If You Like….

If you like gothic tales with a hint of the ghostly and a literary slant, you’ll probably like….

— John Harwood’s The Ghost Writer, which combines turn of the century ghost stories, a creepy inherited house, and a mysterious pen pal;

— Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, in which a dark and twisted past is linked to a missing story;

— Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden and The Distant Hours, which may not have ghosts, per se, but certainly play on that link between nineteenth century fiction and sinister secrets long buried;

— Barbara Michaels’ Houses of Stone— or pretty much anything by Barbara Michaels;

The Collected Ghost Stories of E. F. Benson, which are just the sort of stories off which the modern authors are riffing;

— and ditto for The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton;

— Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (how could I not?);

— and Jennifer Crusie’s quirky, modern take on The Turn of the Screw, Maybe This Time.

I’ve also been dying to read Simone St. James’ The Haunting of Maddy Clare, but haven’t worked my way through the pile to it yet.

Have I left anything out of my gothic extravaganza?


  1. Joanne M. on April 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Love this category!! Let’s see….I’d recommend:

    House of Echoes by Barbara Erskine (love this author!)

    Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels

    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    So many authors to choose from such as Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, etc…

    And while we’re on the topic of ghosts, I highly recommend the southern gothic series by Amanda Stevens: The Restorer, The Kingdom, and The Prophet. Delightfully spooky and gothic.

  2. Alice on April 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey. I couldn’t put it down. Also The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

  3. John Kwiatkowski on April 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The Haunting of Maddy Clare is great! I really loved it.

  4. Lauren on April 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    John, I just bought it– I’m so excited. It’s particularly shameful when I have a pile of free books from RT to read, but…. Sometimes you just need that one particular book.

  5. Vicki on April 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    So much to choose from here…

    Classics include anything by Daphne du Maurier, Dorothy Macardle and Barbara Michaels.

    Contemporary books that I think have a similar tone to Harwood include:

    The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
    The Little Stranger or Affinity by Sarah Waters
    The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam
    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Riggs
    House of the Lost by Sarah Rayne
    A Face at the Window by Dennis McFarland

    Also love, love, love Elizabeth Gaskell’s
    Gothic Tales, but I could go on forever with this one.

  6. Stacy on April 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Definitely The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which is an amazing book!

    Great list. Can’t wait to try some of these.

  7. Ammy Belle on April 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    O my Goodness! I have to write allt hese down – I loved Rebecca and Jane Eyre, and yes – Houses of Stone! Sigh. Turn of the Screw was amazing – though its’s been a while! These other ones all sound good! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  8. Rachel Adrianna on April 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    i just found “the forgotton garden” in a used bookshop this weekend and love it so far!

    another similar book- also set between england and aus- is kimberley freeman’s “wildflower hill.”

    and, not gothic either, but “russian winter”.

  9. Céline on April 17, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I loved the Thirteen Tales, The Forgotten Garden…

    I’d add Rebecca by Dapne Du Maurier, just the smallest bit creepy but absolutely fantastic! Reminded me of Jane Eyre… 🙂

  10. jeffrey on April 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Nachsturm Castle by Emily C. A. Snyder….a Ghostly parody sequel of Northanger Abbey. She brilliantly manages to incorporate every gothic feature possible into this novella.

    The master of the supernatural macabre: H. P. Lovecraft….not for the faint of heart! I’ve read everything he put to paper and it still just scares the *&^$%&!#! out of me.

  11. Amy N. on April 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Barbara Michaels is a definite! Jeffrey, I thought I was the only one that HP Lovecraft scare the Begeezus out of~ creepy frogs and a spanish moss covered southern home with large trees. EWWW~ Where’s the bourbon – I’ll start with a double…

  12. Dara on April 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    The Ghost Writer is so creepy good. Read that in undergrad for a horror in literature seminar class focusing on ghosts and still get the shivers thinking about it. And Turn of the Screw is an all time favorite– I got several papers and presentations out of that one.

  13. Amanda on April 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I’m going to chime in with “Northanger Abbey” — definitely my least-favorite Jane, but it fits.

    Also: all of Susanna Kearsley’s books — “The Winter Sea” is my favorite; I just finished the reissue of “Mariana.”

    And one of these days I’m going to read “The Mysteries of Udolfo.” Really I am.

  14. […] I checked out The Haunting of Maddy Clare from the library after I saw it mentioned on one of Lauren’s If You Like posts.  I am a little squeamish about reading books or watching movies that might be too scary (I always […]

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