Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Return of the Gothic Novel

When I was a teenager there were tons of Gothic novels to be devoured, loaded with atmosphere and suspense. The trend seemed to die out and I moved on to historical fiction and science fiction. In the past few years Gothic novels seem to be making a resurgence. The Lantern, The Ghost Orchid, The Butterfly Cabinet, and The Thirteenth Tale all have elements of a Gothic novel. They are spooky and mysterious and extremely hard to put down. I went to bed two hours early last night because I needed some extra sleep. My best laid plans were foiled by a terrific new Gothic novel by Lucinda Riley. It starts off on a rugged cliff in Ireland, where a small girl in a long white gown stares sightlessly out to sea listening to her dead mother calling her. Grania Ryan, who recently fled NYC after a heartbreaking loss, sees Aurora and rescues her, the start of their relationship. Grania's mother is very wary because the two families have a long tragic history together from the Edwardian era on. Through flashbacks and letters the tangled story is slowly revealed. I ended up going to sleep an hour later than usual and I wouldn't have quit then if my eyes hadn't stubbornly insisted on closing while I was trying to read. Damn you The Girl on a Cliff!

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