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Literary Gothics . . . secrets & dark mysteries abound



Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.

Link: The Literary Gothic site

Additional Booklists: Ghosts | Authors


  • The Thirteenth Tale
    Author: Setterfield, Diane
    Publisher: Atria $ 26 ISBN: 0743298020 Date: 2006
    starKirkus
    Amateur biographer Margaret Lea receives a letter from reclusive author Vida Winter, summoning her to write Vida's life story. As Margaret pieces together Vida's story on her own, what she discovers is a chilling and transforming experience.
    Updated 7.11.06

    • Jamaica Inn
      Author: Du Maurier, Daphne
      Date: 1936
      The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother's dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn's dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls -- or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions ... tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.
      Updated 9.13.06
    • Rebecca
      Author: Du Maurier, Rebecca
      Publisher: Avon Date: 1938
      Rebecca has been dead for several months, but her sinister influence is still very much alive at Manderley, as Maxim de Winter's second wife soon comes to realize.
      Updated 9.13.06
    • Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics
      Author: Goldstein, Rebecca
      Publisher: Houghton $ 23 ISBN: 0395986591 Date: 2000
      star LJ
      This grand Gothic novel is about the outer reaches of passion--of the body and of the mind--and about the betrayals that so often breed in that perilous place. Properties of Light carries the reader into the very heart of a physics problem so huge it thwarted even Einstein: the nature of light.
      Updated 7/20/00
    • Clara Reeve
      Author: Hargrave, Leonie (aka Thomas Disch)
      Date: 1975
      Orphaned Clara inherits the fortune of her unpleasant great-uncle and marries into a strange family with dark secrets. Her marriage to Niles is never consummated and she has to contend with his wicked mother Zaide and her coarse manservant.
      "Disch, a poet and much acclaimed writer of speculative fiction under his own name, romps through the conventions while maintaining a scholar's eye on his detail . . . a tour de force . . . meticulouly recreated affectionate homage." - Michele Slung, The Gothic Mystery
      Updated 9.13.06
    • Ghost Writer
      Author: Harwood, John
      Publisher: Harcourt $ 25 ISBN: 0151010749 Date: 2004
      starKirkus
      Harwood's tantalizing tale of suspense and family secrets weaves Victorian ghost stories into the present where they start to come true. This astonishing, assured debut shows just how dangerous family skeletons--and stories--can be.
      Updated 9.13.06
    • The Probable Future
      Author: Hoffman, Alice
      Publisher: Doubleday $ 24.95 ISBN: 0385507607 Date: 2003
      starPW
      By turns chilling and enchanting The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows' legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Culminating in an exquisite ending, this story showcases the lavish literary gifts that have made Hoffman one of America's most treasured writers.
      Updated 5.6.03
    • Ex-Libris
      Author: King, Ross
      Publisher: Walker $ 26 ISBN:0802733573 Date: 2001
      starBookliststarKirkus
      A cryptic summons to a remote country house launches a London bookseller on an odyssey through 17th-century Europe. Given the task of restoring a magnificent library that has been pillaged during the English Civil War, Isaac Inchbold finds himself slipping from the surface of 1660s London into an underworld of spies, smugglers, ciphers, and forgeries.
      Updated 9.18.06
    • Darling Jim
      Author: Moerk, Christian
      $ 25 ISBN:9780805089479 Date: 2009
      starPW
      A modern gothic novel of suspense that reveals, through their diaries, the story of sisters who fall in love with a beguiling stranger, and of the town that turns a blind eye to his murderous ways. - Publisher Marketing
      Updated 2.26.09
    • Bellefleur
      Author: Oates, Joyce Carol
      Date: 1980
      Joyce Carol Oates's Bellefleur was hailed by critics as "a masterpiece" and "a gothic of major proportions."
      Also of interest: A Bloodsmoor Romance, 1982 and Mysteries of Winterthurn, 1984
      Updated 9.13.06
    • The Quincunx
      Author: Palliser, Charles
      Publisher: Ballantine $ 25 ISBN: 0345364635  Date: 1990
      An extraordinary modern novel in the Victorian tradition, Charles Palliser has created something extraordinary--a plot within a plot within a plot of family secrets, mysterious clues, low-born birth, high-reaching immorality, and, always, always the fog-enshrouded, enigmatic character of 19th century -- London itself.
      Updated 9.18.06
    • The Unburied
      Author: Palliser, Charles
      Publisher: FSG $ 24 ISBN: 0374280355 Date: 1999
      starLJstarPW
      Three separate tales are interwoven in this novel about Dr. Courtine, an unworldly academic, who is invited to spend the days before Christmas with an old friend. Doubly distracted, he becomes unwittingly enmeshed in the sequence of terrible events that follows his arrival.
      Updated 9.18.06
    • The Manikin
      Author: Scott, Joanna
      Publisher: Back Bay $ 22.50 ISBN: 0805039740 Date:1996
      starKirkusstarBooklist
      The Manikin is not a mannequin, but the curious estate of Henry Craxton, Sr. in a rural western New York State. Dubbed the "Henry Ford of Natural History," by 1917 Craxton has become America's preeminent taxidermist. Into this magic box of a world--filled with eerily inanimate gibbons and bats, owls and peacocks, quetzals and crocodiles--wanders young Peg Griswood, daughter of Craxton's newest housekeeper. Part coming-of-age story, part gothic mystery, and part exploration of the intimate embrace between art and life, The Manikin is compulsively readable and beautifully written.
      Updated 9.13.06
    • The Vanished Child
      Author: Smith, Sarah
      Publisher: Ballantine $ 20 ISBN: 0345373502 Date: 1992
      New England, 1887. The millionaire William Knight is brutally murdered and the only witness is his grandchild, Richard, who himself disappears, and is presumed dead. Eighteen years later, Richard is "recognized" in Switzerland in the person of Alexander von Reisden, and William Knight's only son, Gilbert, is convinced that this man is the long lost child. Reisden, himself, has no memory of any childhood, and his own growing obsession with finding the real Richard is leading him closer to a shattering thruth. And to a killer, still at large....
      Updated 9.13.06
    • Shadow of the Wind
      Author: Zafon, Carlos Ruiz
      Publisher: Penguin $ 24.95 ISBN: 1594200106 Date: 2004
      starKirkus
      The international literary sensation--a runaway bestseller in Spain--is about a boy's quest through the secrets and shadows of postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author whose book has proved as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget.
      Suggested Reading: Adult Books for Teens
      Updated 1.29.05

