Gothic Tropes: The Creepy Housekeeper

It goes without saying that one of the defining characteristics of Gothic fiction is a creepy setting—a castle falling into ruin, a haunted manor, or some mist-covered moors. But what’s a creepy setting without some creepy inhabitants? One of the most iconic of these, particularly in mansions and manors, is the creepy housekeeper. The creepy housekeeper is usually an older woman with personal ties to the manor itself or its previous inhabitants. Her primary role is generally to make the young female protagonist feel anxious and out of place as a newcomer and to provide either threats or warnings of danger.

Mrs Danvers screetshot 1
Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers looms behind the nameless narrator in Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest Review

“Come now, my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we’d be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest?”

The Darkest Part of the Forest coverThese ominous lines by poet Kenneth Patchen serve as an epigraph to my new favorite faerie-based urban fantasy, by an old favorite author—Holly Black. You may remember my recent review of Holly Black’s morbid middle grade ghost story, Doll Bones. Well, Black has come back into the wonderful world of YA with one of her newest novels, released last year, The Darkest Part of the Forest. While nothing will ever replace vampires for me in the paranormal romance department (sorry, werewolves and zombies), faeries tend to come in second among my favorite supernatural creatures. Like vampires, they force you to confront the paradox of beautiful monsters. How can something so alluring be bad? And how can something so dangerous be beautiful? While confronting these paradoxes outwardly, the characters of The Darkest Part of the Forest also have to come to terms with the beauty and the monsters inside themselves. Continue reading The Darkest Part of the Forest Review

Is Sherlock Goth???—Detective Fiction and the Gothic

Is Sherlock goth???

(I stumbled on this lovely image by @Pencil_Fangirl on Instagram)
(I stumbled on this lovely image by @Pencil_Fangirl on Instagram)

I talk a lot about how modern horror fiction and paranormal romance have descended from the classic Gothic novel. Well, detective stories are yet another example of a popular genre that rose up from this immensely fecund area of fiction. Many of the earliest detective stories were written by authors of Gothic fiction, or otherwise incorporated Gothic elements. In fact, detective fiction is a relatively young genre, and its origin is generally accredited to one of the greatest gothy patriarchs of all—Edgar Allan Poe. Continue reading Is Sherlock Goth???—Detective Fiction and the Gothic

Morbid Love Poems for Valentine’s Day

Who says love poems need to be all rainbows and sunshine? Sometimes death and decay can be just as romantic. If you’re tired of sappy hallmark cards and sickly sweet phrases written on candy, consider sharing some of these creepy classics with your loved ones.

Valentine 1 copy Continue reading Morbid Love Poems for Valentine’s Day

Maggie Stiefvater and The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot

Raven's prophecy tarot 3This tarot deck was one of my most anticipated items on my holiday wish list this year. And because my parents love me, I got it for Christmas! For those of you who don’t know, Maggie Stiefvater is one of my absolute favorite authors of YA fantasy, and she recently designed a tarot deck to go with her latest series, The Raven Cycle. Since the first book in this series, The Raven Boys, was my favorite book of 2015 and I’m always drooling over Maggie Stiefvater’s artwork, I knew I needed to get my hands on this deck. Continue reading Maggie Stiefvater and The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot