Rolling hills, misty moors, mysterious figures, strange houses; these are all characteristics of a gothic story.
From Mary Shelly's iconic Frankenstein to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, and of course, Dracula by Bram Stoker, the haunting, seductive and atmospheric elements have been popular for hundreds of years.
Gothic often features elements of horror and romance. However, a gothic novel does not have to be a horror novel. The Scarlet Letter, while a gothic novel, is not horror. Gothic novels rely on atmospheric elements for their effect on the reader, whereas horror is supposed to be scary.
Spooky season may be over, but fall isn't. Make a cup of coffee as dark as your soul, curl up under a velvet blanket, and pick up a good book.
Here are five gothic novels to devour that aren't classics.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Set in Mexico in the 1950s, Naomi, a socialite and university student, is sent by her father to visit her newly married cousin, who claims her husband is trying to kill her.
Once at the rotting, ominous, and isolated house the residents call "High Place," Naomi must work alone to figure out the truth.
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
A modern-day classic, and a genre-defining debut novel by the queen of gothic literature, Interview with the Vampire is the first novel in The Vampire Chronicles series. Spanning 13 books, Rice's sexy, intriguing, and dashing vampires have become a must-read for any vampire lover.
Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Mr. Norrell, a wealthy recluse with a collection of old books, learns the nearly forgotten art of magic, bringing it back to England. When Johnathan Strange, a rival (and charming) magician comes to England, the two must work together. But their differences both in character and opinion of what magic should be causes Strange to pursue ancient magics that should be left alone.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Following the life of Nobody "Bod" Owens as he grows up in a graveyard, with only the ghosts for family and companioning. For all the dangers the graveyard and the afterlife hold for a boy who is living, the real dangers lurk in the real world, where Jack, the man who killed Bod's family when he was a baby resides, looking for the boy who got away.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A mysterious circus that only opens at night, two rival magicians who fall in forbidden love, and a sinister underbelly to the seemingly beautiful enchanted world, The Night Circus takes whimsy, fantasy, romance, and every human emotion and crams all of it into an enchanting book.