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Gothic settings
#1
Having lived in New England and being awed by the setting there, I love reading American gothic novels set in New England. I prefer them to be historical, but if it is contemporary from the 50s-60s I enjoy them also. Although I love the New England of today, it does not have the same atmosphere as it would in the past. Much of New England is rural and the feeling of isolation lends itself to an eeriness that you can’t get in a major metropolitan area. I think too much technology destroys the suspense sustained when the characters are unsure of what is happening around them.
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#2
MysteryMind Wrote:Having lived in New England and being awed by the setting there, I love reading American gothic novels set in New England. I prefer them to be historical, but if it is contemporary from the 50s-60s I enjoy them also. Although I love the New England of today, it does not have the same atmosphere as it would in the past. Much of New England is rural and the feeling of isolation lends itself to an eeriness that you can’t get in a major metropolitan area.

I've not been to New England, but I think I can understand the sentiment. I enjoy stories set in New England because of the ambience the good authors are able to capture. Also, it's our link to old England obviously. Would like to visit New England, particularly Maine and Vermont. But I reside in the Desert SW and with the current fuel prices...

The Midwest (born/raised there; moved away 16 years ago) is also rural of course, so I might have an inkling of what you refer to. However, the open prairie land turned agricultural fields (mostly) doesn't lend to much eerieness. But there are large copses of trees along river banks, massive stormclouds and violent thunderstorms. The most interesting Midwestern setting for a Gothic I've encountered was in House on Crow's Nest Island: A gloomy mansion set on a Mississippi River island. That's rather clever; I wouldn't have thought of it (despite it bordering my home state).

Just now recalling my small Midwestern hometown possesses two authentic Victorian mansions (registered), another two large wealthy homes from the late 1800's...and previously two "big spooky old houses" (torn down in the early 1970s; a pity). But the only place a frightened heroine could run to is...the outskirts of town and the nearest corn field. Tongue Not very chilling, huh? Lol.

Quote: I think too much technology destroys the suspense sustained when the characters are unsure of what is happening around them.

Definitely. One reason I didn't enjoy the film Underworld. Vampires and werewolves with tracking chips, cellphones, internet...sheesh. Where's the suspense when you know everyone's whereabouts and what's around the next corner?
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#3
I think the Old South is also another very appropriate setting for Gothics, especially historic ones. I think the "Southern Gothics" tend to take place in historic towns like Williamsburg and Charleston. Very nice settings.
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#4
MysteryMind Wrote:Having lived in New England and being awed by the setting there, I love reading American gothic novels set in New England. I prefer them to be historical, but if it is contemporary from the 50s-60s I enjoy them also. Although I love the New England of today, it does not have the same atmosphere as it would in the past. Much of New England is rural and the feeling of isolation lends itself to an eeriness that you can’t get in a major metropolitan area. I think too much technology destroys the suspense sustained when the characters are unsure of what is happening around them.

I couldn't agree with you more! I spent part of my childhood in rural New Hampshire and Massachusetts and have spent much of my adult life searching to recapture that haunting atmosphere of the New England countryside. There are few places so lovely and yet so eerie -- especially at twilight in late fall or early winter.

Being a relative newcomer to the gothic genre, I tend to favor books of the British type, usually set in an ancient manor house on the moors or a crumbling castle on the cliffs of Cornwall.

However, I agree that certain parts of New England rival England for atmosphere and I'd love to find some good reads set in that environment. I also think that a small New England town, perhaps in Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont, would be an ideal setting for a "cozy" type murder mystery novel. Yet it seems that few authors have taken advantage of the ready-made charm and mood of such settings.

I also agree with you about the time period / technology. For me, a true gothic shouldn't be set in contemporary times, but rather in a simpler and more romantic past. 1960 is about as close to the present as I want to get in reading a gothic.

Can you suggest any good gothics set in New England?
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#5
paigenumber Wrote:I think the Old South is also another very appropriate setting for Gothics, especially historic ones. I think the "Southern Gothics" tend to take place in historic towns like Williamsburg and Charleston. Very nice settings.

I agree with this too -- there are few locales are as ideal for a gothic novel as an old plantation mouldering under the gloom of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and slowly being dismantled by kudzu . . .
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#6
Penfeather Wrote:
paigenumber Wrote:I think the Old South is also another very appropriate setting for Gothics, especially historic ones. I think the "Southern Gothics" tend to take place in historic towns like Williamsburg and Charleston. Very nice settings.

I agree with this too -- there are few locales are as ideal for a gothic novel as an old plantation mouldering under the gloom of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and slowly being dismantled by kudzu . . .

wait till you get a load of my novel in progress Twisted Oaks...mwoohaha!
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#7
Penfeather Wrote:Can you suggest any good gothics set in New England?

Try Rae Foley. Many of hers were set in New England. Also, check out some of the reviews on this forum. I believe some of them mention a New England setting.
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#8
paigenumber Wrote:
Penfeather Wrote:Can you suggest any good gothics set in New England?

