Great Gothic Romance Novels

Great Gothic Romance Novels

Does the genre Gothic Romance bring up images of haunted castles? Supernatural horror stories? Dark Mysteries?  Damsels in distress?

Then read on as this short review book list will cover all these and more.  Most of these books were published several decades ago and may be out of print. They are well worth hunting down a second hand copy so you can curl up for Halloween and feed your inner Frankenstein.

Great Gothic Romance Novels

1. Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart

Gothic Romance by Mary Stewart
It can be said that Nine Coaches Waiting is a Gothic romance classic. It was first published in 1958 and is still a popular novel. This is a story about Linda Martin, a young woman whose father was English and mother French. She is poor. In the beginning she is hired as a governess to teach a French boy, Count Philippe, English. During the hiring process she decides to hide her knowledge of French. Linda and Philippe have much in common so they become close. But suddenly strange and almost fatal accidents start to happened to Philippe. The question is who wants to see little boy dead? His uncle, his uncle’s wife or his uncle’s son Raoul? To make things even more complicated Linda is swept off her feet by Raoul.

Nine Coaches Waiting has it all, suspense, humor and romance thrown together into perfect mix. This is highly enjoyable read.

2. The Mistress of Mellyn – Victoria Holt

Classic Romantic Gothic Novel
The Mistress of Mellyn was first published in 1960. This is a typical across-the-tracks gothic style Victorian romance novel where the poor governess falls in love with her employer.

Martha Leigh is employed by Connan TreMellyn as a governess for his daughter. The young lady is quite spoilt and very difficult to handle. The father is broody and arrogant. Despite this Martha likes him. Since this is a gothic story, The Mistress of Mellyn is full of mystery and tragedy that occurred in the past. As Martha falls deeper and deeper in love with her master she is drawn deeper into these family secrets and tragic history.

This is Victory Holt at her best. The plot is full of twists and turns, mystery and murder. And also romance between two very different characters. A highly recommend read for all who like classic romantic gothic novels.

3. Tregaron’s Daughter – Madeleine Brent

Gothic Romance Novel
Published in 1971 this exciting novel is set in England and Italy in 1910. Tregaron’s Daughter is the story of Cadi Tregaron, a fisherman’s daughter. Cadi moves from Cornwall to Kent. One day without knowing it, she starts to unravel her grandmother secret past. Soon she finds herself in Venice, Italy and there she finally understands the meaning of her two strange dreams. Cadi is amazing character who is independent and smart.
This is very typical gothic romance novel, mostly set in Venice, Italy. It is beautifully written and full of mystery. It is a pure reading pleasure.

4. Smugglers Moon – Sylvia Thorpe

Gothic Style Romance Novel
Alson known as “Strangers on the Moor” This is another typical gothic style romance novel. The story features a dark and mysterious mansion, a young girl, a hero and a lot of mystery and adventure. Deborah Chanterey is the young girl who is one day summoned by her uncle. Her uncle happens to be an owner of this dark and mysterious mansion that is mentioned only in dread whispers. When Deborah is forced to live in it, she slowly starts to unravel the mysteries of this dark mansion.
This story was first published in 1955 and then again in 1974. No longer in print, this book can be hard to get. If you stumble upon it, read it! because it is magnificent in so many ways. The story itself, the mystery and very interesting and well portrayed characters make this gothic romance very special.

5. A Bride for Hampton House – Hillary Waugh

Gothic romance and mystery Novel
Published in 1975, A Bride for Hampton House is about Corrie Haynes. Corrie is a reporter who sets out to investigate the death of famous explorer Jefferson Wainwright. The famous explorer returned from the Amazon and was then almost killed in car accident. After an unsuccessful murder attempt Wainwright was then poisoned by his uncle. Corrie starts an investigation posing as the explorer’s widow and very soon discovers some dark family secrets.

