standard html tags. I’ll demonstrate what they look like with spaces in between each symbol, because if I type them without spaces they’ll just disappear:

        Text you want to italicize

        So if you remove all of the spaces in the code part, it appears like this: Text you want to italicize. “em” stands for “emphasis” in html speak.

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        1. Oh, damn. It didn’t work! Let’s see, how can I do this? Try typing this, without spaces:

          The “less than” symbol:
          The text that you want to italicize
          The “less than” symbol
          The backslash symbol: / (usually on the question mark key on American keyboards)
          The letters “em”
          The “greater than” symbol

          See if that works for you!

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          1. Edit line three should read “The ‘greater than’ symbol.” Are you confused enough yet? πŸ™‚

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          2. Thanks Meredith!
            AgTigress explained yesterday (below), and after a few false starts I got it. Just hope I’ll remember it in future.

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    2. If I give you an email address, would you send me your thousands of words? Pleeeeease? I love that book.

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    3. I was part of that conversation too….It was so interesting to read different perspectives on this. I can personally say that I would welcome your detailed descriptions, which helped immensely put the story into proper perspective for the time it was considered contemporary.
      Honestly, Tigress, my bet is that a small request to moderators to put a direct link to the discussion on the front page would make it much easier to navigate to where you want to go.

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  2. Another Mary Stewart fan. I’ll happily read them all again. Ditto Georgette Heyer, though my memory of her gothics is that they were farces. How many farcical works do you want to include?

    For Barbara Michaels, how about Houses of Stone? It’s a modern gothic (1993) about a English professor researching an old gothic. House, vulnerable heroine, paranormal elements, all there.

    It’s got some chilling lines. This one haunted me for a while (a line of poetry from the old gothic’s author):
    “They have shut me in a house of stone … there is no victory in death – only the mute darkness…”

    And the paperback’s still in print:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061582999/ref=nosim/speculativefic051-20

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  3. People will probably boo me out of the house, but is Stephen King Gothic? But then, I can’t think of anything that had a good romance in it. In The Shining, the romance was really an integral part of the horror, I think (-:. I can’t think of anything else from the 70s, but Gothic isn’t really my playground.

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      1. King called Bag of Bones a “haunted romance”–in that case the male protagonist is isolated in a house that is haunted, trying to solve the mystery of his late wife’s death, and there is a romantic story line. But I don’t know if the romance is central to the story…

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        1. Bag of Bones is really good–still gives me nightmares, the bastard–and it is about a protagonist isolated in a big house who’s trying to protect a child, but it’s not a romance. However as Julie pointed out up thread, neither is Turn of the Screw. It is also explicit horror (well, it’s King) and it’s done brilliantly but oh, my. god. Some parts of that are burned on my brain. He’s a really, really good writer, but he’s really really good at scaring the hell out of you, not so much at romance.

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  4. I haven’t had time to read all the comments of the first Gothic post, so I don’t know if anyone has mentioned that there’re a bunch of used copies of Gaffney’s Lily for under 3,50 $ at amazon.com. Quite a number around 0.05 $. So even if Lily won’t be read here, maybe some of the Argh-people want to “rescue” those underappreaciated copies πŸ˜‰ ?

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  5. Ingrid: one can use the basic, simple coding on this site for italics, bold etc.: open angle-bracket + i + close angle-bracket to open italics, open angle-bracket + /i + close angle-bracket, to close.
    Mary Stewart’s earlier novels, in particular, are splendid. I lose interest in the later ones that go all magical and, worse still, Arthurian. She is an absolute master of the difficult first-person POV, and also a very talented descriptive writer — her vivid descriptions of landscape are magnificent. I have often used them to confront and confound those who say that they find physical descriptions of settings ‘boring’. And her heroines are brave and resourceful in a convincing and admirable way — not idiots who plunge into danger out of sheer unthinking stupidity, like far too many modern ‘feisty’ heroines, but intelligent women who do what needs to be done, even when it is difficult and dangerous.

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    1. [i]Thank you, Agtigress![/1] I hope this will work in the finished product.

      I believe I have read one or two of those Merlin novels by Mary Stuart. I got rid of them for my mother when she moved into care. I must have tried them as a teenager. They left me with the idea that Mary Stewart wasn’t much to my taste. I will definitely try to get hold of one of the older ones. Thanks!

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    2. I love the landscape descriptions in both Stewart and Elizabeth Lowell. I was thinking recently that in Lowell’s books, the locale is almost as much a character as each of the people in them. I appreciated the idea mentioned in an entry in the last blog that Lowell’s Donovan books are gothics. I hadn’t thought of them that way — mostly I guess because her heroines have definite skills and knowledge and participate so well in our modern world. I do love the fact that she is so very good at weaving in events that could really happen. And no one is TSTL.
      I look forward to coming to the forums from time to time to see what folks are saying. I have little patience with the forum interface, though, so am unlikely to participate and will no doubt have little to contribute anyway.

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  6. Oh, man, I would LOVE to see some Georgette Heyer discussed by Crusie fandom. I don’t think Cousin Kate was all that good, but how about The Reluctant Widow? Which is genius, has mystery, starts with an abandoned governess at a mysterious location in the nighttime, and (Crusie alert) there is an excellent DOG.

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  7. Reb: (I’m not clicking ‘reply’ here, because I am nervous about the nested-comments warnings). I have just over 4000 words of notes, comments and analysis of Nine Coaches Waiting, but much of it is one side of a forum conversation — replies to other people’s comments — so would probably need a lot of editing to make it into a tidy, connected text, something I don’t have time to do just now.
    If I could cope with the scary Cherry Forums initiation rites, or whatever they are, I would join in there at the appropriate time.
    The actual discussion on one of the Delphi forums took place in autumn 2007, according to the dates of the files. That would be the best place to read it, because you would get all the Tal input, and that of others. It must be there on the net somewhere, but I don’t know how to retrieve it.

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  8. I just read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which came out last year and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Amazing–my favorite Gothic since I read Rebecca in the 7th grade (which was…eighteen years ago?). It gets my vote for the 21st C book.

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    1. How did I not know that Sarah Waters wrote gothics? I knew they were Historicals, I think. Oh, the perils of running the Children’s Dept. instead of a department on the Trade Floor! Some days I feel positively ignorant about proper adult fiction.

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  9. AgTigress: totally fair enough – editing thousands of words of comments certainly wouldn’t be worth it.

    You can’t remember the forum name, by any chance? I did a quick search over on Delphi but didn’t find it. Couldn’t tell how long they keep old forums for, either.

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    1. Reb, the forum was the Lunatic Cafe for Romance Readers, and it is still going strong, though they never discuss books that I find interesting any more. The discussion was around September 2007, I think. If you can manage to get to it, you’re a better man than I! πŸ˜‰ You can search for old discussions on Delphi forums if you have an Advanced or Premium membership, or whatever they call the kind that requires a subscription. Being a cheapskate, I have the basic membership, which is free, but has some limitations, the search facility being one.

