Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Women Running from Houses

I guess I can blame it on the weather.....it's been raining for the past few days with roof-rattling claps of thunder and dark, gloomy mornings. (I'm not complaining, mind you, as it is blessed relief from the heat.) While it's perfect weather for curling up with a book to read, I have a wide assortment of newly released books that are just not tempting me. I've picked up a book here and there and quickly lost interest.

What's a body to do when you've fallen into a slump?

Turn to comfort reads! My choice for comfort reads on a rainy day? Anything that is gloomy gothic goodness -- you know, those old battered paperbacks with the woman on the cover that is running away from the house (or castle) in terror. What is it that she fears? The human inhabitants or the supernatural ones? I eat these books up!

I literally sat on the floor with my pile of old paperbacks and the rain beating against the windows and had the best time revisiting old ghosts and tormentors. Over the years, I've pretty much read everything by Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, Daphne du Maurier, and Mary Stewart. I recently acquired an entire collection of old Barbara Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters) supernatural mysteries, so I'm just beginning to dip into her wonderful backlist.

Here's a sampling of some of the quick rereads I enjoyed in my trip down memory lane. Didn't need to read the whole thing -- just bits and pieces to refresh my memory, and I have to say they are still as good as ever!

Kirkland Revels
The Legend of the Seventh Virgin
The Quicksilver Pool
Thunder Heights
Nine Coaches Waiting
Mistress of Mellyn
Window on the Square

I even enjoyed watching Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier in Rebecca while I was in the gothic mood.

How about you? Do you have any old favorites in the gothic romance/romantic suspense genre? I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, I am so jealous of the rain you've been getting! Summer just saps me of all my energy and will to do much of anything.

I have read and loved both Mistress of Mellyn and Kirkland Revels! There's another Holt novel that I really love, but the name escapes me at the moment.

Your mention of the Rebecca film reminded me of the film My Cousin Rachel, which I haven't seen in YEARS! I just discovered that Amazon has it available as part of their Instant Video program. Here's the link if you're interested: http://www.amazon.com/My-Cousin-Rachel/dp/B00274FG4C/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3S8QCSZNWL1V4&colid=33LNVDJ9GVTK2

Joanne said...

Thanks, Ruth! I was not aware of the film version of My Cousin Rachel. Definitely looking into it!

Yvette said...

We had roof-rattling rain for a few hours yesterday and the day before. But other than that, it's been unrelenting heat and mugginess. Today the muggy blues have let up a bit, but it's still too hot.

Anyway, just wanted to chime in on your 'gothic binge'. I've read all the books you mentioned, Belle. Though most of them years and years ago. I do know I LOVED reading MISTRESS OF MELLYN (This is one I occasionally reread.) and KIRKLAND REVELS. I think those are my favorite Victoria Holts.

LOVE Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart. Did a post a while back on Mary Stewart and also on WINDOW ON THE SQUARE by Whitney - a terrific gothic set in 19th century NYC.

I'm thinking I may have to do my own Gothic Binge one of these days as well. :)

Joanne said...

Hi, Yvette -- I read most of these waaay back in high school (70's) so it's like reading them for the first time -- so fun! Thanks for stopping by. :)

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Have you tried Dragonwyck by Anya Seton? It's got a very gothic feel, as does Kate Morton's The Distant Hours. They are the only suggestion I have that haven't already been covered by your post. I really must get to the Victoria Holt books I have sitting on my shelf :-)

Joanne said...

Hi, Melissa! Yes, I've read most of Anya Seton's books and enjoyed them, including Dragonwyck. You're right about Kate Morton -- I love the gothic feel to her books; I still need to read The Forgotten Garden. Good suggestions. :)

Staci said...

I love the covers of those books!! They do evoke that Gothic feel to them and reading on a rainy, stormy day would fit the bill!

Joanne said...

Hi, Staci -- You know, I'm never happier than when I'm reading a gloomy gothic romance....I wonder what that says about me?! Hmmmmmm....

Cat said...

Thank you for a wonderful walk down memory lane. These authors were all great favourites of mine back in the 70's. Occasionally I'll have a reread but the Whitney and Michaels books are becoming hard to find.
Love those covers!

Yvette said...

Joanne, I just realized I got your name wrong on my comment. Sorry about that, I guess I just wasn't paying attention. The older I get the more attention I have to pay. :)

Joanne said...

Hi, Cat! I lost all of my old paperbacks during a hurricane and have found replacements of some of my Phyllis Whitney and Barbara Michaels books on ebay.

Yvette -- Not to worry...many times I don't even remember my own name! As a mom and former teacher, I answer to just about anything! :)

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

I love finding the perfect book for curling up with in the rain. Mmmmm.

Laura's Reviews said...

Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt are among my favorite authors also. I found a couple of Phyllis Whitney novels at a book sale a couple of years ago and picked them up, but I haven't had a chance to read them yet!

Joanne said...

Pam - I know what you mean....rain and a good book go together so well!

Laura -- I think you would enjoy Phyllis Whitney -- good old fashioned gothic suspense with a touch of romance. Highly recommended.

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Joanne's to-read book montage

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Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

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