    Books that might be on Margaret's bookshelf:

    • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
    • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    • The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins
    • Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Udulfo and The Italian by Mrs Radcliffe
    • The Castle of Otranto by Horace and Hugh Walpow

    Margaret might hang out with Marianne Macdonald's Dido Hoare:

    • Ghost Walk
      Author: Macdonald, Marianne
      Publisher: St Martins $ 21.95 ISBN: 031219417X Date: 1998
      starKirkus
      Already far too busy with running her antiquarian bookshop, caring for a new baby, and worrying about her eccentric father, Dido nevertheless feels a compulsion to help solve the mystery when a crazy old customer is found murdered.
      Updated 9.13.06

    Other titles in the series include:

    • Death's Autograph, 1997
    • Smoke Screen, 1999
    • Road Kill, 2000
    • Die Once, 2003
    • 3 Monkeys, 2005
    • Faking It (2006)

    Key Authors:

    • Joan Aiken
    • Evelyn Berckman
    • Madeline Brent
    • Dorothy Eden
    • Barbara Erskine
    • Isabelle Holland
    • Victoria Holt
    • Susan Howatch
    • Barbara Michales
    • Anya Seton
    • Mary Stewart
    • Phyllis A. Whitney

    Seeing Stars

    Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

    2012 Lists

    more stars lists...

    Hotlists@ Google Docs

    Crime Fiction... 2012 | 2011

    Fiction... 2012 | 2011

    (lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

     

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