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  10. You have to register for the forums so we know you’re not a spammer. All that happens is that we check to make sure you’re a real person. I don’t know exactly what’s involved in registering, but literally thousands of people have done it, so it can’t be that difficult.

    We can’t talk about it here, that’s how we broke the blog the last time. The website isn’t designed to handle the kinds of multi-topic discussions we get into on one post at the level of traffic a book club would generate. It was the number of posts we generates combined with the multiple levels as we tried to reply to the person who talked about a particular topic that took us down the last time.

    The forums, on the other hand, were designed for exactly that, can pretty much bear anything we throw at it, will give us our own thread with multiple topics, and are much easier to navigate and search. It really is a no-brainer to do a book club there. Plus they’ve still got the old cherry-and-striped-wallpaper so they’re pretty (g).

    If anybody has problems registering, let me know and I’ll get you help. The mods over there are amazing, and they can fix anything.

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    1. Jenny, please don’t worry about the Cherry Forums thing — I understand why it is necessary to have people register, and I’m sure I could actually do so without difficulty — I have registered for many other discussion boards. It’s just that, having been a good girl and read the FAQ page first, I was terrified that I’d break one of those many daunting rules unconsciously almost at once, and be drummed out, ignominiously. They look the way I imagine the rules might look for becoming a Freemason, including some things that I literally do not understand. So I gave up. This was long ago, but I had a quick glance yesterday, and the FAQs still look just as fearsome.
      πŸ™‚

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      1. The FAQs are long and detailed, but they’re pretty simple:

        Jenny’s Cheat Sheet for the Forum FAQs:
        1. No signature lines. This is a pet peeve of mine because I do not want to read the same damn quote every time somebody posts. Plus it garbages up the discussion because you keep reading the sig lines as part of the post.
        2. If you want to use a Cherry name, please check to make sure nobody else is using it first. If you don’t want to use a Cherry name, no problem.
        3. Don’t post any original material here because we’re not going to be responsible if it gets ripped off. No, you can’t volunteer to be ripped off.
        4. Don’t forward anything anybody else says here. They said it here because they wanted it here, not there.
        5. At the top of each forum are guidelines. For example, the writing forum guidelines are:

        What kind of information can be posted here?
        Anything on the craft and process of writing. Everyday concerns of writers should be in Writing Life, publishing discussion is over on the Publishing Forum; this is for nuts and bolts of writing only.

        Why do I have to register for this board?
        Because people will be sharing details of their work, and we like to know who’s here for that.

        Can we post scenes here?
        No. We have no way of controlling who reads your scene, plus the bulletin board format is not really suited to critiquing long scenes. We suggest you find or form an internet critique group elsewhere for that.

        What’s off limits for discussion?
        Criticizing the author instead of the work. Saying, “Boy she really phoned this one in” instead of “I think her pacing lagged in the middle” is bad.

        6. Please title the new topic you start so people can tell what it is.
        7, Please stay on that topic so the people who go to that topic to read about that topic don’t have to wade through another topic. You want a new topic, just start a new topic.
        8. Don’t quote huge chunks of text if just a line will do.
        9. “be kind, polite, and open-minded.”
        10. If you have any questions, ask the mods and they’ll take care of it.
        11. If you have questions about Jenny, go to her website. (I asked to have that one put in there because I wanted the forums to be about discussing thing, not me.
        12. Requests for changes in policy and features can be made in the Comments and Questions section.
        13. Be nice.

        Conduct Unbecoming a Cherry:
        Do not spam, solicit or self-promote to our members.
        Do not post extended quotes from copyrighted works. If you don’t own the copyright for something, you do not have the right to post it.
        Do not insult or attack anyone (members or not) in CherryForums. If you see this happening, report the post (use the link in the post) to the mods immediately.
        Do not post jokes or comments that are offensive, divisive, or hurtful (racist, sexist, homophobic, condemnation of lifestyle, etc. In the same vein, avoid sharing intimate details of your personal life. Remember that CherryForums is open to the entire planet and anything posted here could come back to haunt you.

        14. Play nice.

        Violations: A first and second offense will get you your post edited by a mod and a notice PM/email letting you know of your violations. A third offense will get your membership deleted and your IP banned from CherryForums. So let’s just not go there, ok?

        15. Be nice to the mods.

        Just to give you an idea of why the mods rule, we get around fifty requests for admission to the forums a day. All but one or two are spam. Molly Hasselhorst wades through all of them. Jill Purinton watches over the JCF list. There’s a reason why both the lists and the forums are a safe place to be and it’s Jill and Molly and the rest of the mods. Which is why I love them.

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  11. Too bad the 60’s and 70’s are full because I was a huge fan of Elsie Lee. I especially liked her heroines who didn’t wait for the hero to rescue them…..they rescued themselves! Mostly. πŸ™‚

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    1. I was wrong, you have room in the 70’s! Okay, Wingarden by Elsie Lee. For me her best stuff was in the 60’s but this will work. And I want the Nine Coaches waiting stuff too. I started with the Ivy Tree and tore through the rest of her books when I found them. Oh man, thanks! I have my summer reading list now.

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    2. Whoever mentioned Elsie Lee in the first comment thread also mentioned cats. Elsie Lee can write excellent cat. In The Nabob’s Widow the two Siamese perform doughty feats of diplomacy to chivy the widow’s household into the hero’s on a permanent basis.

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  12. I would like to shout a reccamendation for Sandra Schwab’s Castle of the Wolfe. It meets the criteria listed, was published in 2007, and is an absolutely marvelous book! I read it and instantly bought her backlist.

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  13. A big Hell No to Twilight. With an afterthought of, “Bitch, please.” towards Meyer. Also, I loathe Wuthering Heights, so much so that the title of my paper for my 18th and 19th century novelists tutorial at Oxford was “Give Me a Hero in Wuthering Heights.” Unless they’re using Monty Pythons’ semaphore flags on the moors, H&C are up there with Twilight for the worst h/h. More to the point, though, not so much gothic. Jane Eyre, while immensely boring in the middle, is much more gothic. Also, I vote for Silent in the Grave, b/c I haven’t read it but have it in my epub file from Harlequin’s free giveaways last year. I hope Mary Stewart makes it to the list. Lowell’s Donovan series is an interesting idea (I liked Jade Island a lot), but I’ve read all four of them and don’t see them as gothic.

    LOVE this idea. Never really been in a gothic frame of mind, so a lot of these will be new to me.

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    1. WH has a hero and heroine, two sets of them. And a fabulous Gothic doppelganger plot. TSK. But we’re doing Jane. She’s really important in the Gothic tradition.

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      1. I’m no WH fan, but I triple-love the 90’s adaptation starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche (who made both Catherines actually sympathizable to me)

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    2. Deanna Raybourn is wonderful, but I’m not sure the Silent in the Grave series is exactly gothic. I’d call it historical mystery. Perhaps romantic suspense. It’s got more a Conan Doyle feel, to me. Perhaps I’m not recalling the Gothic elements… That lovely Brisbane though. He sticks in the mind :D.

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      1. Yeah, I think that’s why so many of us are touting “The Dead Travel Fast.” It’s a real gothic and it’s really good. If it comes to a vote between McKinley’s Sunshine and The Dead Travel Fast, well, I adore Sunshine with all my heart, but I think it’s going down. The Dead Travel Fast is just so good and so truly Gothic, while Sunshine, I feel, is really an Urban Fantasy that owes an great debt to the Gothic traditions. But don’t take my word for it– go and read them both!

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  14. Charlaine Harris’s mystery novel _The Julius House_ (1995) is a Gothic: main character’s mysterious new husband buys her a house from which an entire family disappeared without a trace, six years ago, and installs two of his employees in the garage apartment to . . . help her? keep an eye on her? What happened to the family, and can she trust her new husband?

    It’s fourth in a series but I think it stands alone fine, and has a great Southern small-town setting.

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    1. What about the “Dead Until Dark” by Charlaine Harris (came out in 2001)? Very naive protagonist gets thrust into the world vampires and homicide. She’s a virgin who falls in love with a vampire, and I do believe there might be some running around in a nightie, but I may be wrong. It’s been a while since I’ve read it.

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        1. She lived in a house with her grandmother, next to a cemetery. Then lives in the house alone after her grandmother’s murdered.

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        2. I mean, I can give you a good description of it, but I don’t want to do it here as I’m worried about how much I’d be revealing to argue it.

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          1. This is fabulous. I want to sit down and argue subgenres like I used to in college when I was writing essays on the subject. I don’t think I’d realized exactly how many conventions and tropes Urban Fantasy had assimilated from the Gothic tradition. But sorry, I really feel all of Charlaine Harris falls either under Mystery or Urban Fantasy. I’m still hammering out why, though.

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        3. Oh, yes, that one does actually work. Her house is definitely isolated (it’s rural upstate Louisiana), and there’s even a chase through the woods. No nightgown, though it was the middle of the night.

          And you’re never quite sure whether the guy she likes is a good guy or not (my own internal definition of a gothic) until the end.

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          1. Okay, then lets call it Gothic Fantasy. Don’t you think? Instead of just Gothic. Am I splitting too many hairs? If you can think of a nice way to tell me to shut up and sit down, feel free.

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  15. OK, I had a crazy idea last night: Sarah Caudwell’s The Sirens Sang of Murder. More of a spoof really, but it does have the elements:

    1. Combines horror and romance: Check. Not exactly your orthodox romance, but it’s there.
    2. Featuring an orphaned/isolated/innocent protagonist: well, it’s Cantrip, but he’s definitely isolated.
    3. Thrust into a dangerous and mysterious and possibly supernatural old house/wilderness: The Channel Islands, and the dangerous and mysterious world of international tax planning.
    4. With psycho-sexual overtones: Oh yes.
    5. And at least one run through the darkness in a nightie: Check.

    1989. Could it make it into the 90s on a bye?

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  16. It looks like you have a fair lot of historical examples, but I’d like to submit Louisa May Alcott – she wrote many gothics (often using a psuedonym A.M. Barnard). A Long Fatal Love Chase was written in the 19th century, but not published until 1995.

    I prefer Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights … but then I was lucky enough to have a college professor who taught Jane in an interesting way (her take was that Jane is as much a satire as NOrthanger Abbey is). Plus if you have Jane on the list, you could also include Wide Sargasso Sea (1966).

    For a 21st century book, what about The Historian?

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    1. Oooh! I think I may have seen a movie version of Sargasso Sea years ago. I’d love to read that.

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    2. I was at lunch with a bunch of librarians today and one mentioned she’s suppose to read The Historian for a book club. The 2 librarians across from her both immediately reacted to the news with exact opposite and equally passionate results. “ooh! I loved it!” & “Ohh, that was a pile of crap.” The one who loved did concede the ending was unsatisfactory. When asked, the reason for the love was a passion for the history in the book.

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    3. reading The Historian, my suspension of disbelief started fraying around the edges when I started looking at the page count and calculating just how much paper the character who was writing all these letters must have been dragging around eastern Europe. For MONTHS. On the run. I love epistolary novels but you have to convince me they’re reasonable, y’know?

      (And I agree, not really a romance.)

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  17. I love the idea of including Sarah Caudwell. Don’t think it would fly, but I love the idea. (The tone in the first three books doesn’t really fit, but perhaps The Sibyl in her Grave might work?)

    Thumbs up to Michael’s Witch, thumbs down on Castle Rackrent

    [Should I mention the typo in the first sentence of the post or should I be nice and discreet?]

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    1. @ EL — you are right; I was making assumptions again. My apologies.

      SIHG makes me sad too, but I still think it would be a better fit for a goth romance. Even the romance interest — a handsome, enigmatic stranger who you don’t know if you can trust or not until the last chapter.

      I loved Sirens, especially when Julia and Cantrip’s grandfather land on a beach in proper evening attire, or when Cantrip gets ahold of the Telex machine, or where… anyway, loved it. Just not sure if it fits here. Will ponder.

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    2. This is all true! And I have to admit, the romance elements in Sirens are not terribly strong compared to Sibyl, which might disqualify it. OTOH, Sirens is also an interesting metatextual look at conventions in fiction. (Julia and Cantrip’s book, the historical novel Cantrip starts reading on Sark which DEFINITELY sounds Gothic, Julia’s complaint about terribly old-fashioned clues, literary conventions as guides to behaviour…)

      However, I freely admit it’s a rather frivolous suggestion. πŸ˜‰

      (Hope this posts in the right place. And no need to apologize!)

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  18. Actually, SIHG is really an anti-Gothic. Caudwell takes the mysterious house, the cryptic ‘mad’ woman, the dopey heroine running around in a nightgown, and turns expectations upside-down by the end.

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    1. My favorite was Thus was Adonis Murdered and if we use the term romance very loosely it might describe Julia’s affections.

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  19. Oh, Sarah Caudwell. πŸ™‚ I would love a good excuse to re-read her novels, and to explain the British things that American readers don’t always ‘get’ or notice! Like the casual, traditional Oxford arrogance: ‘By whom, Cantrip? Or, as they say in Cambridge, who by?’
    But I don’t really think she fits in this list. Alas. πŸ˜€

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    1. Now that I think of it, that book even has a romance in it. Forgot about that.

      She does have an understated way of expressing things.
      “I was under the impression,” I said, “that the Church nowadays no longer believed in hell.”
      “We no longer believe in it as a geographical place, like Paris or Los Angeles. Not, of course, that one ever thought that it would be anything like Paris.”

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  20. What a great idea! I’m in, too. I’ve read a lot of the titles already mentioned, but have never be a fan of the Bronte sisters. Maybe this book club will change my mind. I’d better go hunting for my log-in and password for the Cherry Forums!

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  21. You know — I’m wondering if there are any modern gothic romance novels. There are “Southern Gothic” and urban fantasy, but I’m wondering if people just aren’t writing them currently. I don’t know if I’d buy into the premise.
    Someone (Meridith B perhaps) asked if she was the only one with no opinion on Twighlight and I have no opinion either. I haven’t read it, but will if needed, although I think there was a strong agrument that it didn’t fit the bill. I also haven’t read the book that every other girl in junior high read <Flowers in the Attic. I don’t think, from my understanding of the two surreptitious chapters that were passed around at lunch, that it fits the bill. But it makes me wonder if anyone really could write a convincing book today and have our popular culture suspend it’s disbelief enough to care about the characters.

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    1. I just wrote Maybe This Time. That’s a Gothic. No we’re not going to do it as part of the course, that would be self-serving.
      I’m keeping track of all the modern suggestions and I’ll go through them later and see what we’ve got. I think the majority here have said Twilight isn’t a Gothic, and I’m inclined to agree.
      It may be that we’ll have to have a glut in the 60s/70s since that’s when they were most popular, but I’d like to try to find some modern Gothics first.

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    2. It’s okay that Maybe This Time doesn’t make the list. We’re all going to read it anyway & then gush about it here.

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  22. Of course, now that I’ve typed that, I bought into Maybe This Time. But I never thought of Andie as helpless, which is probably my mistaken impression of the genre. I will be interested to explore this.

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    1. Should read all the comments before I answer. Sorry about that.
      Maybe This Time was structured as a Gothic so it was a deliberate homage. I don’t think the heroine needs to be helpless but she needs to be isolated and seriously threatened by an antagonist who is stronger than she is, not just a little nervous about being alone in the dark.

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  23. Ok — another question. Is Turn of the Screw a romance? I haven’t read it, but didn’t think it was.

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    1. It’s a Gothic, not a Gothic romance. We can take it off the list; I put it on there because it’s like Jane Eyre, a classic Gothic, and because it’s had a significant impact on the genre. Also, it has some really interesting things going on with the Gothic heroine that I think are really useful to explore if you want to write modern Gothics. But I’m open to booting it from the list if something better comes along.

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  24. Marlys Millhiser’s Nightmare Country. My personal favorite of hers. Not sure if it is totally Gothic, but there is the spooky house in Iron Mountain and the flowers! Saddly out of print, but worth a read.

    Personal vote for the Historian – no. One of the few books I’ve never been able to finish.

    However, Sunshine just made it to the top of my reading pile. Beauty by McKinley is also wonderful and slightly gothic.

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  25. We are sorry for the registration difficulties some of you are having. If you have any questions you can contact us (Molly) using the contact link of the front page of the Forums. The Gothic discussions will be in a thread of their own and be easy to spot. We would really, really appreciate Argh Peoples’ input.

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    1. No, no — it’s not a registration difficulty, as such. It is simply (in my case) apprehension that the rules are so strict and so complex and even obscure (e.g. what does ‘original material’ mean? Everything one says in a conversation on an internet site is one’s own ‘original material’, surely?) that I’d probably unintentionally fall foul of them almost immediately and be thrown out on my ear. At the very least, I’d almost certain wander off-topic sooner or later, and be smacked down.
      πŸ™‚

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      1. As the FAQs state,original material means “this includes but is not limited to essays, fictions and poems.” It does not mean your posts. Also, as clearly stated in the FAQs, you get two warnings which I can assure you are polite before you’re thrown out on your ear.

        I’m arguing this not because I think you should join–that’s entirely your prerogative of course–but because of the implication that the guidelines are arcane and prohibitive. You can sum them all up as “Be kind and considerate to others and don’t put your stuff up for critique.” They’re specific as to what we mean by “kind and considerate” so nobody asks “What does that mean?” but basically not spamming, not inflicting your sig lines on others, not posting racist or homophobic comments, not making personal attacks . . . somehow I don’t see any of those as particularly strict nor do I see them cramping your style since you’d never do any of them anyway.

        But I realize that a structured place like the Forums is not for everybody. The structure keeps it safe and moving smoothly and I think it’s not only good but necessary. But you’re right, it’s not a free-for-all over there. So I understand that you’re not going over, no problem at all.

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        1. I can assure you that we do not smack down. We have this bitch hat though….. πŸ˜‰ The FAQs are RMOG (really more of a guide line) and are to insure the privacy of our posters. That is our first concern. But the Forums are not for everyone. And that is very much ok.

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          1. Well actually, you do. Though doubtless with the best intentions.

            Frex, one of the rules is that you never, I mean never, I mean not even if someone’s holding a gun to your puppy, never sign your name after a comment. Fine. But if someone accidentally signs their name, sees the error immediately and goes into the comment to edit it, they will not be able to click the Submit button to fix the error before getting a personally directed email from a moderator chiding them for not reading the rules before commenting.

            Just saying you might want to institute a 30-second rule for people to self- moderate.

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          2. Well, maybe I made my faux pas on the day they were serving espresso in the Mod Squad break room. And yes, I know it’s an unpaid, unsung job. I don’t want to be uber-bitchy.
            Even so.
            All I’m saying is that:
            as a rule
            it would be cool
            to let the fool
            have 30 seconds to unspool
            any mistakes
            before calling her a tool.

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          3. AH HA! i’m not the only one.
            Of course I’m reading from the dashboard so I’m not seeing the nesting.
            Definitely time for a new post.

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  26. Sorry if I’m parroting someone else – I haven’t had a chance to read the comments. Does a spirited, intelligent, not-so-innocent female lead rule out the gothic tag? Is humor acceptable? If it doesn’t (and if it is) why not Maybe This Time? It’s perfect. and without going into detail, it has everything. And it’s wonderful. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, and I know everyone can’t vote on it yet, but I’m positive they would if they could. I still like Footsteps, too, for the thirties. If only it was coming out as a pb re-print. I got it out to check a few things and re-discovered Michael’s declaration of love: “Margaret-I can’t tell you what I think of your pluck, and your sportsmanship.” First kiss follows. And then the brother-in-laws reaction: “Don’t marry him, Margaret. We can’t have a policeman in the family. What about our wireless license? He’s bound to find out it’s expired.”. Georgette Heyer books are so much fun.

    Pluck is a great word. The noun, I mean.

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    1. I think we cross-posted, Marly. I didn’t put Maybe This Time on here because it’s self-serving–“And then we’ll read MY book”–but we can slate that for the thirteenth book if you want. It’ll be out in paperback by then and probably crowding used bookstores throughout the country so I won’t feel so much like I’m exploiting you. However, we’re doing a Cherry Forums Book Club on it the week of September 15th, so it might be redundant. Or it might be that there’s more to talk about Gothics by the time we get to the end of a list a year later and we want to do it.

      I think I’ll end up putting a list of modern Gothics in a poll and letting you all vote, so keep nominating so I’ll have a list to look into. I love Heyer, so re-reading some of those to see if they’ll work would be a nice break for me.

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      1. I understand that you’d see it as self-serving, but that never occurred to me. Of course, I’m not a published author. Yet. So, yes please, at the very least, put it down for the thirteenth book. It’s ironic, though. Maybe This Time is the one book I’m almost certain every Cherry and every Argh person will have in hardback. And really, it does have everything.

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        1. Well, I for one am on a strictly paperback budget. Paperbacks come expensive enough when you consider the markup we have to pay for American books in Europe.

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          1. The first of these are all free on the net, so that’s something. A lot of them may be in your library; I think libraries keep the Stewarts and Holts around forever. And a lot of them should be available used online.

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    2. I like Footsteps in the Dark, too, and I should say it qualifies as Gothic. It was the first of her 12 contemporary detective stories (1932) , and her last was published in 1953 (Detection Unlimited). Although some of them are a bit weak, they are all worthy of being better known.
      I think that a strong and competent heroine is fine in a Gothic: if not, we’d have to drop Stewart’s Nine Coaches, because Linda is nothing if not competent!

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      1. I’m not sure how “helpless” ever got into the discussion. Jane Eyre’s a tough broad, too, and the governess in The Turn of the Screw may be crazy, but she’s not weak. I think the Gothic heroine is isolated and is up against an overwhelming antagonist with no support, but I never thought any of them were helpless.

        And now I get to reread Footsteps in the Dark. God, I love Heyer.

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      2. I think I put in “helpless” — but you’re right — that’s not part of the genre, really. Sorry.

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  27. Very interested in an excuse to read more Mary Stewart. My mom apparently read all her books when they first came out and I’ve loved the ones I’ve come across.

    Adding to the request for no Twilight. I just…I tried to read it, I did. I then wanted to slap the heroine in her face so much I couldn’t get more than a chapter in. I understand some people love her and more power to them, it’s not my style/taste so if you do it I’ll drop out that week.

    Question on the gothics, would it be possible to include some sort of note about how terrifying they are? McKinley’s Beauty, Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and Fall of the House of Usher didn’t give me nightmares, but after Maybe This Time I had to keep my cat on the bed with treats because I was terrified of being alone and would wake up in a panic if I got chilled. Or maybe I’m just weirdly wimpy?

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    1. Ooooooh, I made your flesh creep. YAY! I figured that was the part I blew, not being a horror writer by nature. Thank you! Oh, and uh, sorry.
      Udolpho I’ve never read, so I don’t know. Northanger Abbey is funny. House of Usher is creepy but I’ve read it so many times that I’m not a good judge. Turn of the Screw is like Maybe This Time, ghosts that pop up at odd moments. The Circular Staircase is more funny than scary. Rebecca is sad, Heyer is usually funny not scary, Nine Coaches Waiting is romantic, Michaels can always make your flesh creep. Holt always left me cold so ask somebody else. Gaffney said “Not Lily” so that’s off the list. Bag of Bones would put you in therapy.
      We should develop a rating system. One skull for “not terrifying at all,” five skulls for “you’ll never sleep again.”

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      1. Oh, please, please, please can there be a rating system? I would love to participate in this, but am incredibly wimpy, and had decided I would have to skip it. Books that creep me out can ruin my life for weeks. My nightmares are really vivid, in brilliant color, and when they wake me they pick right up again where they left off when I fall back asleep. I don’t function well without sleep.

        Northanger Abbey was great, Jane Eyre kept me up for days, House of Usher trashed me for a week (during finals in college, no less). I only lost one night to Maybe This Time, and it was totally worth it. McKinley’s Beauty was one of my favorites as a kid, and I still find it charming.

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        1. The MOVIE of Jane Eyre (on TV when I was about 8) gave me ten years of nightmares. I got really good at leaping into the bed from way back so that the madwoman no longer in the attic wouldn’t grab my ankles.

          I find the book annoying, but that’s just me.

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        2. OK don’t know what happened there but I saw the movie at 8. Though now that I remember the movie and nightmares, the smiley faces are looking kind of creepy. Maybe this is a reading festival I should not participate in.

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      1. Does Michaels=Elizabeth Peters under a different name?

        And thank you for suggesting a skull system. Was worried about seeming too wimpy! I can also read the borderline ones in bright daylight with my cat so as to lessen the creep factor.

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    2. Robin McKinley’s Beauty is one of my all-time favorites. Not a gothic, which is too bad because I’d love to share it!

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    3. Bethany – yep – Barbara Mertz was an archeologist turned author. She has written articles in her field under that name. She wrote gothic romances & creepish books as Barbara Michaels. She wrote cozy mysteries and lighter gothic romances as Elizabeth Peters. My take would be Peters was light and funny and a bit cheezy. Michaels is darker and creepier.

      As Peters, she has a few standalone books & 3 series. The Ameila Peabody series is the most popular and has 20+? books in it. Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first one. Vicki Bliss is the next heroine and has about 5 books in that series and the 3rd heroine is Jacqueline Kirby (a librarian) only 4 books in that series but the 3rd book in the series Die for Love is an awesome cozy mystery that takes place at a romance convention. Hilarious. Search Google or whatever search engine for the full bibliography.

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  28. I second the recommendation of “The Forgotten Garden” for the 21st century. It’s a very good modern Gothic.
    AgTigress, I’m one of those readers who dislikes physical descriptions of settings. I find them boring. Although I like Stewart’s books, I always skip the descriptive passages.
    I’m with you on the Cherry Forums, though. Even Jenny’s cheat sheet made me cringe.

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    1. Holly, you say, ‘I’m one of those readers who dislikes physical descriptions of settings. I find them boring. Although I like Stewart’s books, I always skip the descriptive passages’.
      That’s so sad! But it says a lot for Stewart that you still like her books.
      Because I see everything happening, as though I am an onlooker, watching a stage, when I read, I really appreciate good visual description, because then I know I am seeing the same thing the author did, sharing her vision. Otherwise I have to make up the pictures. Not difficult, but then it may be that what I see is not what the writer saw.

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  29. I liked Phyllis Whitney, and everything by Mary Stewart. Elizabeth Peters (now famous for her Egyptology mysteries) wrote some great gothics, back in the 80’s, maybe?

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      1. Please keep Jane Eyre, unlike Cathy & Heathrow, it was entertaining and while she loved Mr. Rochester, she left and kept to her convictions. As for Cathy & Heathrow, oh please! They give romance a bad name and OCD a good one.

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  30. Here’s another vote for the “Forgotten Garden” also what about the “House on Tradd Street” by Karen White [my last name isn’t White, so I’m not promoting my own product.]

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  31. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley. Not gothic enough?
    If you ever do farces, Georgett Heyers’ “The Masqueraders” has it all. Cross dressing, disguises, duels, missing heirs, masked balls, highwaymen, love at first sight.

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  32. Such great titles–and what a wonderful idea. And thanks for suggesting LILY, Jenny, but there are just too many fabulous, classic titles to keep it on the list, imo. Has anybody mentioned WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE? Not sure if you’d call that Gothic or not…Anyway–everybody go out and buy LILY, buy several in fact, but I don’t think it should be on this cool reading list.

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    1. I did. It got shot down and I didn’t fight for it because it’s Gothic but not a romance (I mean, Cousin Charles? Really?).

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  33. Many of Anne Stuart’s gothics are available as ebooks through eHarlequin.com. Night of the Phantom (1991) is part of an anthology called Anne Stuart’s Out of Print Gems; Still Lake (200?) and Shadows at Sunset (200?) are also there. Silver Falls came out in the last year or so and is still available. I find her dark writing very interesting, and would like to see how it stacks up to the rest of the genre.

    I’m all for Stewart, though I’ve only read two of her books. I don’t really care which one, though I’d prefer to read something other than Nine Coaches because I’ve already participated in a book discussion on it and would like to do something with one of her other books. I could go either way on Jane Eyre- I remember Wuthering Heights feeling much more gothic. The rest I have never read, so I will look forward to new reading material!

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  34. I live in a non-English speaking country, so I have always had trouble finding popular literature in English. Though life has become a lot easier with internet bookshops.
    The selection in my local library is not bad, but for instance your books, Jenny, are only available in translation. So because I cannot borrow most books from the library and I read a lot, I restrict myself to paperbacks. I try and look on waiting for the paperback version of books I want as a delayed treat.
    I was merely replying to Marly’s observation that all posters would have Maybe this time in hardback.
    I will doubtless skip some books. I’ve read The mysteries of Udolpho, Jane Eyre and Wuthering heights once, and I’m not going to do it again. I find the BrontΓ« sisters overrated. Wuthering heights with all those narrators is a special bugbear of mine.

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  35. Sorry Ingrid, I forgot the additional cost of books overseas. I use our library’s online hold system constantly, but will admit we’ve eaten our share of Ramen noodles when something’s come out I should have waited on but didn’t. I rarely buy hardbacks even here in the states, though, and then it has to be an author I love. That’s when I cave. But if I was in Europe or Asia? Ouch. Speaking of libraries, God bless their $.25 table. I’ve gotten all my Heyer books there and today over lunch I found a 2000 copy of Anne Stuart’s Wild Thing. It was a huge score.

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  36. I just finished reading Cousin Kate by G. Heyer. It was a wonderful Gothic novel. When Kate is talking to her cousin and he puts his hands on her throat-the reader becomes VERY afraid for her. Then later in the book, the reader realizes that there is another evil person in the house who can do much more damage to this young girl. I am looking forward to this discussion of Gothic novels!

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  37. Silent in the Grave by Raybourn has Gothic-ish feel but I don’t think it is a Gothic. The heroine isn’t isolated or innocent, she has scads of family around and it’s set in London. The others in the Silent series move to more gothic locations but I still wouldn’t have called them gothic. Not that they aren’t great books. The Dead Travel Fast though, has the isolated heroine/isolated setting/more mysterious hero and is definitely gothic. It feels different to the Silent books.

    Twilight isn’t gothic, it’s just gloomy UF ; ). Sunshine isn’t gothic either. Heroine isn’t innocent, she again has a big supportive community around her and the hero doesn’t fit the bill. For me a gothic hero is one you really don’t know is going to kiss the heroine or kill her for quite a long way into the book if not until nearly the end? Or is that just me?

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  38. I’m sorry prostrate that Jenny thinks doing Maybe This Time would be self-serving. It would be so helpful to do MTT along with Turn of the Screw. Can’t we do that? Please? Please? Pretty please? How often do we get a chance like this, to discuss the inspiration and the creation with the author? That’s gotta be worth a little guilt.

    Would Frankenstein be an appropriate inclusion? I’ve not read it and always meant to. Are the “gothics” all supposed to be romantic?

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    1. All Gothics are not supposed to be romance, but we’re doing Gothic Romance so . . .
      Im not sure MTT will be out in pb by the time we get there, and I’m not asking anybody to buy a hardcover. That would be exploitive.

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      1. Oh, for goodness sake, please do. One of the reasons so many libraries are dealing with funding cuts is that circulation is down. If the bookseller is begging you to use the library, then you know the situation is bad.

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  39. Overseas readers, have you tried http://www.addall.com/used and out of print. They have tons of books and sellers in different countries. I have bought old Edgar Jepson books {1920s] from all over and the shipping charges are reasonable.
    AgTigress I too have looked at the cherry forum and sighed, not for me, my computer skills are kindergarten level. Honest

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  40. Ah, come on, MTT as book thirteen. How scary are some of the books? Will there be a rating of the book before hand? Five skulls as the scariest? Some of the comments are making me twitchy, better not read late at night, all alone in the house, with just a candle burning for light.

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  41. I think someone already suggested The Reluctant Widow; I think it’s the most gothic of Heyer because it has House, Night journeys and Romance, but it also punctures a lot of Gothic memes. Is it Cousin Kate where Our Heroine is intended as a bride for the mercurial heir; that has House, Night frights and Romance but I don’t like it as much.

    There is a vast amount of 21st C supernatural where supernatural is just normal. I don’t think Mckinley’s Sunlight counts as Gothic though it is a beautiful book. But it counts as much/more than Twighlight which was put on this plane only so that we can snark at it. So much with the snarking. Twighlight snark 101: http://cleoland.pbworks.com/Twilight

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  42. Another vote against Twilight, here. I read about 7 pages and threw it against the wall. Just can’t figure out what the big deal is. I think the book throwing made my niece realize that if you don’t like a book you don’t have to finish it. She was 14 at the time and finished every book she starts and if it is a series she finishes the series even if she doesn’t like it. I explained there are so many good books out there that you don’t want to waste your time reading crap. What I really hate is that I wasted my money on it, I certainly wasn’t wasting my time, too.
    Loved reading Stewart and Michaels when I was her age-need to get her on it now.

