Thursday, October 22, 2015

No tricks, Just Treats: Jane Austen Gothics

Jane Austen evokes images of ballrooms and cozy drawing rooms.  Usually we don't think of Austen's works as having a Gothic flavor.

In the previous post I mentioned Jane Austen's nod to Gothic literature with her book, Northanger Abbey. It had the tropes of a good Gothic romance; woman in creepy castle with possible ghosts, a suspected murder, a very intimidating murderer in the form of the owner of the castle and a dashing hero.

While Jane Austen hereslf did not write more Gothics, we can enjoy the Gothic regencies that feature Austen characters thanks to modern authors who have written stories for our enjoyment.

Most of us love Elizabeth Bennett the most. So, it is a pleasure to introduce you to two Gothic novels featuring Mr. & Mrs. Darcy at Pemberley.

The first one I recommend is Pemberely Shades; Pride and Prejudice Continues a lightly Gothic romance featuring Elizabeth and Darcy after the marriage. I've read it and loved it. There is a mysterious death and the investigation that ensues is full of dark suspense and delight. This book was originally published in 1948 by author Dorthea Boniva Hunt.  I enjoyed the Gothic flavor and the mystery that Elizabeth Darcy feels compelled to solve as it affects the townspeople in Darcy's county seat. It's worth a taste if you love Austen characters and Gothic flavors. You won't be disappointed if you are a true Austen fan.
Pemberely Shades on Amazon

The second book featuring Elizabeth and Darcy after the marriage is Death Comes to Pemberely, by P.D. James.  I read this book when it first was published and enjoyed exploring the characters further, as well as being delighted by the mystery of the ghost in the woods at Pemberely and the murder of Captain Denny. Lots of Gothic Atmosphere in this one with the haunted woods, and to my delight, the book was made into a PBS movie.  You can watch it on Netflix. I've watched it a few times now. Well done, Ms. James. Unfortunately, P.D. James died a few years ago. If you want a murder mystery involving the Darcys that complicates their relationship by straining it, and featuring Lydia and her notorious husband, then you'll enjoy this in book or movie form.  I prefer the movie, to be honest, but I love the Austen movies so much as I get to feast my eyes on the British regency landscapes and mansions.

Here is the trailer for the movie: Lydia's dramatic entrance to Pemberely

Check it out on Netflix, or purchase movie version on Amazon
Dvd on Amazon

Nachtsturm Castle

A third great story features another beloved character of Austen's books, Catherine Mooreland from Northanger Abbey!  In this modern sequel to Northanger Abbey, you'll find Catherine has married her sweetheart, Mr. Henry Tilney. As they travel through Europe on a tour of Mrs. Radcliffe's Gothic story locations, they encounter their own Gothic adventure.  Fun, and worth the time. This book is very rare. I was fortunate enough to purchase it in digital when it was new. It is now only available in paperback and those are rare collector's editions. Kudos to author Emily C. A. Snyder for this rare gem!  Purchase on Amazon

Happy reading this Halloween season. If you love Jane Austen and Gothic stories, here are three special treats for you to try out!