Gothic Romance Books: Everything You Need to Know

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The word gothic is thrown around a lot this time of year when you’re browsing for your next read. We all know what it means, right? It evokes images of mysterious strangers, haunted ruins and women scarpering around in improbably white dresses. It got me curious though. What exactly is a gothic novel? Today I explore what exactly a gothic novel is and then recommend some gothic romance books that have caught my eye!

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What is a gothic novel?

I like to think I am an expert at defining book genres, especially romance ones. I’ve been reading for a long time and have some very clear ideas about what defines a genre. But, although I have read my fair share of gothic romance books, when it came to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), I struggled a little bit. So today, we are going to explore the topic together, then I have a bunch of gothic romance books I know you’ll want to dive into!

Click here to skip straight to the gothic romance recommendations!

The atmosphere of a gothic novel

When I think about a gothic novel, what immediately comes to mind is the atmosphere of the book. It’s dark, disorientating and oppressive. If it were a film it would be black and white or in deep dark tones, with little to no colour. It’s not quite horror with blood splattered walls and hooks dangling from the ceiling, but there’s tension and a certain amount of expectation that some unknown terrible thing is going to happen.

But when you look more deeply into it, what elements of a book is creating this very “gothic” atmosphere?

The weather

A romance set on a beach with white sands, clear seas and the sun beaming down creates a feeling of optimism and fun. Yet, when we venture into a gothic novel, the weather is often used to help create that claustrophobic and dangerous atmosphere. A dark and stormy night. Violent and crashing seas. Mist and fog shrouding the landscape. Thunder, lightning and the driving rain. It’s tumultuous, violent and unwelcoming, often mirroring the thoughts and feelings of the characters themselves. Symbolism abounds in a gothic novel.

the place

The setting of a gothic novel is key. Wuthering Heights wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t set on the Yorkshire Moors. And where would we be without Manderley in Rebecca? Gothic literature is rife with haunted, decaying buildings and foreboding and inhospitable landscapes. Often the setting feels like a character in of itself.

The space in which the novel takes place is important in any novel, but it is particularly apparent in gothic literature. It confines and defines the character. It usually has special significance, perhaps a great tragedy took place there, or it holds a secret. Or is the meeting place for a secret society. Much like the weather, the setting of a gothic novel will usually have some symbolic significance.

classic gothic novels with a genre defining atmosphere

The characters in a gothic novel

Lets get down to the characters. The gothic novel is swarmed with mysterious and handsome figures, damsels in distress. Heroes who aren’t heroes. Villains who aren’t villains. And every one of them have secrets and sorrows.

The anti hero

Knocking around the romance genre for as long as I have, I often see the anti-hero, that guy who lives in the morally grey area, talked about like it’s just been discovered. Well, let me introduce you to Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre circa 1847. One of the great things about gothic novels is that the characters are flawed and burdened by the past. They have faults and haven’t always done the right thing.

The villian

You can’t have a gothic novel without having the villain. Often handsome and in a position of power, especially over the heroine, they are pivotal. But, their charming urbane surface hides a dark soul. Or maybe not. Villains can be wonderfully complex characters in a gothic novel. Think The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, where the titular character is handsome and charming, innocence turned monster.

The heroine

The classic gothic novel can leave a lot to be desired for the female protagonist. She’s often the victim; powerless, oppressed and virginal. She spends her time waiting to be saved from the miserable situation she finds herself in. Modern gothic tales have made great strides in this area and in our recommendations below you won’t find our heroines quite as helpless.

classic gothic novels with the anti-hero, anti-villain and damsel’s in distress

The supernatural

There is often a supernatural and mystical element to a gothic novel. You can find ghosts, hauntings, demons, vampires, werewolves and any number of things that go bump in the night. It ties into gothic literatures love of symbolism, not to mention adding to that unique atmosphere. When you step into a gothic novel, you’re moving away from reality as you know it. Instead you are entering a darker realm where your past has a deep and terrible impact on your present.