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  43. Re AgTigress and Co’s Nine Coaches Waiting discussion. (I’m not using the reply function either – don’t want to be the one who breaks the blog!)

    I suspect I’m starting to sound like a crazed fan here, but I found it. It’s discussion number 1392.

    Instructions (sorry, it’s not that straightforward):
    1. Register at http://www.delphiforums.com. Free is fine.
    2. Click on the Message Boards tab towards the top.
    3. Search for “Lunatic Cafe for Romance Readers” in the search box on the top left. That brings up one result. Click on it. That brings up that Forum.
    4. Click on the Messages tab towards the top left, then “Advanced Search”.
    5. In “Or, search for a message by its number”, search for 1392.68. That takes you to the last message of the discussion.
    6. Near the bottom there’s a “Navigate this discussion” section. Use that to go to the first page of the discussion.

    If you don’t start by going to the end of the discussion, you don’t get the navigation links so finding later posts is a pain. Or anyway, it was on my system. I’m using the Konqueror browser on a Linux PC, so it may be different on Internet Explorer.

    I haven’t read it yet, that’s a treat for tomorrow when I’ll have time.

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  44. Jenny I know it pained you, but I for one am very glad that you are including a Victoria Holt. If being “popular” fiction is criteria it definitely should be there. Looking forward to Uldolfo, it seems like as often as it has been mentioned over the years it would have been required reading somewhere, but never was. This is a great idea and I am glad you are willing to take on another project of this magnitute with everything else you have going on!

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  45. You probably don’t need any more 1980s titles, but may I throw one more into the pot? Linda Barlow, Midnight Rambler, published as a Silhouette ‘Desire’ title in 1987. Definitely Gothic, with vampire undertones (hero is a dark, tortured, computer-genius recluse who lives in a dark mansion and is never seen by daylight…).

    πŸ™‚

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    1. Ag, the chances of us finding enough copies of an ’87 Silhouette Desire are slim to none. It pretty much stlll has to be in print.

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  46. (Off-topic again — see, I’d be thrown out for this elsewhere! — I forgot when explaining the procedure for bold, italic, etc., that British and American terminology for brackets differs: British English ( ) = round brackets; [ ] = square brackets; { } = curly brackets; = angle brackets). The last ones we would only call ‘more than/ less than’ in a strictly mathematical context.

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    1. No angle brackets – that’s because the angle brackets are used to go around HTML (the language that is used for formatting these here web pages). Examples – replace the [] with the corresponding angle versions.
      [b]bold[/b] gives you bold. [i]italic[/i] gives you italic

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  47. Thanks, AgTigress, I looked angle brackets up on Wikipedia. I’m fluent in English, but some terminology just never came my way, having been educated in another language.

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  48. I’m also in favor of a rating system about terror level. Also rating for graphic violence would be a good thing.

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  49. I may be way off base about Gothic Romances, so I apologize now. What about Amanda Ashley’s books for the 21st century? I was thinking her “Dead Perfect” book in particular.

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  50. I think I’m figuring it out. A book moves from Gothic to Urban Fantasy if there is too much world building in it. That’s the easy one– for me, anyway, that seems clear.

    But what’s harder for me is differentiating between a Mystery and a Gothic, because the protagonist usually is investigating a mysterious character or event to some extent in most Gothic novels. I can’t decide if the difference is the amount of time that’s devoted to solving the mystery, or if the difference is in a logical approach to the mystery, or the setting, or what. Can I get some help with this?

    And one more question: is it possible for a Gothic to be set in today’s society, or must it necessarily be set in the past? I’ve recently reconsidered this because I realized that Austen’s and the Brontes’s novels were set in the present or the recent past, to the author. They weren’t Historicals.

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    1. PS Just realized, Of course they can be contemporary: hence Someone in the House. So I now I need to go figure out what the difference is between Someone in the House and The Julius House.

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      1. Someone in the House isn’t contemporary, it’s 1981. Thirty years ago. No cellphones. No internet (in most places).
        Contemporary would have to be 21st c.

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          1. Possibly. Thirty years ago is not contemporary, as in, “current now.” Do you remember Farrah hair? It just seems contemporary because it was yesterday for some of us.

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    2. The Gothic story at base is about an endangered, isolated innocent who is trapped (one way or another) in a big house/building/whatever and menaced by powerful forces sometimes supernatural and almost always patriarchal. There’s often a child involved. The Gothic Romance is, oddly enough, more a Gothic Women’s Fiction; that is, it’s more about the heroine’s evolution into a mature woman that it is about the pair bond. If she’s strong and she matures, she gets the guy and the house.

      A mystery, on the other hand, wants to know whodunnit. A crime has been committed, usually murder, and for social justice to be restored, the murderer must be caught and punished. The protag is the person who tracks and brings the murderer to justice.

      So one is about a woman’s journey and the other is about reaffirmation of social justice. And obviously those are gross generalizations.

      The probelm with setting a Gothic in today’s society is that it’s damn hard to isolate anybody with the cellphones and the internet and the good roads and the overpopulation. I finall set MTT in 1992 which was pretty much pre-cellphone, and I put her in southeastern Ohio which has huge areas of nothing but wilderness. Even so, people kept showing up. So I think the problem is more with the isolation than the menacing. God knows, women get menaced in our society all the time.

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  51. @Meredith B.: The Julius House isn’t a romance because she is already married. It definitely has the gothic elements mentioned, but it’s more a mystery, I think, because she does have plenty of access to town and her mom and stuff. The series is a bit gothic-y in ways: meet a man and fall madly in love; marry him without knowing a lot about him; those two people he hires, to protect or isolate her; and all the rest. The series ends poorly, but I think TJH and the next one are the best.

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    1. I agree with you, Skye, TJH is a Mystery, not a Gothic. Unless you want a sungenre called Gothic Mysteries.

      As far as putting it on the list– Darn it. You know, I don’t want to create drama. Heaven knows I have enough of that already. If most people want to read The Julius House, then okay. But, having read them both, I find it really hard to justify reading TJH instead of The Dead Travel Fast. I think if we were making this list ten years in the future, TDTF would have a good shot at being on it, and I don’t think TJH would. But that said, we’re making the list now, not ten years from now, and TDTF has only been out a couple of months. So, you know, I’m in, whatever we pick.

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  52. I have to put in my votes – my favorite Stewart is Touch not the Cat, and my favorite Michaels would be Be Buried in the Rain (which *does* have a nightgown chase).

    And while not all the Elizabeth Lowell Donovan books would quite work, I think that the last one, Midnight in Ruby Bayou, does. Although it does lack the moral iffyness about the love interest, which I’ve always felt was a component of a Gothic. It does, however have wonderfully Southern Gothic atmosphere, complete with crazy elderly aunt.

