When I say Gothic, I don’t mean dying your hair black and coating yourself in black fabric. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfield would say, I’m talking about Gothic fiction. I cut my fictional teeth on Gothic romances. I ate them up…devoured them. I mean, to have blood-less horror, suspense and romance all in one story is the very definition of heaven for me. So what are the elements of a Gothic romance that appeal to me? It’s the settings more than anything: Dark, lonely castles–foggy cliff sides, high above a roiling ocean–tortured heroes with dangerous secrets–terrified heroines trying to cling to their dreams while fighting for their lives. Gothic romances throb with atmosphere. They test the human spirit and challenge the human will. As a reader, it’s easy to immerse yourself in Gothic fiction, because there’s just so much heft and flavor.
So what stays with me long after a Gothic romance is done? The humanity. Built on a platform of Beauty and the Beast mythology, these stories embody the idea of acceptance and love. If a terrified woman who finds herself alone in a world where the man she loves might be a monster can hold onto that love despite danger and misunderstanding…If she can look beyond the ugliness of her perception, to the man underneath…anything is possible. It’s the ultimate love story. And I eat it up like lemon cake!
Happy reading everybody!