You can also expect omens, portents, curses and plenty of foreshadowing. It adds to the sense of unreality and gives an extra edge to the fear and suspense that a good gothic novel can provoke.

classic gothic novels with supernatural elements

Common themes in a gothic novel

The most prevalent theme you find in a gothic novel is that of the past coming back to haunt you in some way. It can be something the main protagonist has done, the skeletons coming out of the closet (or maybe a wife in the attic?). Or it can be something a predecessor has done that comes to bear on the protagonist, perhaps in mundane ways, but often in the form of curses and hauntings.

There’s often an exploration of psychology and madness. Someone’s decaying mind paired with the crumbling castle ruins the novel is set in – once again, symbolism playing an important role. It’s character driven with the protagonist experiencing a full spectrum of dark emotions, creating a delicious melodrama for us to sink our fangs into.

Perhaps you’re in the mood for something gothic romance adjacent? Check out these posts:

Recommendations: Gothic Romance Books

To help you decide what kind of gothic romance book you are in the mood for, I have divided list by certain aspects of a gothic novel. It doesn’t mean that the other elements aren’t there, it just means that particular element is what really struck me about the book.

Gothic romance books with that unique atmosphere and setting

One of the things that really stands out about the gothic genre is the atmosphere and setting. Whether it’s a spooky ruined castle, a lonely mansion full of dark secrets and mysterious characters or a foreboding and unforgiving landscape. Every book on this list has some element of this, it wouldn’t be a gothic novel with out it! But, the atmosphere and setting in the gothic romance books I am listing below really struck me.

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The Haunting of Brynn Wilder
by Wendy Webb

Available on kindle unlimited

why i want to read this:

I love the set-up. The mysterious boarding house, the eclectic group of strangers who can either be benign or turn into a nightmare. The hint at something supernatural, the way it addresses loss. What exactly is haunting Brynn…grief or ghosts? Then there’s the handsome, mysterious and beautifully tattooed potential love interest. I am sold.

After a devastating loss, Brynn Wilder escapes to Wharton, a tourist town on Lake Superior, to reset. Checking into a quaint boarding house for the summer, she hopes to put her life into perspective. In her fellow lodgers, she finds a friendly company of strangers: the frail Alice, cared for by a married couple with a heartbreaking story of their own; LuAnn, the eccentric and lovable owner of the inn; and Dominic, an unsettlingly handsome man inked from head to toe in mesmerizing tattoos.

But in this inviting refuge, where a century of souls has passed, a mystery begins to swirl. Alice knows things about Brynn, about all of them, that she shouldn’t. Bad dreams and night whispers lure Brynn to a shuttered room at the end of the hall, a room still heavy with a recent death. And now she’s become irresistibly drawn to Dominic—even in the shadow of rumors that wherever he goes, suspicious death follows.

In this chilling season of love, transformation, and fear, something is calling for Brynn. To settle her past, she may have no choice but to answer.

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Beyond the Sea
by L.H. Cosway

On a lonely cliff beside the vast blue sea there is a house.

In the house there lives a girl, and in the girl there lives a dream.

Soon she’ll be as free as the fishes that swim beneath the water. But until then she bides her time and lives quietly, her every move ruled over by an uncaring, heartless stepmother.

The hope for freedom is all she has to hold onto. So close she can almost taste it. But when her stepmother’s estranged younger brother comes to stay, he presents a mystery that lures her in.

The girl doesn’t understand that beneath the allure of the unknown sometimes all we find are horrors. And in searching for the truth, her heart is in danger of falling like a rock to the bottom of the deep dark sea.

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Gothikana
by RuNyx

Available on kindle unlimited

An unusual girl; An enigmatic man; An ancient castle. What could go wrong?

An outcast her entire life, Corvina Clemm is left adrift after losing her mother. When she receives the admission letter from the mysterious University of Verenmore, she accepts it as a sign from the universe. The last thing she expects though is an olden, secluded castle on top of a mountain riddled with secrets, deceit, and death.

An enigma his entire life, Vad Deverell likes being a closed book but knowing exactly everything that happens in the university. A part-time professor working on his thesis, Vad has been around long enough to know the dangers the castle possesses.
And he knows the moment his paths cross with Corvina, she’s dangerous to everything that he is.

They shouldn’t have caught each other’s eye. They cannot be. But a chill-inducing century-old mystery forces them to collide. People have disappeared every five years for over a hundred years, and Corvina is getting clues to unraveling it all, and Vad needs to keep an eye on her.

