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Can you pinpoint the very first Gothic you read?
Because of my difficulties in recalling the author and title of the first Gothic I read, I wondered if anyone else had the same problem. Can you remember exactly the first book that you read that was designated a Gothic romance?
I started keeping a list of books I've read and dates I finished them back in 1991 and I know exactly how many books I've read since then. Reviewing the list is also a great memory aid for other things because I remember stuff like where I worked, where I lived, or who I discussed the book with at the time. However, it doesn't really help me remember when I read my first gothic novel because I had read a few as a child. I read Dracula, Frankenstein and several tales by Poe and Lovecraft even in grade school. I can't say I really grasped them at the time, because for years I had misconceptions about them. I didn't really get an accurate image of most of my earlier reading until I reread most of it in high school and realized how poorly I understood it when I was younger.

I have tried to backtrack and extend my list backwards by remembering things I read years ago but I haven't done well. That is sort of why your own search for Danse Macabre interested me. It's a feeling I can relate to. Smile
One of my earliest Gothics is Ghost ship of Fog Island by Marilyn Ross. I was a little girl and I got it as a birthday present. Big Grin
Bride of Pendorric, by Victoria Holt. Been a collector ever since.
Jane Eyre would have to be mine. Of the modern romances, I think it was Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt, which reminded me very much of Jane Eyre.
Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt
It would have to be Jane Eyre for me. Read it when I was 12 and it had a huge impact on me. Didn't know why at the time, I felt that I identified with Jane and thought she was a true heroine. I now realise that it was the gothic element that drew me in.
I don't know for sure. But my best guess would be Victoria Holt's "On the Night of the Seventh Moon". I was in grade school (7th or 8th grade) and the mom of my best friend was a devoted reader. I used to borrow books from her.

If you consider Nancy Drew books "gothics", then my first was "The Secret of Shadow Ranch". It was given to me on my 11th birthday.
Either The Locked Corridor or Dark Shadows, both by Marilyn Ross. I'm leaning toward Dark Shadows.
Funny to find this, because I started to write this as part of another thread, but then decided to use it for my profile/bio blurb. Smile

I think my first was Velda Johnston's The Light in the Swamp. I have almost no memory of the book itself, but it must have made an impression, because I remembered the author's name for years, intending to seek out more by her. In those days (early '80s) I had to rely on Braille books, only, so the selection was extremely limited. Now I can scan almost anything I fancy reading!

I believe I got the book in the first place because of the fact of the limited options for reading material in Braille. I used to stay with my grandmother during the summers off from school, and she would take me to get books. She did go to some trouble to find out where to go, and how to find them, which makes me incredibly grateful, and sad, to think of it. It is thanks to her that I am such an avid reader. She also read aloud to me, frequently, something my mother never did.

Anyway, this book's title caught my eye. What 8-year-old would pass up Light in the Swamp? I was already conditioned to gravitate to something like that; my family watched a lot of horror filmss. So I chose that book. My grandmother asked what it was about, and I read her the front matter/summary, in which it said that the heroine has an affair! My grandmother didn't want me to read it, but my mother apparently didn't think it was a big deal (she never monitored anything) and so I kept the book. I'm fairly sure it contained nothing harmful, and if so, I did not understand it. Smile

So that's my long story.

In high school I discovered Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney... but then I discovered V.C. Andrews and other more romance-centric books, and moved away from gothics...although, I do consider the true VC Andrews (not the ghostwriter garbage) as gothics.

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