A Bride for Hampton House was written by Hillary Waugh who wrote many mystery novels. He also wrote under different pseudonyms: Elissa Grandower, Harry Walker and H. Baldwin Taylor. This is very suspenseful and interesting novel that mixes the gothic romance and mystery genre.

6. The Dark Shore – Susan Howatch

Good romantic gothic novel
If you love Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca you will definitely enjoy Susan Howatch’s The Dark Shore. There are many similarities between the two stories. In both novels the main character is a young woman, newly married to very successful man, who finds herself on his estate. An estate that is full of secrets, especially those connected with his first wife’s death. But Susan Howatch gives her story a twist, and brings in other characters who had a motive to kill the first wife.
Although some readers might find it a bit outdated, this story is worth reading. Especially if you are fond of good gothic romance novels.

7. The Governess – Elsie Cromwell

historical gothic novel
Also an older book, this story was published in 1971. Unlike many other gothic novels which are typically set in Victorian England, in some old mansion, this gothic story is set in Lebanon, in the Middle East. Although the setting is exotic and a bit unusual for gothic novel the plot is not. The main character is Sari who, like many other heroines in gothic romance novels, takes a job as a governess. During her employment she stumbles onto an international intrigue in the capital of Lebanon.

The story is gothic and suspenseful at the same time and it is very interesting read. The author Elsie Lee wrote this story under her pen name Elise Cromwell. Elise Lee is a popular author of modern and historical gothic novels as well as romances. The main feature of her other novels is kick-ass heroines who resolves issues without a hero’s help. Enjoy an independent heroine with some suspense in the gothic style.

DIY Halloween Costumes, fake blood and Decorations

DIY Halloween Costumes, fake blood and Decorations

Halloween is just around the corner.  DIY Halloween costumes, decorations and fake blood can all add to your Halloween fun.   Did you ever want to know how to make fake blood?  Simple baby costumes that wont scare the other young ones? With these guides, you’ll be in the spirit of things in no time.

Why do we dress up at Halloween? And what is the origin of Halloween?

The history of Halloween is generally considered a hybrid of Pagan, Celtic, Catholic and ancient Roman traditions from as long ago as 800BC. Halloween, or “All Hallows Eve” is a holiday celebrating the saints, and is also the eve of first day of the Celtic Irish calendar – “Samhain”, the night when the barriers between here and the spirit world thin and spirits cross freely.  So dressing up in costumes was done to scare off the spirits and save your soul.  Today, with the advent of mass media, costumes often reflect heros (and villains) of popular films and comics.

What ever your reason, lets face it, dressing up for Halloween makes it one of the most fun holidays in the calendar.

DIY Halloween Costumes and more

1. HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FAKE BLOOD: Recipes for Safe and Inexpensive Halloween Fun

DIY Halloween Costumes - How to Make Your Own Fake Blood

2. Baby Costumes: 24 Easy and Adorable Outfits to Make for Infants and Toddlers

DIY Halloween Costumes - Baby Costumes

3. Halloween How-To, A: Costumes, Parties, Decorations, and Destinations

DIY Halloween Costumes - Halloween How-To

Highly recommended, this book covers all the elements of a great Halloween party from costumes, decorating and receipes. Must have for parents with slightly older children (or adults!) to plan for.

4. Homemade Halloween Costumes: 11 Kids Halloween Costume Ideas

DIY Halloween Costumes - 11 Kids Halloween Costume Ideas

5. Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids

DIY Halloween Costumes Ideas
Advertised as the “Best Costumes for Babies, Toddlers, Teens” it has gorgeous pictures, but no instructions. Use as inspiration, not direction.
So get into Halloween with these DIY books.

For scaring reading ideas, visit our earlier posts such as our Halloween Scary Book List or a child-friendly book list.

10 Halloween Kids Books For All Ages

10 Halloween Kids Books For All Ages

With Halloween almost here, bedtime stories are definitely taking on a ‘spooky’ direction.