And so begins a tale of the mystique, the morbid, the macabre, and a deep love that blossoms in the unlikeliest of places.

The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

The Hacienda
by Isabel Canas

why i want to read this

This sounds exciting, mysterious and creepy. Rife with an atmosphere of loneliness and abandonment. I can’t wait to get stuck in and see what exactly is happening. I am also intrigued by the thought of a forbidden romance between our heroine and the young priest who also happens to be a witch.

During the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father was executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security that his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark the doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will save her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to fight off the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful, forbidden attraction. But even he might not be enough to battle the darkness.

Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.

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Master of Salt & Bones
by Keri Lake

Available on kindle unlimited

Meet the Devil of Blackthorne Manor…

When I was a little girl, I dreamed a handsome knight would come and rescue me from my wretched mother. He’d ride up on his white steed and break the curse I’ve been fated to carry since the day I was born.

Funny how things changed over time. How the fairy tale twisted into something far more crooked, darker than I ever imagined.

In reality, my knight is scarred and broken, living alone in a castle of bones that overlooks the sea. He isn’t searching for me. He never was.

Lucian Blackthorne is as cursed as I am, and equally shunned by the locals, the fishers of men, who believe him to be the devil in the flesh.

Perhaps he is, with the way his amber eyes draw me in, ignite me like an infernal blaze. And the sins he whispers in my ear are as wickedly intoxicating as the man himself.

Yet, his touch is heaven and his will is my weakness.

He calls us forbidden, an unsalvageable tragedy, with no happy end. Maybe we are. But in this story, he’s the one who needs saving.

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Too Wicked to Kiss
by Erica Ridley

HIS TOUCH HOLDS HER CAPTIVE

From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait…

TO HIS EVERY DARK DESIRE

Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have killed in cold blood. Initially, his towering presence and brusque manner instill fear… until his seductive attentions and unexpected vulnerability conquer her resistance.

But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?

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The Death of Jane Lawrence
by Caitlin Starling

why i want to read this

A couple of things drew me to this book: One I love a heroine who takes charge of her own destiny. In a classic gothic novel, the heroine is the perpetual victim, so I love seeing that turned round. Two, the crumbling manor which the heroine must never visit. Colour me intrigued. Especially when the manor seems to transform our heroine’s new husband from competent surgeon to a terrified and paranoid madman during the night time hours. I need to know what is happening!

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town.

Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him. By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to.

Arkana-runyx

Arkana
by RuNyx

A rumored sorceress; A villainous scoundrel; An ancient castle. What could go wrong?

A woman in hiding, Lenore Emmeranne finds herself at Verenmore after a series of unfortunate events, hoping it would be a clean slate for her. Keeping her head down and blending into the shadows, she simply wants to rest her feet before taking off again.

A man in power, Draven Constantine knows every crack and crevice of the castle. So when he finds her, it breaks his ennui and piques his interest, and their descent into doom begins.

Set in 1872 at the University of Verenmore, death, deceit, and darkness invade the mountain. Something beyond the understanding is at play, slithering down the spine as Lenore and Draven weave through lies, sink into lust and hold onto life.

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Wolfsgate
by Cat Porter

Available on kindle unlimited

A fateful shipwreck leaves the young and wealthy Lord Brandon presumed dead, and his estate in England lies abandoned and ripe for the picking. Years later, his step-cousin Justine finds him alive and drug-addicted, and against his family’s wishes, boldly brings him home to reclaim his inheritance.

Dark surprises disturb Brandon at every turn—a ruined property, a traitorous, bitter family, his fiancée married to his rival. And Justine, the shy, quiet girl he grew up with is no longer a little girl, but an alluring and determined young woman. Can he trust her or is she a part of the intricate web of lies and half-truths?

As they work together to salvage what’s left of Wolfsgate and their place in society, age-old jealousies and shadowy secrets threaten at every turn, but irresistible passions run wild and prove even more powerful.

Justine is his wife, after all.

Justine and Brandon have been bound in a marriage forced upon them by their family for their own deceitful purposes. But the deep, loyal bond that grows between husband and wife isn’t part of their enemies’ plan.
In fact, it could destroy their plan.

No one counted on Brandon and Justine falling in love.
Not even Brandon and Justine.

