A NYC reader, writer and dark chocoate enthusiast. Areas of interest: literary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries (Golden Age mostly, and a few cozies), sci fi/fantasy, gothic, romantic suspense, steampunk, paranormal, ghost stories, poetry, drama, biographies and social history. Also very interested in film and literature-related film: adaptions, biopics, etc.
A couple of year ago, propelled by my love of all things Edwardian, I discovered the host of Gothic romances written in the 1960s and 70s. They're classified in many ways: gothic romance, romantic suspense, gothic mystery and so on. But, in short, they are descendants of the Brontes and du Maurier's 'Rebecca' and books of that ilk. Heady, atmospheric stories that usually have some slightly macabre elements or at least a heightened sense of tension. And they tend towards the melodramatic.
I have always been a lover of historical fiction but I had eschewed books classified as "Romance" for quite a long time. English major conditioning and a good dose of literary snobbery made me think they weren't as "important" as other types of literature. I have since revised my opinion. I think all genres of writing are important and serve their own purpose - if we should even bother to divide things up into genre. An idea I am not convinced is at all helpful except for knowing where to find stuff in a bookstore and increasing ideas of snobbery. Writing is writing; books are books. Read what you like. Strive to read well-written things.
My first entrée into this new world of books was facilitated by Dorothy Eden and her novel 'The American Heiress.' She has become one of my favorite writers, full stop. I can't get enough of her books and haven't met a clunker yet. From her I moved on to Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Susan Howatch and others. I tend to like gothics that have a historical setting, but I have begun to read more and more modern and contemporary ones. I have to say, exploring recent romantic suspense novels, I do think there was a higher quality of writing, generally speaking, in the novels written from the 50s to the early 80s. But I have still encountered quite a few new voices that move me too.
Another thing I absolutely love about the books produced in the 60s and 70s especially is the amazing cover art. The Fawcett and Ace lines of books and others like them have these masterful, melodramatic illustrations that I can't get enough of. I have purchased books for the covers alone. I suppose it's rather kitsch or campy but I genuinely like the artwork. Especially compared to a lot of modern covers where a photoshopped model is slapped behind a cheesy font, a fog effect and a shimmer filter. Give me a good line drawing any day.
And with that I leave you with some examples of covers I love. If anyone who reads this has any suggestions for similar authors or books in the same vein or time period mentioned, please drop me a comment. I'm always searching for new voices.
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