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Out of the Dark by Nora Lofts
This book was touted as a Gothic romance. I agree with the Gothic part, but not quite the romance part. There was very little romance. However, in some ways it would fit our definition of Gothic romance. For readers of traditional Gothic romance, they may find this book a bit frustrating. It does not follow any established formula.

Let me first say that I had read this book years ago but could not recall the title or author. When I read the synopsis on this book, I thought it sounded familiar, but not clearly remembering the details of the book, I was unsure it was the same, so I read it again.

My impression of the book years ago was that it was a Gothic romance. Perhaps I associated it with this genre because I was told it belonged to this genre. On rereading it, I found very little true romance in it.

The story was partially based on a real-life unsolved mystery about a young girl who was accused and subsequently acquitted of her half-brother's murder. Due to the incompetencies of the police force, she is left with scandal and a ruined life.

I like Nora Lofts as a writer and storyteller, but this book felt very gloomy. Although I had read it previously, I found it difficult to finish this book in one sitting. I might not have been able to finish at all if I hadn't known the ending already. It wasn't a bad book, but there were so many gloomy parts. Many of the characters were trapped in dreary, depressing situations. The only ones who had happy endings were the heroine (Charlotte) and her brother. You might say that's as it should be, but justice wasn't quite served. Her father should have received a stiffer sentence/penance. There was a mystery about his past that was often alluded to but never revealed. Also, I felt the two ladies who ran the school where Charlotte worked deserved a worse fate. Ditto for her stepmother and the stupid nurse.

That was my reaction to the book and its characters.

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