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A Lesson in Thorns
by Sierra Simone

why i want to read this

Would it be shallow to say it is the cover that draws me to this book? It’s really lovely and really plays on some gothic themes. The white virginal dress of the gothic heroine being subverted by it gaping open. The blood red rose with it’s thorny stem. It’s a beautifully provocative cover. Gothic romance books were used as a way to explore sexuality in the strict Victorian era, and Simone pushes that even further in A Lesson in Thorns. It’s an erotic take on the gothic genre and I am here for it.

Twelve years ago, I left Thornchapel—and the two boys I gave my heart to—behind.  

And now I’ve returned, hopeful…and wary.  Because it’s so very easy to be drawn back into the world of the seductive and elegant Auden Guest . . . and into the world of his worst enemy, St. Sebastian Martinez. The beautiful and brooding St. Sebastian is as irresistible as he ever was, and Auden is just as handsome and arrogant, and the three of us can’t seem to unknot ourselves from each other. 

From the hasty promise we three made all those years ago.

As Thornchapel slowly tightens its coil of truths and lies around us, our reluctant threesome starts unravelling into filthy, holy pleasure and pain. Together we’ve awakened a fate that will either bloom like a rose . . . or destroy us all.

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The Curse of Morton Abbey
by Clarissa Harwood

Solicitor Vaughan Springthorpe knows perfectly well that Sir Peter Spencer’s offer of employment seems too good to be true: he hires her sight unseen, offering a suspiciously large salary to prepare the sale of Morton Abbey, his crumbling Yorkshire estate. But few people in late-Victorian England will entrust their legal affairs to a woman, and Vaughan is desperate to prove herself.

Once at Morton, Vaughan discovers that someone is determined to drive her away. An intruder tries to enter her bedroom at night, gunshots are fired outside her window, and an eerie crying echoes from the uninhabited second floor. Even Netherton, the nearest village, seems odd: the picturesque houses and perfect-looking families are haunted by dark secrets connected to Morton Abbey itself.

To complete her work and solve the mystery at the heart of Morton, Vaughan needs the help of Joe Dixon, the handsome gardener, and Nicholas Spencer, her employer’s irascible invalid brother. But with her questions diverted, her progress thwarted, and her sleep disrupted by the crying, will Vaughan escape Morton Abbey with her sanity intact or be cursed by the secrets within?

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The Ancestor
by Danielle Trussoni

It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.

At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.

But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.

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Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

why I want to read this

I’ve seen this book everywhere this year and once I read the blurb I immediately added it to my list of books to read. It’s a dark gothic tale, with a really interesting and complex heroine and I can’t wait to start reading it.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.   
 
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
 
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 
 
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Six years after four members of the Blackwood family died of arsenic poisoning, the three survivors—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or Merricat—live in peaceful solitude. Merricat has devised an eccentric set of laws and defensive charms to keep the estate safe from intruding villagers. However, a stranger appears one day—cousin Charles, who is after the Blackwood fortune—and manages to infiltrate their carefully guarded lives. Merricat resorts to severe measures after failing to elude him through polite or occult means, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the disclosure of a dreadful secret.

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Gothic romance books featuring hauntings and ghosts

It would be madness not to have a section of gothic romance books featuring ghosts and hauntings. Having a spectre in a dark and dreary castle, or flitting about long dark corridors in run down mansion in pretty much synonymous with the gothic genre. So, here you will find books where ghosts are the monster of the day!

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The Widow of Rose House
by Diana Biller

why i want to read this

Actually, I have already read this one! This is a straight up recommendation. Especially if you you, like me, are a bit of a scardy cat and want something lighter on the creepy factor and focuses more on the romance and the development of the characters. The haunting is an important aspect of the story, however, what I remember most is really enjoying the romance.

Check out what our review of The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

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The Witch of Willow Hall
by Hester Fox

In Salem, they burned. Now, they will rise.

New Oldbury, 1821

The house holds its breath, trying to outlast me…

Something has awakened in Willow Hall. Eighteen-year-old Lydia Montrose can feel it. But she has no idea what it is.