No matter what age, reading to children in bed is a special bonding time for parents as well as an educational opportunity. Younger readers love pictures and rhymes whilst older readers can enjoy a little scare from the safety of their bed with these books for Halloween bedtime stories.

We’ve collected 10 of the best Halloween kids books for all ages but don’t be surprised if older children enjoy some of the ‘younger’ children’s’ books. Create a new tradition of reading a classic Halloween book (or two) each year with your family and friends.

Books For children under 3 years

1. Peek-A Who? – Nina Laden

Halloween kids books

This simple, colorful board book is excellent material for introducing a toddler to words and helps them to build their vocabulary. Created specifically for early learners, the book is a straightforward rhyming guessing game, accompanied by whimsical illustrations. Parents and caregivers can look forward to mentally stimulating and quality bonding time with a toddler, while at the same time, helping a child learn about animals in a fun way. Not strictly a Halloween childrens book it’s a worthy addition to your young ones’ library.

Books For children 3-5 years

2. The Night before Halloween – Natasha Wing

Halloween childrens books

Most people are familiar with Santa Clause and his elves preparing for Christmas, so how about a story of monsters and ghosts getting ready for Halloween? The story of this book is a creative take on Halloween, told in Dr. Seuss-style rhyming verses. The colorful illustrations are eye-catching and the prose is easy to read for kindergarten children. This book is also ideal for reading aloud to children as a bedtime story..

3. The Spooky Bus on Wheels – J Elizabeth Mills

Halloween childrens books

This is a humorous variation on the classic song Wheels on the Bus – with a Halloween twist. This wonderful book will get preschoolers singing along, learning numbers, simple Halloween vocabulary and onomatopoeia. It also helps that the book comes with cute illustrations that makes it a fun and educational page-turner.

TIP: Onomatopoeia: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss). Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Books For children 6-8 years

4. The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat – Stan Berenstain

Halloween childrens books

Part of the Berenstain Bears family series, this is a Halloween story for children that has some depth and positive messages parents can talk about with the kids long after the reading is done. The story revolves around the Bear siblings on a night out trick-or-treating, along with a subplot of a creepy neighbor they are afraid of. The moral of the story is to convey the message of how appearances can be deceiving, and hence we should not simply judge others without getting to know them ourselves. It is well-written story that also reinforces certain messages to children, such as staying safe by not wandering too far from the neighborhood, and never eat the treat before you bring them home for mom or dad to inspect them.

5. Spooky Pookie – Sandra Boynton

Halloween childrens books

Here is a delightful story about Pookie the Pig, finding a resolution to a dilemma most children can relate to; deciding what to dress up as for Halloween. This is a simple story about being willing to try different things, set during a holiday most children look forward to. The charm of this book lays in the many different lovable animal characters. It is a book that will leave kids wanting to see more of the main character and its friends.

Halloween Books For children 9-12 years

6. The Halloween Tree – Ray Bradbury & Joseph Mugnaini

Halloween childrens books

When eight young boys go trick-or-treating on Halloween night and one of is pulled into darkness the rest have to set out on a quest to rescue him. That is the simple premise of this book. There is more to this kids’ book, though. Despite a target age range of 9 to 12, older children, teens and even adults who pick up this title will quickly find themselves engrossed in it. How can one not be? The story delves into morbid subjects like death and loss, with somewhat eerie and surreal illustrations that just begs you to keep on turning the page and keep reading. This is one of those books that will capture your imagination as a child and you will treasure it for life, re-reading it from time to time for the sake of nostalgia.

7. Kids Halloween Stories: 10 Halloween Stories for Kids (Ghost Stories for Kids): Scary Halloween Short Stories for Kids – Arnie Lightning

Halloween childrens books

Need some ideas for spooky tales to tell around a campfire? Arnie Lightning’s book will give you enough ideas. Here is a collection of easy to read, mildly bone-chilling Halloween-themed short stories for preteen readers that will make for an entertaining read, without actually scaring them from going to sleep. Adults may also find this book to be a valuable resource for stories they can read or tell to younger children.

