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Question for readers
#1
As a footnote to Alice Chell's recent thread about the past, I'm curious . . . How many readers on this forum discovered Gothic Romance after it had ceased to be a popular genre? In other words, of the 450+ members here, I wonder how many came to appreciate the genre only within the last 10-15 years?

If the members of this forum represent a cross-section of the Gothic Romance readership in general (and I think it's safe to assume they do), then it would seem significant to me if a considerable portion of them were latecomers to the genre (those who started reading Gothics a decade or more after they ceased to be published). To me, this would mean that the genre is not really dead, merely dormant. If a genre continues to find new relevance among new readers and fans, it probably has larger relevance to the larger potential readership, and future generations of readers, ignored by the publishing industry's current focus. It might mean that there's hope for a resurrection of the genre at some point.

How many aspiring writers on this forum feel cheated by the apparent lack of a marketplace for Gothic romance nowadays, that if only they'd been alive and writing in the '60s or '70s, they might have contributed to the field? Perhaps there's still hope for them too.

Am I being naïve in my optimism?
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#2
I read my first gothic romance around 1973 (at age 15). For years after it was exciting to go to the bookstore and hope to find that Victoria Holt had written a new book. Ah, those were the days....

On a sidenote: we vacation in Hungary regularly and there are lots of (translated) Holts and Carrs in the pocketbook section of supermarkets and bookstores. I think Hungary missed out on the actual boom and readers are just discovering gothic romances.
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#3
My mother bought a large number of gothics in the 60's and 70's and she packed them away and kept them. When I was a teen I started reading my mother's old books.
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#4
I started reading my mother's Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt novels in the 70's / 80's and started buying gothic paperbacks (in particular the Dark Shadows series) from charity shops / second hand bookshops in the 80's / 90's. Though I am also a huge fan of 'classic' gothics, I would love to be able to buy / read more gothic novels written and set in contemporary times and it is disappointing that this genre seems to be ignored by the publishing field.

That said, there do seem to be more and more modern books being published with gothic themes so perhaps there is hope!
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#5
I purchased a few used books in the 80's that were written in the 60's & 70's but I never read them. I just hung on to them because I just knew someday I would get a chance to read them. I just knew I would love them. In the 90's I bought a few more of these old books for little of nothing. I actually started reading the books about 10 years ago and I loved them! I was so glad to have the foresight to buy those books when I did. Since then I have bought hundreds of these books. Friends of the Library book sales and Thrift stores provide most of my hunting grounds. Some Flea Markets/Antiques stores carry them but do get a little pricy. So with all this in mind, I guess you could say I did come to this genre fairly recently even though I owned the books for quite a while. I owe my interest in the genre to the fact that the cover art drew me into them. Otherwise I'm sure I would have never opened them up. I didn't even read romance when I started reading these books. The covers just captivated my attention. Now I even read romances. Gothic Romance has opened worlds to me that I would have missed out on. Thank you Gothic Romance Cover Artists!
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#6
I started reading the Dark Shadows books back in the 70s when I was in upper elementary school and from there moved on to the other paperback gothics the public library had. Took a breather in the early 80s, then found Rebecca, the Brontes, and Victoria Holt and plunged in again. Took a more extended breather and recently started re-reading gothics again. Thank goodness for used bookstores!

Are any of you familiar with the Accelerated Reader program many schools use? A teenager at the school I work at needed to find an Accelerated Reader book to get points for her English glass. She basically grabbed one off the shelf. It was a Victoria Holt - Mistres of Mellyn, I think. This girl wasn't a big reader, but Victoria caught her. She went through the rest of the Holts in the school library and then got the rest from the town library. The Accelerated Reader program is helping create some new gothic romance fans, so the genre might not remain dormant for much longer. Which I'm all for. I'd really like to see publishers offering new gothics.
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#7
I would have been reading gothics in the 80's. So I'd say yes- I found them after they were really popular. There were some new ones then.
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#8
I started reading them in the early 80's. My mother had the first 8 or 10 of the Saga of the Phenwick Women, and Reader's Digest had some condensed versions of Barbara Michaels, Catherine Gaskin, and Mary Stewart novels.
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#9
I actually discovered gothic romances about ten years ago, as I wandered through the stacks in search of something to read over my summer vacation.
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