Rocked by rumor and scandal, Lydia, her parents, and her sisters, Catherine and Emeline, fled their sparkling life in Boston for the sleepy country estate. But bone-chilling noises in the night have Lydia convinced their idyllic new home wasn’t exactly vacant when they arrived.

The Salem witch trials cast a long shadow over the Montrose family as the cloying heat of summer in Massachusetts mingles with something sinister in the air. The sprawling history of Willow Hall is no stranger to secrets, and its dark past soon calls to Lydia, igniting ancient magic she never knew she possessed. But with menacing forces unwilling to rest, threatening to tear her family apart, Lydia must learn to harness her newly discovered power or risk losing everyone she holds dear.

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Fables & Other Lies
by Claire Contreras

Available on kindle unlimited

Do you believe in curses?

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true.

No’ until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill.

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away.

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A Stitch in Time
by Kelley Armstrong

why i want to read this

My biggest reason for wanting to read this is that I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong. She has written some of my favourite urban fantasy and thriller books and I expect she will nail the gothic romance genre as well. Especially with such an interesting premise, a time travelling, ghost story romance? Sign me up please.

Read our review of A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong

Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.

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The Isle of Sin and Shadows
by Keri Lake

Available on kindle unlimited

This island alone boasts more ghost stories than all of Louisiana combined.
And I’m one of them.

In the Louisiana swamplands, ghost stories are as much a part of childhood as chasing fireflies and crawfishing. They never much scared me, though, nor the possibility of evil out to do me harm. Until the night I watched shadows come to life and butcher everything I loved.

With a stranger’s help, I managed to escape to an isolated place miles north, and, in time, became my own ghost story. A cautionary tale for the locals.

Nearly a decade passed, before I returned to my birthplace, in hopes of unearthing long-awaited answers. Instead, I found something I wasn’t looking for. Someone. A remedy for my loneliness.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, Thierry Bergeron is no elixir. He’s a deadly poison, cursed by the demons of his past, and feared by those who call him the elusive Rougarou of the bayou. A devious rogue, whose seductive whispers and rough hands haunt my dreams. The big bad wolf that defiles me without apology, or remorse.

I should resist him, but I can’t.

And when the shadows return to stake their claim on me, his darkness is the only safe place to hide.

Gothic romance books with a mystery

Normally at the core of gothic romance books there’s a mystery. Why are these spooky and terrible things happening? Why are they happening to that particular character? And, why are they happening now? But, the books below take that a step further and veer us slightly into the gothic mystery/thriller genre as our characters find themselves investigating terrible and unusual crimes.

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Anatomy: A Love Story
by Dana Schwartz

why i want to read this

Once again, another cover has drawn me in. I love that at first glance it looks like a heart and it’s only on looking carefully a second (and for me, a third) time that you realise it’s a young lady kneeling down in a red dress. I’m also a sucker for a historical mystery and this one seems very exciting, set in Edinburgh, with a hint of the supernatural and some romance. It’s the perfect read for me.

Edinburgh, 1817. 

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

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Cameron’s Landing
by Anne Stuart

A governess is not a murder investigator. To new governess Lorna MacDougal, that seemed a safe and reasonable assumption. Until her employer, the grand matriarch of the Cameron family sees fit to change all the rules of childcare. The woman seriously expects Lorna to discover who murdered her husband.

The family’s three sons are obvious suspects: Stephen with his shallow wife, Gentle Charles who wouldn’t hurt a fly, and the most dangerous of them all, Alexander Cameron—the black sheep of the family and the most irresistible man Lorna has ever met.

But no one is as they seem, and her worst enemy is the one man she can’t trust. The mystery deepens until death follows, and Lorna can’t decide if she’s in love with a monster or a wronged man. Or whether she’ll be the next one to die.

Book cover Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper
by Kerri Maniscalco

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

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The Bone Orchard
by Sara A. Mueller

why i want to read this

If you want something spooky and unique, then look no further. This book looks like a difficult but intriguing read, taking on the subject of sex work and the power dynamics behind it. If you want something to really get your teeth into, this could be the book for you.

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.

Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. She tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.

Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.

But now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.

If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.

Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.

