A Lifetime of Gothic Romance Love

Hi, It’s Michelle here. I fell in love with historicals reading Victoria Holt’s gothic romances. Everything about them just sucked me right in. I was already a total history nut and of course a hopVH1eless romantic. So to dive into these stories of ancient manor house on wind-swept moors, and dashing, often brooding and mysterious, and always devastatingly handsome heroes, I was hooked.

These stories also had a great deal of intrigue and danger. It wasn’t just the governess falling in love with the lord of the manor. There was always another element – the mysterious death of his first wife; sVH3trange noises in the attic at night; a beautiful noblewoman who pretended to be our heroine’s friend, but was she really?; near-death “accidents”; ghostly apparitions. The danger and mystery only served to heighten the stakes and intensify the complicated relationship between our lovers. I LOVED IT. Ate it up. Read every one of her books (under 3 of her pen names anyway) that I could get my hands on. I’ve read them all more times than I can count. And when I decided to write a novel of my own, I penned To Trust a Thief, a Victorian tale of romance, danger, and intrigue that is, to this day, my favorite of all my books (just don’t tell the others) 😉TTaT

So here is my dilemma. Recently, the movie Crimson Peak hit the theaters. The moment I heard of it I had my money waving in the air. IT WAS A GOTHIC ROMANCE ON THE BIG SCREEN! I’ve been reading these my whole life. Even the ghostly ones (I’m a total chicken when it comes to ghost films…Ghostbusters is about as much as I can handle, and even then only in the daylight lol But books I do slightly better with. At least as long as they are gothic romances).

tom hiddlestonThen I saw the trailer. I was equal parts SQUEE OMG THIS IS AMAZING and EEP OMG HOLD ME I’M TERRIFIED! One the one hand – it’s gothic romance and from what I’ve seen and heard it is completely classic, amazing gothic romance. With Tom Hiddleston. Which is almost enough right there to sway me 😉 On the other hand, it looks terrifyingly creepy. Like REALLY.

So…has anyone out there seen it who can attest to it’s nightmare inducing creep-factor? 😀 And, do you love gothic romances? Who are your favorite authors?

Follow Michelle McLean:

Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and Goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and a knack for explaining complicated things to uncomplicated people.

Michelle’s non-fiction works include guides on how to write essays, term papers, literary analysis essays, and poetry. She also writes romance with a good dose of mystery and humor, historicals, and a paranormal here and there.

When Michelle’s not editing, reading or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. She resides in PA with her husband and two children, an insanely hyper dog, and three very spoiled cats.

16 Responses

  1. laurenlinwood

    Michelle – I’m also a HUGE Victoria Holt fan! I still have every one of her paperbacks. She’s one of the reasons that I wanted to become a writer. To me, Mistress of Mellyn is the perfect Gothic romance. I haven’t seen Crimson Peak, but I’m intrigued. Going over to Amazon Prime now to see if it’s available!

  2. Katherine Bone

    Lady Michelle!!! I love gothic romances too and Jane Eyre is one of my all-time FAVorite stories! I’m sure I read Victoria Holt’s books, but as of now, can’t remember which ones. I’m off to make sure I have read them and if not, get a copy. Woot!!! Sooo good! Great genre!

    As for Crimson Peak? My youngest daughter saw the movie and LOVED it!!! She said the creepy nuances weren’t bad at all. There was an air of suspense that kept her mesmerized throughout. I actually read that the director wanted to tap into old suspenseful movie film-making by adding subtle nuances to the set. For instance: the wallpaper leading up to the staircase in the house has words, and forgive me for not being able to remember which ones exactly, but something like “Be afraid” written throughout the design so tiny that your eyes pick up the awareness without you even realizing you’re seeing it. Genius!!! And this reminds me I still need to watch it!!! Love Tom Hiddleston!

  3. Barbara Monajem

    I’ve only read a few Gothics, but what I’ve read, I enjoyed. Haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t until I can do so at home…but it sounds great! 🙂

  4. Diane Eberly

    Just love Victoria Holt stories, started reading her, Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, Anya Seton when I was young but have increased my reading as age creeps up. Read every night before bed, I try to read 1-2 chapters a night, Romantic historical mystery love it. Fantasy also and paranormal romance. Try different genres some I like some I don’t. I’m 72 so enjoy reading about young romantic hero and heroines.

  5. Lea Ann Edwards

    Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney are the books I cut my historical reading teeth on! My grandmother and mother got me started when I was in high school, and I still periodically go back and read their books. They bring back warm memories of sitting with my grandmother and both of us reading and then talking about how much we loved the books. I really miss those days!

  6. Sue-Ellen Welfonder

    Oh, man, I loved these, too. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, Anya Seton. I suspect I have my great love of atmosphere from having loved and devoured the classic gothics as a young girl/teen. I miss them. Know fast and snappy dialogue, hot sex, and little description is ‘in’ nowadays, but, to me, if a story could take place in a broom closet, I stop reading fast. These old classics swept the reader into a wondrous and exciting world and you were -there- on the windswept moors or in the dark passageways of a cliff-top manor house. If a story doesn’t ‘take me there,’ it’s flat for me. All-time faves: Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn (have been there! 🙂 ) and her Frenchman’s Creek. And Anya Seton’s Katherine. Not a gothic, but for me, the greatest romance of all time. Great post!

  7. Sue-Ellen Welfonder

    PS – Hadn’t heard of this new film. Sounds just my cuppa. I love the creepy stuff, so that wouldn’t bother me. Thanks for sharing word of it today. Hope you’ll go see it.

  8. Maggi Andersen

    I’m a great fan of Holt and Whitney. I haven’t seen the movie, but I love the actor. I think they go overboard with thrillers now, make them too gory and full on and not nearly as clever as they used to be. I suspect they’ve done that here.

  9. Glenda

    Crimson Peak is a perfect gothic horror movie. Plus it’s got both Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston! I honestly am not a super fan of horror movies, but this is decidedly creepy without much need for the paranormal bits that are thrown in to add to the creepiness. 🙂 Honestly, I didn’t have nightmares, but one of the people I saw it with said she did. It might not have as much impact on a TV screen….

  10. ki pha

    Oh, I love horror films! And novels, yes please. I did watch Crimson Peak, and for some reason I never finished it. The loading took forever when I was watching it so I had to save it for later but I can say it was definitely great.

  11. Michelle McLean

    hmmm good points about the small screen. Plus, I can turn the volume down – cutting out the suspenseful music and sound effects takes a lot of the impact away. Which is a good thing (for me lol) when it comes to horror films. I might have to give it a try. In broad daylight. With the hubs right next to me. With my finger hovered over the mute and fast forward buttons LOL