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  53. ok, going way off the beathen path here, but I thnk Jean Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear fits the definiation of Gothic novel. I have always felt that it was about the empowerment of women and the abitlity to withstand the outside forces…just a thought ..drat…1980…. thought it might be 79…oh well…

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  54. I am not sure if time travel is allowed in your definition of gothic??? And I admit to not having read all of the comments above, but I wanted to suggest a great book from 1995. “Mariana” by Suzanna Kearsley. It won the Cathrine Cookson Fiction Prize and is one of my all time favorite books.
    As for more recent days I wonder about The “Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield? (2007)

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  55. Isolating the heroine in the 21st Century: She forgets to charge her cell phone or it gets damaged and she is in the middle of no where (Say southeastern Oregon if you want isolated or the entire state of Nevada if you get rid of Las Vegas and Reno) so she can’t buy another. Everyone else is cell phone hostile so there is no other ones around. Only internet connection is satellite and its out (not really unlikely, my sister in Gustavus, Alaska frequently has her satellite out for days at a time). She doesn’t have an iPod. Her car is clunker. There. modern gothic.

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    1. Well, modern isolation. Now big house, supernatural elements (although can be debunked), patriarchal oppression . . .

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  56. I was going to suggest Charlotte Armstrong for the 1970s, but it turns out The Chocolate Cobweb was first published in 1948. I am amazed. … The Gift Shop was 1967, and The Protege squeaks in at 1970. Modern gothics.

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    1. I would say yes to Charlotte Armstrong but is The Protege available?

      Another author who did gothic romance in the 70’s that fits the definition was Isabelle Holland. Moncrief (1975) would be my recommendation since it is the only one of hers that I can remember and the heroine is an orphan, inherits a mysterious house and is escaping an evil ex-husband and has a dark handsome stranger (well, not a stranger to her but he doesn’t recognize her so she can pretend he is a stranger). It is available on ebay and amazon and may still be in some libraries. I know my library still has some of her stuff. Two of her novels were made into movies in the 90’s.

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  57. @ MerdithB On Urban Fantasy versus Gothic — one separation, IMO is that Gothic does have the isolation element. UF, not so much, although there may be a division of two elements of society — one magical, one not.
    I believe Gothic also relies on a very limited supernatural element, and the supernatural element must be in question — so that it could also be slightly psychological element. So, there may (or may NOT) be ghosts, but there won’t also be werewolves, vampires and other elements — only one flavor of paranormal.
    Urban Fantasy is based in an alternate reality where one or more paranormal elements do exist.
    Finally, much UF is written in the First Person POV, and a large portion is a femail POV — which I love for a change. I have not read enough Gothic lit to be sure, but I suspect while we may have some female POV (as in Jane Eyre) I wonder if most will be First Person or Third.

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    1. I definitely agree with your first point– isolation may or may not be there, although I think a certain level of it usually prevails, since otherwise one tends to wonder why the protagonist would set off on an adventure alone without first applying for assistence.

      Secondly, yes– this is why I think at some point if you have too much world-building, you’re placing your novel into the Fantasy Genre.

      Third– Here I’m not sure. I think the prevelance of First Person in Urban Fantasy and Third Person in Gothic Romance probably has more to do with the point in history at which the book was written. First person narratives were very uncommon in literature for a very long time, and have only become common fairly recently. Fantasy is a much newer genre than Gothic Romance, and the bulk of it has been written in the last forty years. Fantasy has also always been a genre where rule breaking and experimentation has been encouraged, and so First Person narrative has been widely adopted and accepted there. What I’m saying is that while I note the trend, I’m not sure it’s a definitive element of the Urban Fantasy genre. (Isn’t this subject great, btw? But probably tangential.)

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    2. Once upon a time, urban fantasy and paranormal romance were very different things. When I started reading urban fantasy it was definitely fantasy set in a city, usually recognizably in our world, with the city just as important as the fantasy: work by Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Steven Brust, Nalo Hopkinson, etc., with very few elements recognizable from the Tough Guide to Fantasyland. The definitions seem to have blurred a lot lately, or maybe narrowed. Modern “urban fantasy” seems to be all about the kick-ass heroine (the cover will involve leather, a sexy pose, probably a large weapon of some kind, and tattoos) and the supernatural creatures (with or without the sexing — but often with). The “urban” part is secondary. I kind of miss the original flavour.

      (I can rant about this for quite some time. All you damn kids get off my lawn!)

      Responding to something way upthread, I’d personally call Sunshine straight-up fantasy (or maybe horror).

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      1. Yeah, at some point what we call Urban Fantasy found itself a subgenre of something larger that developed around it, which I would call Contemporary Fantasy. I feel like maybe Kelley Armstrong, for example, belongs more in Contemporary than Urban, since so many of the pivotal fantastic events are removed into the forest, wilderness, etc. Just to give an example of someone often labelled Urban Fantasy who may be mislabelled.

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  58. Jenny — I just posted a comment and it went up somewhere in the middle. I’m pretty sure I didn’t try to comment under Meredith, but rather at the bottom. We may have maxed-out this thread.

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    1. I’m home now and regrouping so I’ll put up a new post as soon as I’m done reading the comments.
      Although I don’t seem to be understanding some of the comments so maybe I should just go lie down.

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  59. Merry the CB – Why am I up there, when I’m supposed to be here? If I’m up there, how will you know I was referring to your poem? You might think I find the picture of your dog impressive. Well, that’s true. But not funny. Dog is gorgeous.

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  60. Jenny, totally off topic, but I think one of the contestants on this season of So You Think You Can Dance (on Fox) is from your hometown. Crazy.

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    1. Wapakoneta? I went home for a family things yesterday and they were talking about it. And how nobody could pronounce it.
      And Glee is set about fifteen miles from Wapak in Lima.
      And you guys thought I came from nowhere. Well, yeah, but . . .

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      1. I loved Wapakoneta when I was in college because it had crazy cheap gas prices, and was right about where I ran out if I filled up before I left home in Hamilton. Also there was a great pizza place that I can’t remember the name of.

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  61. Okay, chipping in very late, because I’ve been away in Scotland for 3 weeks, where, among other things, I was on a 3-days girls’ road trip to Skye where we discussed, of course, Mary Stewart’s Wildfire at Midnight (our hotel was the setting, we’re sure) and that led to other MS books, plus Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels etc and we all came home with 100s of photos and a desire to reread all our Mary Stewarts, and suddenly I catch up at Jenny’s and find…. Mary Stewart and Elizabeth Peters.

    Oh synchronicity!

    Any Stewart suspense book will be welcome. But I guess Nine Coaches Waiting is quintessential Gothic, what with the castle, the governess, the child, the brooding hero….

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