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The Widow of Pale Harbor
by Hester Fox

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Pale Harbor, Maine, where there is a vacancy for a new minister. Gideon and his late wife had always dreamed of building their own church, and Pale Harbor is the perfect opportunity.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town of Pale Harbor. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople know that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a widow who lives with a spinster maid in the decaying Castle Carver on the edge of town. Sophronia is a recluse, rumored to be a witch who killed her husband.

When Gabriel meets her, he knows the charming, beautiful woman cannot be guilty of anything. Together, Gabriel and Sophronia realize that the mysterious events have one thing in common: they all contain an element from the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And when the events escalate to murder, Gabriel and Sophronia must find the real killer, before it’s too late for them both.

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Dark Desires
by Eve Silver

Available on kindle unlimited

Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he’s a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances … and the murders.

With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she is falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man … or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?

Retellings of classic gothic novels

I spoke about some of the classic gothic novels form the 18th and 19th century when I was exploring exactly what the genre was. And, there’s nothing quite like a retelling, or reimagining of those familiar stories for current times and tastes. How would it play out, if in The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux Christine went with the Phantom instead of the insipid Raoul? Well, maybe we will find out!

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House of Salt and Sorrows
by Erin A. Craig

why i want to read this

This is a reimagining of the Brothers Grimm Twelve Dancing Princesses, the story goes that twelve princesses are locked in by their father every night. However, each morning he finds their slippers torn up from them dancing. How do they get out? Where are they going? Who are they dancing with? I think Erin A. Craig will address those questions and give them a gothic twist!

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Book Cover Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne

For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor’s ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own.

When her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory? Or is Will (or whatever his name is!) her dream man, tailored for her in every way? And can he survive what was done to him in the name of science, and love?

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Melmoth
by Sarah Perry

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.

But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . .

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Within These Wicked Walls
by Lauren Blackwood

why i want to read this

Jane Eyre is possible one of my favourite books, so whenever I see a retelling or reimagining I am intrigued. Lauren Blackwood gives the classic story an Ethopian twist and I can’t wait to read it and see how it is!

What the heart desires, the house destroys…

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

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What Moves The Dead
by T. Kingfisher

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

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Music of the Night
by Angela J. Ford

Available on kindle unlimited

A haunted tower, a mysterious instructor, and the lure of the music of the night. . .

After the death of her father, Aria is left penniless and destitute. To avoid working the streets, she becomes the ward of a Count and moves to a remote town called High Tower.

High Tower is a gloomy place with one vivid attraction: the theater. Lords and ladies come from afar to be seduced by a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Many are warned to stay away from High Tower’s dangerous enchantments, but it’s a warning Aria is forced to ignore. Determined to take her life back into her hands, she and the Count make a deal. She can avoid an arranged marriage if she learns to sing for him.

When Aria stumbles across a mysterious man in a dark tower, she begs to learn the power of song from him. Although reluctant, the man agrees to teach her the music of the night. Between midnight meetings and emotional singing lessons, Aria falls in love with her alluring instructor despite his shadowy past.

But something deadly stirs, awoken by the desire of its master.

Evening reveries become haunted with terror, blood, and murder. Rumors claim the man in the tower is behind the madness that haunts High Tower, a truth Aria is loath to believe. For she just gained the desire of her heart.

What she doesn’t know is that her haunted instructor intends to use her for his own purposes. . .

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The Madman’s Daughter
by Megan Shepherd

why i want to read this

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells moves from the classic sci-fi genre straight into the gothic in this reimagining. It sounds half gothic, half creature feature and I love this young adult blend of horror, thriller, sci fi, gothic and romance.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London — working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward — both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

Gothic romance books with a hint of the supernatural

I’ve already addressed ghosts, but there are such a broad spectrum of other supernatural phenomena in gothic romance books, that I had to create a separate section just for them. So, this section explores gothic romance books which have a hint of the supernatural. You’ll find vampires, witches and more here!

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Gallant
by V.E. Schwab

why i want to read this

It’s another books where the cover seduced me! But, V.E. Schwab writes beautiful books, and I love the sound of this one. A tale of being torn between two worlds, of secrets, mysteries and madness I can’t wait to uncover them all.

Read our review of Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unravelled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

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A Witch in Time
by Constance Sayers

A young woman in Belle Epoque France is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist.

In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — botches a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly binds Juliet to the artist through time, damning her to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history.