Try Rae Foley. Many of hers were set in New England. Also, check out some of the reviews on this forum. I believe some of them mention a New England setting.

Thanks for the tip!
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#9
Old buildings, castles, old churches, for sure.

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall in England, a remote Scottish island or lake. an old abbey or monastery.

I started going to the British isles when i was 16, lived there nearly 20 years.

I lived in Glastonbury for a year, a very haunted town, the hotel in the high street, wow, scary.

I didn't even like going for a drink in there. My friend went for a second honeymoon, and they checked out the middle of their first night and never went back to the town again.

The abbey and Tor are first rate and almost every resident can tell you great ghost stories or has experienced thing themselves. and of course it is also a top choice as to being the isle of Avalon.

Cambridge, spooky because of the marshes and old buildings, oxford, not so spooky.

Warwick castle, England, very haunted. You could spend days there and not see everything.

the Tower of London, of course.


Bath in england, I never got the sense it was very haunted, but it is just so old, Regency period, plus Romans!

Chester, the same, very unique.

york, medieval, viking, roman. narrow, winding streets,fog.
just terrific.

Three of my favorite cities.

Hadrian's wall-we stayed at a 17th century coaching inn/post office that had been converted. the wilderness was, well, wild!

Peniston crag, from Wuthering Heights, and the Yorkshire moors-very spooky.

Lindisfarne, very ancient island and church on its own island.

Durham, really impressive, church and castle.

Lincoln, ditto. the medieval feel, steep streets and fog, eek!

Nottingham forest, definitely don't want to be there in the dark. We used to do nature walks, talk about old whispering trees and creaking and strange rustlings in the bushes!


Byron's home at Newstead Abbey, seriously, I couldn't even stay in the 'haunted room' (by a black monk, by all accounts) for more than a minute. My husband didn't even go in! he froze on the doorstep and went out of the abbey and left me to it.


Glamis Castle, Scotland, most haunted in the Uk by all accounts. It was very very atmospheric even with the sun shining. Can't even imagine how it is at night! eek.

Berwick Castle, a very nasty place, Sterling too. Eew. Linlinthgow castle, ditto. Edinburgh castle and the royal mile, very very spooky at night.

Isle of Man, good ruins, viking associations, and the only place I have ever lived where grown adults freely admit they believe in the faeries and have various rituals to make them happy! and special halloween and new year's ceremonies to keep the spirits happy.

Other settings, in the US: New Orleans for certain, and all the plantations along the river. Some very violent in atmosphere, others very sad and depressing.

Victoria, Texas, some really impressive houses, and quite spooky ones.

There are some old inns up in Connecticut, and a haunted house as well I went to in broad daylight with a male friend one year at Christmas, and he was TERRIFIED. Trying to recall what town it was. There is a coaching in with terrific restaurant from the colonial period up there, quite pricey. Think it was fairfield.

My boss used to live in Mark Twain's daughter's house up in Redding. I always found it a bit creepy.

Oh, yes, Washington Irving's house upstate NY--very creepy even in the daytime.

Williamsburg, VA

New Hope PA town and the Indian settlement

Baltimore, great ghost tour around Fell's point

Oh, yes, Nantucket, I did the Halloween tour one year, very very creepy in places. some lovely/interesting homes even if you aren't lucky enough to tap into the atmosphere. The island is awesome, if small!


Mystic CT,
Block island
when my parents used to take me sailing, we would visit various ports, both have some very old and impressive mansions, very atmospheric, esp in the autumn

And of course, Salem, MA and Boston.
And the area around independence hall in philly.

San Francisco, some of the older houses still standing.

All these locales are great to visit-even better if a writer is able to capture that special atmosphere for us.
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#10
gurugoddess Wrote:Old buildings, castles, old churches, for sure.

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall in England, a remote Scottish island or lake. an old abbey or monastery.

I started going to the British isles when i was 16, lived there nearly 20 years.

I lived in Glastonbury for a year, a very haunted town, the hotel in the high street, wow, scary.

I didn't even like going for a drink in there. My friend went for a second honeymoon, and they checked out the middle of their first night and never went back to the town again.

Ooooo, do tell! Big Grin I'd love to visit those places.

My hometown in Iowa had at least 5 Victorian mansions. At night, during foggy weather, in the bleakness of winter? Truly spooky in their own right.

Unfortunately Iowa itself isn't conducive to "Gothic," lol.

An online friend of mine is a native of Inverness, Scotland. I'd love to visit.

Quote:Glamis Castle, Scotland, most haunted in the Uk by all accounts. It was very very atmospheric even with the sun shining. Can't even imagine how it is at night! eek.

Around 4 years ago saw a "haunted" special about Glamis Castle. Scary indeed. Sad

As for the Isle of Avalon, isn't that where King Arthur is allegedly buried?

My husband and I need to visit the UK. Hopefully within the next 10 years...
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