Gothic books to read right now

Gothic isn’t dead.

Since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to Elisabeth Thomas’ Catherine House, there’s no slowing down the appetite for dark, dangerous, and compelling.

Gothic books (and other media) require a number of elements that make it ripe for gripping, sweeping narratives. Gothic tales oftentimes contain:

  • Castle, manor, or haunted house setting (think: Bly Manor, Hill House)
  • Damsel in distress or danger
  • Damsel threatened by domineering or otherwise powerful male
  • Atmosphere rich with suspense and mystery
  • Omens/visions
  • Supernatural events (but could be natural, and otherwise explainable, just not apparent immediately)
  • Gloominess/grayness/darkness of lighting and setting
  • The colors black, red, gray, white
  • A lack of color, emotionally or otherwise, at least not in the middle of the story
  • Days marked by fear, dread, or wariness
  • Not as many close friends or allies
  • Area relegated to single community/town/area, limiting the landscape scope
  • Characters may crave companionship of some sort, may suffer from loneliness, ostracism, or social or physical defects
  • Could include gardens, cemeteries, the woods, and other outdoor spaces
  • Inability to escape easily (could be landscape, lack of money, weather, etc.)
  • Answers to questions are revealed


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