Luke Varner, the worldly demon tasked with maintaining this badly crafted curse, has been helplessly in love with his charge, in all her reincarnations, since 19th century France. He’s in love with Nora, a silver screen starlet in 1930s Hollywood. He’s in love with Sandra, a struggling musician in 1970s Los Angeles. And he’s in love with Helen, a magazine exec in present-day DC who has the power to “suggest” others do her bidding.

In this life, Helen starts to recall the curse and her tragic previous lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…

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Black Sunshine
by Karina Halle

Available on kindle unlimited

All Lenore Warwick wants for her 21st birthday is to hang out with her friends, finish her second year at Berkeley with flying colors, and maybe catch the eye of a hot musician playing a show at a club that she can now (legally) get into.

Unfortunately, fate has other plans for her.

A week before her birthday, she’s kidnapped by the brooding and dangerous stranger with cold eyes and a lethal touch, who has been stalking her on San Francisco’s fog-shrouded streets. Absolon “Solon” Stavig isn’t your average criminal though. He’s a centuries-old vampire who’s caught between wanting to kill Lenore and wanting to save her.

You see Lenore, too, is a vampire.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Taken by a pair of vampire slayers when she was just an infant, Lenore was raised never knowing her true nature. All Lenore knows is that she has (normal) parents who love her, that she’s exceptionally smart, and she’s squeamish around blood. But once she turns twenty-one, she’ll fully turn into a vampire, and Solon hopes he’ll be there to guide her, opening her eyes to her deepest hunger…both sexual and otherwise.

But this turning can’t be kept a secret. Soon both slayers and vampires are hunting Lenore, with only Solon and his unpredictable motley crew of vampires to save her.

If they don’t kill her first.

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The Book of Living Secrets
by Madeleine Roux

why i want to read this

Do you ever wish you could crawl into the pages of a book you love? I’ve had the thought on numerous occasions, and I can’t be the only book lover who feels that way. Which, is why I think the premise of The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux is genius. Best friends get sucked into their favourite gothic romance and things aren’t quite as they appear. This LGBTQ+ gothic romance is going directly on my to-buy list!

No matter how different best friends Adelle and Connie are, one thing they’ve always had in common is their love of a little-known gothic romance novel called Moira. So when the girls are tempted by a mysterious stranger to enter the world of the book, they hardly suspect it will work. But suddenly they are in the world of Moira, living among characters they’ve obsessed about for years.

Except…all is not how they remembered it. The world has been turned upside down, the lavish balls and star-crossed love affairs are now interlaced with unspeakable horrors. The girls realize that something dark is lurking behind their foray into fiction—and they will have to rewrite their own arcs if they hope to escape this nightmare with their lives.

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Hollow Heathens
by Nicole Fiorina

Available on kindle unlimited

A forbidden, timeless, and haunting love story.

Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Fallon who was taken far away from home shortly after she was born. 
A home that held more than strange traditions and bizarre superstitions.
Twenty-four years later, she returned to Weeping Hollow, a town she’d only heard about in stories during restless nights under a marble moon, in the middle of the night to take care of her last living relative. 
They called the nosy mortician a freakshow–a ghastly thing.
They said I couldn’t go near her.
Still, there was this aching pull to Fallon Grimaldi that I couldn’t escape.
A nostalgic pull as if we’d been here before.

Once upon a time, there lived a mysterious boy named Julian with a curse as old as centuries wrapped around his soul. 
He was one of the four Hollow Heathens, the very dark creatures who caused the town’s people to live in fear. 
And the Blackwell name was stained with darkness and death.
They called him a monster. Cold and hollow.
They said I shouldn’t go near him.
Still, there was this aching pull to Julian Blackwell that I couldn’t escape.
A nostalgic pull as if we’d been here before. 

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Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares

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Lakesedge
by Lyndall Clipstone

Why i want to read this

I need to stop this tendency of mine to be utterly seduced by a good book cover. Especially as I read on a kindle and never actually see them. But…look how pretty it is! Plus, there’s monster fighting and a mysterious lord of the manor. And a death god. What more could I want?

