Gothic romance and Inspirational might seem incompatible in the same sentence. But you can love inspirational romance AND find some great examples of an inspirational gothic romance!
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Wait! How Can a Book be Both Inspirational and Gothic?
Inspirational gothic sounds like a contradiction, I know. So first we’ll look at what makes a book gothic (not to be confused with the style of dress known as ‘goth.’). Gothic romances originated back in the 1760s in England. Authors writing in this genre used dark, foreboding settings, and sometimes grotesque characters. Mrs. Ann Radcliffe found fame with her gothic romances featuring innocent maidens struggling through overwhelming circumstances in dark settings to find their true love.
Jane Eyre, Catherine Moreland, and Rosamond Vivian (from Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey, and A Long, Fatal Love Chase) typify the innocent maiden trying to break free and find her true love. Use the same trope, a dark setting, and add the twist of a heroine who learns to depend on God during her struggles, and you have an inspirational gothic romance.
By Michelle Griep, Barbour Publishing, November 2021, 323 pages.
Amelia Balfour’s dream of traveling to Cairo with her maid and writing a book about her travels has come true. No small feat for a woman during the Regency era in England. When her father passes away unexpectedly, Amelia must choose between fulfilling her dream or fulfilling her father’s last wish.
Her father, an austere and emotionally distant man, has arranged for Amelia’s younger brother, Colin, to receive a surgical procedure. The novel procedure promises to change the course of Colin’s life. Their father made arrangements for the surgery to continue in the event of his death—but Amelia will need to return to the home in Bristol she escaped from seven years ago.
When people see Colin Balfour, they react with screams, shouts, threats, or fainting. An anomaly has caused him to grow prodigiously tall, with a misshapen head. While his outward appearance frightens people, his keen intelligence and kind spirit endear him to those who can see past his physical oddities.
When Amelia chooses family over her dreams, she has no idea what she will discover.
Graham Lambert, a naval ship’s surgeon, has returned to Bristol to join forces with a respectable surgeon after his administrative discharge from His Majesty’s Navy. He chooses Mr. Peckwood, an elderly surgeon with a thriving practice and dreams of making a name for himself with medical advances.
Graham has no idea his quest to redeem his career will lead him to discover the depths of depravity in a well-respected surgeon. His moral dilemma increases when he realizes Mr. Peckwood’s actions have put Graham’s new friends, Amelia and Colin Balfour, in grave danger.
What I Loved About This Book
Griep masterfully creates a gothic setting filled with secret passages, stormy cliff-side scenes, and foreboding institutions. Each chapter starts with an epigraph from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley has a cameo role in Lost in Darkness (she moves into lodgings near the Balfour house). Readers quickly infer the inspiration for Frankenstein’s horrible experiment comes from Colin Balfour.Love a good gothic romance? Check out this new #inspy gothic by @MichelleGriep! #amreading #gothicromance Click To Tweet
By Julie Klassen, Bethany House Publishers, December 2021, 416 pages.
When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village in Worcestershire, England with her employer, the globe-trotting Lady Fitzhoward, she has no idea what to expect. She’s felt responsible for John, her younger brother, her entire life, so when their housekeeper wrote begging Rebecca to return, she hastened home.
Upon arrival, John convinces her to deliver his latest manuscript to his nemesis, Mr. Oliver—a popular author staying at the nearby Swanford Abbey. John insists only Rebecca could deliver the manuscript to Mr. Oliver, and she reluctantly agrees.
When Mr. Oliver turns up dead a few days later, Rebecca regrets her involvement in her brother’s plot to deliver the manuscript. Based on the facts of the case, she worries he may have had a hand in the man’s demise. To complicate matters, the local magistrate, Sir Frederick, is the only man she’s ever had feelings for.
Sir Frederick agrees to spend a week with his younger brother at the nearby Swanford Abbey hotel to escape the noise of renovations at his estate. And to escape the memories and loneliness caused by his unhappy marriage and the accidental death of his wife.
He never expects to run into the young woman he spent many a happy hour with during his youth—Miss Rebecca Lane, the daughter of his former tutor. When a guest at Swanford Abbey dies, Sir Frederick stays on for the inquest.
An inquest which causes him to ask more questions than the charming Miss Lane seems wont to answer. Despite his reawakened feelings towards Miss Lane, his first marriage left him with an abhorrence for untruths. And Miss Lane is hiding something.
Why I Loved This Book
Klassen creates relatable characters and immerses them in mystery, intrigue, danger, and a good, old-fashioned love story: All the elements for a chilling inspirational gothic romance. If you love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, you’ll love this Regency story set in an ancient abbey complete with ghostly apparitions and historical detail.
Fans of Michele Griep and Abigail Wilson will enjoy this book.Looking for an inspiring gothic romance? Check out #SwanfordAbbey by @Julie_Klassen! #amreading #inspy Click To Tweet