Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gothic Romance is perfect for this time of year! #gothicromance

I remember growing up in the mid-1980's as a teenager, I loved going to the library and borrowing books by Victoria Holt and VC Andrews. They took me to far away places, introduced me to intriguing mysteries and unexplainable events. I encountered a damsel in distress and handsome, dark anti-heroes. Ah, my first love was undoubtedly Gothic Romance.

From the Editor:

Gothic literature received its start in 1764 when Horace Walpole wrote "The Castle of Oranto." Ann Radcliffe further defined the genre, giving it a sense of legitimacy when she explained the supernatural elements of the story with natural, believable, causes. She also introduced the brooding hero.  What Radcliffe did though, was give the 'gothic' the twist that defines it, by showing supernatural events grounded in reality.

Gothic romances were popular in the 1960's – 1980's. They're still popular, but paranormal romances have taken over. Some of the elements in a gothic romance include:

Mystery and suspense are important to the genre as well as darkness and "unexplainable" events. The more shadows the better.

The setting compliments atmosphere. The setting is intended to be dark, dreary, creating a feeling of claustrophia or fearfulness. The setting is usually an old castle, or a family estate, possibly near a cave, or even an old abbey. The setting is meant to emphase spooky sounds, secret passages, mysterious rooms, trapped doors, and webbed staircases. The message of the setting is to paint a place of decay and desolation.

The heroine is usually a damsel in distress with no family or very little family. She may be forced to do things she doesn't want to or let down someone. The hero is her protector who falls madly in love with her and will ultimately save her from the villain.

Gothic romance "ups" the emotion – sadness, fear, passion, crying, agitation, screaming, terror and obsessive love help build absolute desperation. Emotions also include great passion, panic, grief, and perhaps this is the appeal to the young teenage girl who feels emotions tenfold, much like the gothic heroine.

A gothic plot involves the heroine's fall from grace and her protector's efforts to save her. Complications include a powerful villain, unexplainable events (rooted in natural causes) omens, prophecies, and the fear of death.

This is a metaphor like rain which is used to represent something else like sorrow.

Some modern gothic romance writers include Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt.  Question: Who is your favorite gothic romance author? Who would you recommend for your teenager daughter/neice? 

Have a spooky Halloween!

Reivews for Sunrise Over Brasov:

 "You will love this paranormal romantic novel." 5 Stars, Reader's Favorites Reviews


Prince Michael Sigmaringen joins his sister-in-law, Caroline, and the vampire prince, Darius, in a daring rescue of his beloved at Poiana Brasov. However things aren't what they appear. Upon freeing Rosa from the werewolf, Clement, another wolf, Rickard follows them.

Michael soon discovers Rickard is a new breed of werewolf – one who can control his lupine nature and his transformations. Michael and his companions arrive at the vampire fortress, Rasnov, but can go no further when Clement attacks wanting Rosa and Rickard back.

Michael's courage, strength, and convictions are challenged beyond his limits, but his love for Rosa proves his guiding force. Can Michael finally rid his family of their lupine haunting and win Rosa's heart?


He raised his hand and lowered his hood. An inherent strength filled his profile. Confidence. Concern. Relief.
Rosa's breath jammed in her throat. He looked familiar. He smelled familiar.
"Rosa, it's Michael. Let's go."
"I'm not going anywhere with you."
A frown set against his rugged features. "I don't have time to argue -- now put on a warm dress and cloak."
"No." She was not going anywhere with him despite the relief in his voice.
He sighed and shut the door. Moving with fluid grace, he crossed the room, jerked the door to her closet open and threw the items he wanted her to wear on her bed. "Get. Dressed."
"No." She was determined not to budge, despite the danger outside.
"Rosa, we're leaving."
"I'm staying."
"Why would you want to stay? Clement kidnapped you."
Disconcerted, she pointedly glanced away from his hard stare. What did he mean by kidnapped? Clement didn't keep her behind bars and feed her only bread and water. Rosa could even go into Brasov to shop as long as Lucien or one of the bodyguards went with her.
"I'm going to take you back to your mother."
Her head snapped toward his direction. Mother? Of course she had a mother -- a family, even -- only she had no recollection of them. So why did her body fill with warmth at the mention of her mother by a man she hadn't seen before, but was hauntingly familiar? She pursed her lips, torn by conflicting emotions.
"Caroline and Darius can't keep this up. Now get dressed or I'll dress you myself."
"You'll find me an unwilling subject."
He drew in a deep breath and raked a hand through his thick ebony hair. "You are exasperating."
"So I've been told."





  1. Great feature article, Stephanie. I still love Gothic Romance. In fact, I would like to write one, but there aren't many editors these days who are looking for stories in first person. Victoria Holt will always be my favorite Gothic author, and I read her books again, and again. Interesting, though to me, nowadays, I can see a lot of repetition in her dialogue that gets on my nerves. A problem with over-critiquing without thinking about it, I guess. Anyway, your article at this time of year was perfect. Enjoyed coming by.

    1. Shirley, yes, Victorian Holt will always be my favorite, but reading her now and reading her when I was a teenager is two different things for sure. I can tell researched well, but her writing isn't as dynamic as it could be. Still, I enjoy her stories to this day.


  2. I devoured Gothic romance when I was a teen, also. I loved Mary Stewart, in particular, and periodically re-read her Gothics. Good job of defining the appeal of the genre.

    1. Lyndi, thanks for popping in. I think writing a gothic story is a definate challenge and I admire those who do.

  3. Sounds like another wonderful story! I'm not much of a scary story person, although I do love a good murder mystery. :) I wish you much success with your new release!

    1. Melissa, thanks for stopping by. I think gothic combines both, making it perfect for Spooktober!

  4. I absolutely love Gothic romance and devoured every single Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart book when they came out! My only nod to this so far is my Victorian novella, Mischief at Mulberry Manor, but I'd love to write more of this kind of genre. I need to catch up on reading yours!

    1. Rosemary, I haven't read Mary Stewart but she's going in my TBR pile. I'd love to check out your mistress of mulberry manor.


  5. Very interesting post. I always learn something new from your blog.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Mona. I always enjoy a visit with you.

  6. As a teen, I started with the Bronte sisters and moved on to everything by Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt and the undisputed queen, Mary Stewart. Haven't read them in ages, but still love those memories.