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

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Shadows
by Kristen Proby

I am never alone. Not even when I am alone.
I see the unquiet dead, the souls that wander through the French Quarter.
They can’t move on, and I can’t stop seeing them.
I wear malachite for protection, and I control what I let in. It’s the only way to stay sane. Everything changes the day Cassian Winslow joins my ghost walking tour and knocks my world off its axis with green eyes the color of the stone around my neck.
An unspeakable evil is loose in New Orleans, taking young women and leaving a bloodbath in his wake. More shadows lurking for me. More unhappy dead. There might be a way to stop it.
Open myself up to Cassian.
If I do, it could spell his death.
But if I don’t, it’s mine.

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The Mad Countess
by Erica Monroe

When Lady Claire Deering’s mother enters an insane asylum, society is quick to scorn her, dubbing her the Mad Daughter. But Claire’s tattered reputation is the least of her worries, as those rumors hold a horrible, terrifying truth: the Deering women are victims of a dark witch’s curse. If Claire marries her true love, she’ll spend the rest of her life under the thrall of madness. To save herself, she remains isolated…until a will reading at a mysterious castle on All Hallows Eve places her in close confines with her dearest friend and secret love.

Bashful, scholarly Teddy Lockwood has never met a rule he didn’t rejoice in following. When he unexpectedly inherits the Ashbrooke earldom, he’s determined to turn over a new, more courageous leaf–starting with telling Claire that he’s loved her since they were children. The will reading presents the perfect opportunity to win her heart, even if he’s vastly out of his element at this enigmatic, shadowy Cornwall castle. Soon, the simmering passion between them becomes unstoppable. Now, to save the love of his life, Teddy will do whatever it takes to break the dark magic’s hold on Claire. Will Claire spend her life within the grips of strange delirium, or will love prove the strongest of all?

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The Path of Thorns
by A.G. Slatter

why i want to read this

A heroine with a mysterious past? Perhaps bent on revenge on the family that have employed her as a governess. Scary things moving around in the woods? Maybe a little romance? It has all the right elements to be a perfect gothic romance.

Alone in the world, Asher Todd travels to the remote estate of Morwood Grange to become governess to three small children. Her sole possessions comprise a sea chest and a large carpet bag she hangs onto for dear life. She finds a fine old home, its inhabitants proud of their lineage and impeccable reputation, and a small village nearby. It seems an untroubled existence, yet there are portraits missing from the walls, locked rooms, and names excised from the family tree inscribed in the bible.

In short order, the children adore her, she becomes indispensable to their father Luther in his laboratory, and her potions are able to restore the sight of granddame Leonora. Soon Asher fits in as if she’s always been there, but there are creatures that stalk the woods at night, spectres haunt the halls, and Asher is not as much a stranger to the Morwoods as it might at first appear.

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Belladonna
by Adalyn Grace

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

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Nightshade
by Keri Lake

Available on kindle unlimited

A love so forbidden, it would shake the heavens.

My father called them messengers.
He once told me they walked among us, and that somewhere in this dark and godless city, there shined a faint sliver of hope. I had only to look for the signs.

Well, I’ve spent my whole life investigating the inexplicable, and all I’ve found are the unsettling vestiges of iniquity – the evidence of another world shrouded by the obscure. Purgatory to some, where depravity hides in shadows, and girls like me are little more than delicious bites of temptation.

Others call it Nightshade.

This peculiar place is where I first met the cold and callous recluse living in a decaying cliffside cathedral. Jericho Van Croix is the epitome of everything I’ve been told to fear. A raven-winged harbinger who wears intrigue like a warm black cloak. An enigma that I’m determined to unravel – even if it means getting closer than I should.

One touch is forbidden. Even so much as a kiss would be my demise. But the sin on his lips burns me up like a wild flame, and his growing infatuation weakens my resolve.

Giving him what he wants, though, will mean no chance for redemption, or escape. What’s worse is, the signs I’ve followed yet failed to see all these years begin to unmask a terrifying reality:

That falling may be my only saving grace.

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The Lighthouse Witches
by C.J. Cooke

why i want to read this

I love the sound of this. Witches and family mysteries abound, as well as folklore and, from the sounds of it, scary kids. It’s just the right book for the season. And it confirms a long held belief of mine: Lighthouses are creepy.

When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.

Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.

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Amy R

Thanks for the post. I will be adding some books to my TBR.