Books For children 12+ years

8. Halloween Magic & Mayhem – Stella Wilkinson

Halloween childrens books

This is a cute coming-of-age teen witch story that adults who grew up with Sabrina the Teenage Witch will love as well. The premise is not really original; ordinary teenage girl discovers that she has witchy powers, so now she has to learn how to make use of her gift, deal with ghosts, zombies and – typical teenage girl drama – boy troubles. Still, it makes for a light-hearted and funny young adult novel, filled with likeable characters that show considerable development as the plot progresses. If you are hoping for a sequel by the end of the book, the good news is that this is in fact the first installment of the Magic & Mayhem series of paranormal romance comedy!

9. Halloween Party (Fear Street, No. 8) – R. L. Stine

Halloween childrens books

If a novel that is intended for a young adult audience can be enjoyed by more mature readers, there must be something outstanding about it. What would you do if you are given a party invitation in the form of a coffin with the words “reserved for you” inscribed? RL Stine’s horror thriller is one such book with a readership that extends beyond its target audience. Intriguing from the start, readers can look forward to interesting characters, shocking plot twists and an engaging mystery that keeps you turning the page. Tired of costume parties and trick-or-treating? Halloween Party is the perfect read for a quiet night indoors.

10. The Book of Hallowe’en: The Origin and History of Halloween – Ruth Edna Kelley

Halloween childrens books

We commonly associate Halloween with costumes, candies, carved pumpkins and office parties; a celebration that is more rooted in commercialism than tradition. The Book of Hallowe’en is an informative guide into the origins, customs and beliefs of the holiday observed on October 31st each year. There is a wealth of information in this book, tracing the history of Halloween celebrations in various parts of the western world, from its pagan roots to Christian influence and subsequently its adoption into mainstream North American culture. It an educational compendium worthy of adding to one’s personal library, especially if you have an affinity for the supernatural and occult.

Halloween Scary Books List: 6 Most Frightening Novels Ever

Halloween Scary Books List: 6 Most Frightening Novels Ever

Do you want a book to scare the hell out of you? Are you looking for really scary books to creep you out?

These 6 novels will do just that. These are the best books for Halloween to scare you and your friends.

Halloween Scary Books List: 6 Most Frightening Novels Of All Time

1. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Scary Books

Johnny Truant, a tattoo parlor employee, has come into possession of a trunk full of bizarre scraps of paper once owned by an old blind man, Zampano who is now dead. The papers comprise of an exploration of a cult film called “The Navidson Record” and its sub-films, documentaries about an ever-expanding house that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and which consumes the lives of anyone who enters its dark hallways or watches the tapes.

2. The Shining – Stephen King

Scary Books

The Shining remains a visceral, gripping read that showcases Stephen King’s powers to hypnotize and terrify readers.

3. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Scary Books

The Haunting of Hill House remains one of the most important horror novels of all time and certainly one of the most singular haunted house tales ever written. It is certainly worth mentioning that at no time do we or the characters actually see any sort of visible ghostly manifestation; the phenomena are limited to cold spots, spectral banging on the walls and doors, messages written on walls, and torn, blood-spewed clothing in one room.

4. The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters

Scary Books

This is a haunting and frightening story about how one’s childhood desires and expectations never truly diminish, in fact if left unchecked, they can grow to such a horrifying proportion that they take on a life and soul of their own.

5. Hell House – Richard Matheson

Scary Books

Hell House” has enough twists and turns to satisfy, and enough really scary, disgusting stuff to possibly haunt your dreams.

6. The Road – Cormac McCarthy

Scary Books

Set in the post-apocalyptic hell of an unending nuclear winter, Cormac McCarthy writes about a nameless man and his young son, wandering through a world gone crazy; bleak, cold, dark, where the snow falls down gray; moving south toward the coast, looking somewhere, anywhere, for life and warmth.