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What horror Gothic books do you recommend?
#1
What horror Gothic books do you recommend? Can you say what they are about?
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#2
I'm not sure if these are considered "horror gothics," but they have creeped me out, they do have a gothic atmosphere and they are definitely lacking romance.

1. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It's a short story about a woman who is on a "rest cure" for a "temporary nervous depression" in a room with yellow wallpaper.

2. The House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson. A shy young woman joins three other people to investigate a supposedly haunted house.

3. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. A disturbed young woman lives with her uncle, cat and sister as the town's outcasts. The sister has been accused of poisoning the rest of the family.

4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Ten people are brought to a mysterious island for some sort of divine retribution for past acts and are murdered one by one.

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A man is murdered by what seems to be a ghostly hound that haunts his family. Sherlock Holmes investigates. May not seem like Gothic horror, but read it on a dark night. The atmosphere of the moors and the legend of the hound is disturbing.
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#3
I've not read #1 or #3, but they do sound Gothic. #4 felt like a Gothic until it was explained. But I'd consider it Gothic, still, just like I had included "The Ninth Guest" on the Best Gothic List. The plots were very similar but I believe "The Ninth Guest" was written earlier. I think many Sherlock Holmes stories could be considered Gothic, in the same tradition as Edgar Allan Poe.
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#4
I've never read The Ninth Guest, but probably will soon! I included And Then There Were None because of the hints of insanity and a supernatural killer that float through the book. it's the only Agatha Christie I would include.

Here are some other recommendations...

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Creepy even though written in the late 18th/early 19th century. It's the infamous story of the Headless Horseman. The movie Sleepy Hollow by Tim Burton has great atmosphere, but beware, it is very different than the original story and you need a strong stomach to get through it.

2. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. Horror and a big, creepy house. Roderick Usher's sister has died. Or has she? Great movie with Vincent Price.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker. The story of the vampire from Transylvania. There are two damsels in distress, a castle in Transylvania, and Carfax Abbey and an asylum in London. Best movies are the Bela Lugosi version and the one with Gary Oldman as Dracula. The first half of the book is great, the beginning of the second half drags into melodramatic Victorian weeping, and the last quarter flies again.

4. Murcheston: The Wolf's Tale by David Holland. What Dracula did for vampires and Frankenstein did for, well, Frankenstein's monster, this book does for werewolves. Very disturbing book about a young lord during the Victorian era who becomes a werewolf and his descent into madness as he gradually justifies to himself each murder and depravity.

5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Okay, probably not Gothic, but dark and disturbing. It's about a French ferry boat captain transporting ivory along the Congo river who decides to search for Kurtz, an ivory trader who has gone mad and made himself the leader of a local tribe. It's as dark as any Gothic novel to me, although also very political. Apocalypse Now is the modern retelling of the story.
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#5
I'd like to add a couple of other books that I think plausibly fit under the category of horror gothic. At least, they are certainly in the general neighborhood of the books already discussed in this forum.

1. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. One of those "what's going on" books that discusses early psychiatry and views of the insane. See my review in the General Off-Topic forum.

2. The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque by Jeffrey Ford. Again, I have a review in the General Off-Topic Forum.

3. Affinity by Sarah Waters. Creepy, creepy historical book that actually scared a friend of mine who was reading it late at night. There is a bit of a romance, but it's between two women so be warned if that makes you uncomfortable. It's about a repressed young woman who visits female inmates at a prison. She becomes obsessed with a clairvoyant prisoner who has been sentenced for murder. Is she guilty or not?

4. Curfew (or Crybbe) by Phil Rickman. I've read this book twice and just love it. It's steeped in atmosphere and history. It takes place in modern day Britain, in a small village that suffers from a curse in which a bell must be rung every night to ward off the spell of an evil sorcerer. I really enjoyed the writing. Not only is the book and plot interesting, but the writer does a great job of characterization and finding humor. You really care about the people in the book and their relationships.

