Gothic or Go Home
by Bob Freeman
: (often not capitalized) of or relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents
ro•mance - Pronunciation: rO-'man(t)s - Date: 14th century
(1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story b : a class of such literature
I’ve never understood the disdain most people feel for the Gothic Romance sub-genre. It has been the redheaded stepchild of horror since before I was born. Truth be told, some of the greatest horror novels I’ve ever read fall under the Gothic Romance umbrella… The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a prime example.
I was a voracious reader as a child and I plowed through fare such as The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and The Three Investigators in short order. Always hungry for more words to devour, I stumbled upon a tattered paperback in the Leave One/Take One box at the library. It had a delightfully sinister cover, with two terrified women in the fore — one very matronly, the other a more vivacious blonde — and a nude man and stone altar in the background. The book was The Little Wax Doll by Norah Lofts and I was consumed.
I soon was tracking down other works by Norah Lofts, as well as stories by Victoria Holt, Anya Seton, and my personal favorite, Mary Stewart, among near countless others.
I had been introduced to the gothic romance and I was enchanted.
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was the forerunner of the type, which included the works of Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Gregory Lewis, and Charles R. Maturin, not to mention the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. These works usually concerned themselves with spirited young women, either governesses or new brides, who go to live in large gloomy mansions populated by peculiar servants and precocious children and presided over by darkly handsome men with mysterious pasts, but one need look no further than Bram Stoker’s Dracula and its decidedly gothic overtones on how the themes could be explored with even more vigor…
Dan Curtis, arguably my most important influence, explored the genre in the late-sixties and seventies, and was quite successful with it, in television. Dark Shadows and his masterful retelling of Dracula, with the spectacular Jack Palance as the cursed Prince Vlad, were cornerstones of what Gothic Romance could be.
What really sold me though was the remarkable cover art that accompanied these slim novels featuring young women in distress, with sinister fog all around, and in the distance a foreboding manor house looming like some form of sentient undead menace.
My Cairnwood Manor Saga is a direct descendant of those weathered paperbacks I read as a child. The gothic is, first and foremost, steeped in atmosphere and I would like to think Cairnwood Manor is equally enshrouded…
About the Author
Keepers of the Dead, published by Seventh Star Press.
A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena.
He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.
Mr. Freeman can be found online at his website: occultdetective.com, as well as on social media at twitter.com/occultdetective and facebook.com/authorbobfreeman.
About the Book
Keepers of the Dead
(The Cairnwood Manor Series Book 2)
by Bob Freeman
THE VAMPIRE MACGREGOR LIVES...
"Foolish pup," MacGregor chided the werewolf, "you don't get it. Laddie, if water were evil I'd be but a drop. What lurks below is an ocean."
From the haunted halls of Cairnwood Manor to the bowels of Rosslyn Chapel, Bob Freeman hurls you into the very heart of the eternal conflict between the forces of darkness and the forces of light.
It's fang versus claw, spell versus steel, and love versus death in an epic battle of blood and thunder.
When a sinister cabal converges to unleash the ultimate evil against an unsuspecting world, only the combined strength of the Wolves of Cairnwood Manor and the Circle of Nine Skulls offers up a glimmer of hope as werewolves, vampires, witches, immortal warriors, and an army of the undead collide in a battle of epic bloodshed.
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