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Great Love Stories/Romantic Heroes in Gothics
#1
While I've read Gothic novels all my life, Gothic romances are fairly new to me in comparison. I've read individual novels here and there, but have only started to really hunt for them in my library.

I love a good love story and there has to be a love story for it to be a Gothic romance. I'm wondering what everyone's favorite Gothic romance love stories or romantic heroes are...and if you can recommend any books that have that powerful emotional center.

For myself, I can point to Jane Eyre easily as my favorite thus far. (I would also point to Wuthering Heights, but while it is atmospheric, there's no real puzzle or mystery to qualify it as a Gothic romance.) I am a huge fan of Jane because she is not the damsel in distress. She is independent, intelligent, witty, and courageous. She isn't beautiful and wins her lover through her strength of character instead of through her looks. She also chooses to return to her lover and doesn't need him to rescue her. That is an incredibly modern take on a woman.

The love story between her and Rochester is also great because it is so passionate. I've never read scenes where a man is so felled by love as the scenes in this book. I like the whole motif of Rochester as the wounded hero seeking love. I absolutely hate alpha males in any guise, although alpha males with a sensitive side work (like Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator I guess).

Also, I am a big fan of Erik in the Phantom of the Opera because he is the wounded hero. However, I think his real appeal and character took on a life of its own outside the novel. The Phantom of the musical is so much more appealing than the Phantom of the novel. The love story though is very much one-sided. In comparison to Jane Eyre, I think Christine Daae is an innocent victim who cries and sighs way too much for me.

Anyway, there's a first post. :-)
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#2
Maybe we should save some of these thoughts for further discussions after we've read our books. We can have it under our "Heroes and Heroines" theme.
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#3
Desdemona Wrote:While I've read Gothic novels all my life, Gothic romances are fairly new to me in comparison.  I've read individual novels here and there, but have only started to really hunt for them in my library.

I love a good love story and there has to be a love story for it to be a Gothic romance.  I'm wondering what everyone's favorite Gothic romance love stories or romantic heroes are...and if you can recommend any books that have that powerful emotional center.

What kind of Gothic novels did you read before you discovered Gothic romances?

I've been a closet reader of romances myself, but mostly Gothic romances. I can't stand straight romances unless it is more humorous, such as the Regency romances, or unless it contains suspense/mystery. I guess that's why I love Gothic romances and romantic mysteries.

My favorite romance has to be Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Have you ever read it? The characters are unforgettable and the hero and heroine of the romance has been many times imitated but never duplicated.

As for Gothic romances, I have to agree that Jane Eyre is one of the best. I picked it up without really knowing what it was about when I was a teenager. It has been the standard for Gothic romances. I'll have to find a copy to re-read. I didn't care for Wuthering Heights as much. It was a haunting novel and the atmosphere was great, but although I could pity a lot of the characters, I could not sympathize with any of them.

If you want a Gothic novel with a good hero, one who isn't wimpy nor an "alpha" male, try Brat Farrar. The story is different from traditional Gothic romances because the story focuses on the hero, not the heroine.

I understand what you mean by the emotive force in the romance and I've felt it before. Unfortunately, I can't recall the books at the top of my head. I hope that by writing some reviews from now on, it will help to refresh my memory of the books.
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#4
I've read all sorts of novels. I call them Gothic mostly because of the atmosphere. They often involve an oppressive mood and hints of madness with danger and mystery.

I'm going to post some reviews on the Off-Topic forum. Because of my uncertainty of where they should fit, it's best to just play it safe and assume they are not Gothic romances.

I've read Pride and Prejudice and enjoyed it. I loved the BBC miniseries with Colin Firth. But I'm not a fan of her other books. I didn't like Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park was depressing. I mildly enjoyed Persuasion, but really preferred the movie with Ciaran Hinds. Very romantic.

Jane Eyre is great, except for the long sequence with St. John and his two sisters. I tend to skip that part. As for Wuthering Heights, I do agree that the characters are hard to like. The heroine Cathy is just so selfish. But I really felt for Heathcliff because he was just an abused orphan boy. And I liked the second generation of lovers later in the book.

I'll try Brat Farrar. Thanks for the recommendation!
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#5
Desdemona, if you haven't read it, I'd recommend "A Falcon for a Queen" by Catherine Gaskin. There's more than one love story in it, but the main one, the one that the heroine experiences is the most powerful. It is written in the first person narrative, so you can feel what the heroine feels. I found it to be quite poignant. I'd like to hear what you think.
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#6
I also love read love stories.
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#7
I checked out A Falcon for a Queen and hope to read it soon. Thanks!

For those of you who have read, or are in the process of reading, Rebecca, I was wondering what you thought/think of Maxim as a romantic hero? He seemed cold and distant to me throughout the book. While I liked him, I didn't think of him as a great romantic hero or someone for whom I felt much affection.

This opinion is based on the book of course. Maybe I'll change my mind if I watch Laurence Olivier in the film version (it's on my Netflix queue.)
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#8
Desdemona Wrote:For those of you who have read, or are in the process of reading, Rebecca, I was wondering what you thought/think of Maxim as a romantic hero?  He seemed cold and distant to me throughout the book.  While I liked him, I didn't think of him as a great romantic hero or someone for whom I felt much affection.

When I first read the book, I thought it was a very romantic story. I was only a teenager at the time. After rereading it, I did pick up that Maxim was very cold. The narrator does point out that he was different during their honeymoon, but since we did not have a glimpse of that, it was hard to imagine Maxim being romantic. It seemed to me that he liked his wife, rescued her from her companion post and her loneliness, and befriended her. When he told her he loved her, it wasn't until near the end when his crime was about to be discovered. It made me feel he was just clinging to her for support.
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#9
Du Maurier was always very surprised that so many people considered Maxim/the book romantic. She felt it was a story about hate, and I'm not convinced she saw Maxim as a hero at all.
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#10
maisonvivante Wrote:Du Maurier was always very surprised that so many people considered Maxim/the book romantic.  She felt it was a story about hate, and I'm not convinced she saw Maxim as a hero at all.

I can't say I'm too surprised by that. On my second perusal, I felt the hate more strongly than I did the first time. However, I also felt the love the narrator had for Maxim. I did not feel the love was adequately returned. I thought Maxim was very cold and in the end, very weak. Not the typical hero of a Gothic romance.
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