5. Guilty Pleasures by Laurel Hamilton. I've read this book twice too. It's the first in the Anita Blake series. She's a vampire hunter in St. Louis. It's short and smart. It's pretty funny too. And she does a great job with her characters. I actually got teary-eyed at one point, which is very rare for me. But it is bloody....so be warned.
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#6
Hi, thank you for the info Desdemona. I'll look up those titles. I'm interested in both horror Gothic and romance Gothic...and hopefully a bit of a blend of both. Smile
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#7
Bellatrix Wrote:Hi, thank you for the info Desdemona. I'll look up those titles. I'm interested in both horror Gothic and romance Gothic...and hopefully a bit of a blend of both. Smile

You're welcome! I just finished another book that I'd like to add to this thread. It really disturbed me.

The book is called Angelica by Arthur Phillips. It has been compared to The Turn of the Screw and I can definitely see the similarities. You don't really know what's going on and who's actually insane, if anyone. The book takes place during the Victorian era and the style of writing is a bit Victorian too. Some readers think this is too slow, but it worked for me.

Here's a snippet from a Washington Post review by Elizabeth Hand.....

In its creepy 19th-century setting and balanced interplay between supernatural and psychological menace, Angelica at first seems as though it's a trope on Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw," a slightly hoary choice for a writer of Phillips's originality and cunning. The scene is an upper-middle-class home in 1880s London. An emotionally fragile, sexually timid woman named Constance nearly died giving birth to Angelica and has since suffered three miscarriages. The doctor who attends the latest (after three years of sexual abstinence) makes it clear that Constance will destroy not just herself but her loved ones if she continues to succumb to her "lascivious and intemperate will."

.....Phillips tips his hat to "The Turn of the Screw," but the claustrophobic nature of Constance's horrific breakdown, its roots in feminine sexual ignorance and the smugly monstrous oppression inflicted by the era's masculine medical authorities evoke a lesser-known literary work, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," first published in 1891 and now considered a masterpiece of psychological horror.
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#8
Can't recommend it as I've not yet read it, but I did find and purchase this novel last week:

The Black Dog by Georgena Goff

It's touted as "A Gothic novel of the psychic occult."

Every time the big black dog appeared -- someone died. Lottie feared she would be next.

Legend whispered that Mr. Holme appeared every 25 years accompanied by the black dog who guarded his mother's grave. Holme and his black dog spelled death and disaster...

It's a Belmont Blue Ribbon Gothic published May 1971.

***

As an aside, I've just recently read about black dogs having difficulty being adopted out of animal shelters because of "bad press." AS workers are tying big colorful ribbons onto their necks to enhance attention, and working hard to warm up the public to adopting these animals. So I was a bit reluctant to buy the book, as it panders to an unfortunate stereotype which is harming dog adoption. But I decided to read the story anyway, for its own sake.

I love black dogs and black cats! Animal lover here.

--back on topic--
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#9
Bellatrix Wrote:Can't recommend it as I've not yet read it, but I did find and purchase this novel last week:

The Black Dog by Georgena Goff

It's touted as "A Gothic novel of the psychic occult."

Every time the big black dog appeared -- someone died. Lottie feared she would be next.

Legend whispered that Mr. Holme appeared every 25 years accompanied by the black dog who guarded his mother's grave. Holme and his black dog spelled death and disaster...

It's a Belmont Blue Ribbon Gothic published May 1971.

***

As an aside, I've just recently read about black dogs having difficulty being adopted out of animal shelters because of "bad press." AS workers are tying big colorful ribbons onto their necks to enhance attention, and working hard to warm up the public to adopting these animals. So I was a bit reluctant to buy the book, as it panders to an unfortunate stereotype which is harming dog adoption. But I decided to read the story anyway, for its own sake.

I love black dogs and black cats! Animal lover here.

--back on topic--
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#10
I would recommend The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding (2001). Very original book.

This book is usually in the young adult or teen section, but I really think an adult would enjoy it. It is pretty sophisticated and not for the faint of heart. There is also a light romance between the two main characters.

It takes place in an alternative Victorian London where demons and monsters are real. Thaniel and Cathaline are "wych-hunters" who encounter Alaizabel Cray, a beautiful young girl who is possessed by a spirit. She is also part of a plot to destroy the world.

It's an exciting book and very imaginative. Definitely horror gothic, but not enough to keep you awake at night....I think.
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