Tag Archives: Gothic

Eerie by Jordan Crouch and Blake Crouch

Synopsis: A cop and his prostitute sister find themselves trapped a a malevolent force that won’t let them leave her brownstone. Review: Eerie scared the absolute crap out of me! At one point I was too scared to even get out of bed to use the bathroom. The claustrophobic atmosphere was a big part of the power of this story–I really felt trapped in that house right along with Paige and Grant. I can’t say I was fully satisfied by the outcome of the story,…

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Asylum by Kristen Selleck (Birch Harbor Series, Book 1)

Synopsis: A college student with a troubled past uncovers a supernatural secret in her dormitory that threatens the love she’s finally discovered, and possibly even her life. Review: I really wanted Asylum to be as awesome as Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan, and it just wasn’t. I loved all the texture and historical detail, but all the scary stuff just didn’t play. And the love story was pretty one-dimensional. I almost didn’t finish it because my unmet expectations were bumming me out too…

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Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Synopsis: Chloe’s always admired her older sister, but when Ruby shows up with a girl who was dead the last time Chloe saw her, Chloe starts to fear that her sister can do anything–absolutely anything–she wants, no matter what Chloe or anybody else thinks about it. Review: Both Ruby and Chloe are compelling characters, for completely different reasons, and that’s what makes Imaginary Girls so successful. Ruby is obsessed with Olive, a town buried under a reservoir thanks to some eminent domain shenanigans in the…

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The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Synopsis: As she dies, a former lady’s maid reflects on the scandal that ended the family she served and reveals the truth that only she knew. Review: Kate Morton is rapidly becoming my latest favorite author. With her thrilling blend of Gothic melodrama and intricate plotting, she hits all my favorite buttons, much like her self-proclaimed influences Daphne DuMaurier and Barbara Vine. In The House at Riverton, Morton presents Grace, a lady’s maid who spent her youth in service with a titled family haunted by…

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Synopsis: A bereft Australian woman travels to Cornwall to uncover the mystery behind her grandmother’s mysterious appearance on a dock in Maryborough at the age of 4, her identity completely unknown. Review: While I had some minor quibbles with some of the stock characterizations in The Forgotten Garden, on the whole I was absolutely riveted by the storytelling. Morton expertly weaves together the stories of three women: Cassandra, a contemporary Australian woman who has received an unusual bequest from her grandmother Nell; that of Nell,…

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Purple Jesus by Ron Cooper

Synopsis: A rollicking southern Gothic feast. Review: With inventive prose and eccentric characters, Purple Jesus has a lot going for it. For me, I never really connected with the characters, though I did admire what Ron Cooper has accomplished. I would like to see this book, published by a small, independent publisher, find an audience, so please check it out if you like Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, or John Kennedy Toole. You’ll find a lot to enjoy in this rich book. Share on Facebook

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Synopsis: The only girl aboard a ship bound for America, 13-year-old Charlotte Doyle finds herself embroiled in mutiny and a murder plot, and only ingenuity, bravery, and mad rigging skills will save her. Review: Set in 1832, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a fast-paced, Gothic-tinged action story featuring a most intrepid heroine in a most unusual situation. Charlotte’s family booked passage aboard the Seahawk for her to return from boarding school to her home in Rhode Island, but upon her arrival aboard ship…

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Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

Synopsis: Hired to teach at a secluded, artsy boarding school, a young widow discovers that mystery and murder roil below the bucolic surface. Review: I wanted to adore Arcadia Falls, but I only got about 80% there. I loved the atmosphere that Carol Goodman created for Arcadia, the creepy boarding school in the middle of the woods in upstate New York. The backstory was most excellent, starting with a 1920s artists’ colony founded by two lesbians, one deeply conflicted and not entirely committed to Team…

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School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

Synopsis: Four kids with immobilizing phobias are sent to a very special boarding school to cure them of their fears–if it doesn’t kill them first. Review: I really enjoyed Gitty Daneshvari’s wit in School of Fear. She has a dry sense of humor that really animates all the characters and elevates the book beyond what could have been just a by-the-numbers genre read. You can tell that she really cares about language and wants to put something original into the world, which is not something…

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