Monday, August 21, 2006

O, Gothics! Wherefore art thou?

Does anyone miss those good old gothic romances like I do?

The ones where the young (usually orphaned, usually destitute) girl has to move into a big, old (usually creepy) house and there are strange goings-on. And two men. Yes, the good ones always have two men.

I love romances as much as the next romance reader, but as I've gotten older, I've always thought why--why only one man? Why can't she have two? Or even three? (Vicky Bliss has three men after her in Trojan Gold. And my own Victoria Gardella has three very strong men that she contends with in The Rest Falls Away....)

Which is why I like the gothics. The two men usually fit one of two stereotypes: the tall, dark, brooding, often-sarcastic guy, and the handsome, charming, often-blond one.

We're supposed to think the blond guy is The One, because he's so kind and charming. But it's really the brooding guy who saves the day. Sometimes the blond guy is the villain, even. But other times, he's just Not the Right One.

I miss those books. I devoured Barbara Michaels' modern gothics--and still do, still reread them all the time. Why aren't there more books like them now? Is it because there are two men, and in the romance novels world, you're supposed to know who the hero is right away? ('cause in a good gothic, you don't. Not until you're well into the book, and even then you might still not be sure. Michaels' The Love Talker almost had me fooled till the very end.)

I must admit, when I first saw Star Wars at the tender age of...nine or ten, I guess...I fell for Luke Skywalker (the blond, charming guy). (I can't believe I'm admitting this in public!) I was really ticked when Leia said she loved him in Empire Strikes Back instead of Luke. It took me until I was in high school before I "got" Han Solo (the dark, sarcastic one).

But now I understand and love the heros that kind of sneak up on you. I'd like to see more of them. I know there was a line of gothics awhile ago--Candleglow I think it was called, and I did really enjoy Christine Feehan's two that she wrote for the line (Lair of the Lion and The Scarletti Curse), even though they didn't have the two requisite heros. They were lush and sexy and gothicky and suspenseful, and I enjoyed them nevertheless.

And Eve Silver's Dark Desires was very gothicky in tone and setting, and you weren't really sure the hero was a good guy (well, because he was the hero, you knew he had to be...but he was luscious anyway). I really enjoyed it...but there was only the one hero. (I guess I have a thing for letting the gal have a choice, already!)

But why? Why don't we have any more traditional gothics being published? I hear people talk about how much they loved them....but no one's publishing them. (Or am I missing them?)

Maybe they wouldn't be published in romance, then. Maybe they belong, as Barbara Michaels' books do, in the horror or thriller section.

What do you all think? Any Barbara Michaels fans out there (besides you, Rosario!) Am I missing some good gothics?

4 Comments:

Blogger Heather Harper soliloquized...

If a Harlequin Intrigue has an "eclipse" logo on it, I believe it is supposed to be a gothic romance.

I ordered a box load of gothics from the seventies (thin paperbacks) off of ebay and gifted them to a friend who only reads Victoria Holt. She loved them.

Monday, August 21, 2006 4:07:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Hmmm...I'll have to watch for those. I've heard Leslie Wainger, I think it was, say how much she loves gothics.

Monday, August 21, 2006 5:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Eve Silver soliloquized...

Colleen, I'm glad you liked Dark Desires!

Quite a few publishers are putting out books with a gothic sentiment. Pocket published Jennifer St. Giles (Mistress of Trevelyan - a great gothic!). I think Ms. St. Giles had now moved to St. Martin's. Lydia Joyce has a gothic tone (I think NAL publishes her). Berkley has gothic authors (Donna Birdsell's books, while not purely gothic, have that element).

As to the two heroes, they actually aren't a convention of the gothic in the truest sense, though gothic romance often popped up with the choice. Gothic literature is known for having the dark, mysterious undertone; the ancient and frightening castle as setting (often with hidden passages); the hint of a possible paranormal element; the heroine in jeopardy; the villain; the dark hero who is isolated, often a rebel or a social outcast.

I love gothics, LOL!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 1:17:00 PM  
Blogger Rene soliloquized...

I cut my teeth on Victoria Holt. Phyllis A. Whitney also wrote some great gothics.

Dorchester had the Candleglow series (I think that was what it was called) which were supposed to be gothics but I didn't care for them.

Lydia Joyce's books do have a gothic tone to them but the sensibilities are different from the traditional sense.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 12:54:00 AM  

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