Tag Archives: historical romance

5 Favorite Gothic Authors

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1. Daphne du Maurier. Of course I must start off with the queen herself, the original. Daphne du Maurier is the author of Rebecca, a 20th-century classic and the possessor of one of the more famous opening lines in literary history. Rebecca is a spooky, gothic romance, but mostly it’s just darn addicting – the story will grab you as if you’re a 10-year-old reading Redwall or an Alistair MacLean novel for the first time, and rush you along its irresistible current. If you like Jane Eyre or its lesser-known cousin, Villette, this will be exactly up your alley.

The narrator is never given a name, but she’s a young bride to Maxim de Winter, the charismatic but slightly mysterious owner of a Cornish estate. He’s a forceful personality ala Rochester, proposing by saying “I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.” When the narrator moves in, however, she finds a home haunted by the memory of his first wife, Rebecca, who was killed in a sailing accident. Du Maurier herself always said she didn’t mean this book to be a romance, but I’ve always read and loved it as such: it’s about two people who overcome darkness to stay together. It’s heady and giddy and gripping and rather lovely. It’s never been out of print and is the standard-bearer for Gothic romance.

The opening lines resonate. “Last night I dreamt I went to at Manderley again…”

2. Mary Stewart. I went through a period in high school where I was obsessed with Stewart books – they’re such a deft, gripping blend of complex characters, suspense, and romance. She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of the 20th century, and passed away recently in May of 2014. A British novelist, she wrote both romantic suspense and historical novels and was respected for both. By far and away my favorite of her books, and a good introduction, is Nine Coaches Waiting, which yes, I admit, bears some resemblance to Jane Eyre as well (can I help it that all these Gothic romance writers are tripping on the same thing?).

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Caffeinated Links: Colin Firth, Ken Follet, Breaking Bad

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One must always share the trailer for a new Colin Firth film. Methinks forgiveness and hatred and suffering and revenge and love are all a part of this and all for the better. Also – great cast. RT

Did you know that there was more than one miniseries adaptation of Ken Follet‘s books? I did not. Adding World without End to my watchlist asap. (Also – Ben Chaplin!)

How the Bard would end Breaking Bad

“In Shakespeare’s works, each of us has a certain destiny. We can try to thwart it or challenge it, but ultimately we must align ourselves with it. The consequences of doing otherwise depend on the world in question. If the world is benign, you get slapped around a bit and fall in line. If the world has a malignity or malice toward you, you’re going to get slapped around and die. What can you do about it? Nothing. In either case, once Shakespeare’s characters discover who they really are, the world harmonizes; it falls into place.”  RT The Atlantic

North America is so woefully behind the times transit-wise. New study shows living near convenient transit increases your happiness.  “Well-planned transit can be more than a ride — it can be a positive emotional force.”  RT The Atlantic

A damning Steven Lloyd Wilson film review is one of my favorite things.  “I’m at a loss to say what the director was even aspiring to do. Whatever it was, he failed. Catastrophically.” RT Pajiba

Dramabeans is having a meetup in Seattle September 21st. If Korean dramas are your thing (and they should be) go to this. RT Dramabeans

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