Halloween Romance Reading Recommendations
It’s that scary time of year again…Halloween! That means gothic and paranormal romances!
A little bit of spookiness, a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of adventure—what more could you ask for on Halloween?
We’re preparing for one of our favorite holidays by buying and reading some books to get us into that creepy spirit. We’ve got you covered with our list of the best horrific romances to read this All Hallows’ Eve. Here are six frightening gothic and paranormal romances we think you’ll appreciate, too. Most are available on Amazon Kindle, and links are provided below.
1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, 1936
This classic Gothic romance is one of the most popular novels in history and was influenced heavily by Jane Eyre. It spawned a ghost-written sequel, Mrs. De Winter, released in 1993. We’ve also seen the1940 Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine film.
A young, unnamed woman marries an older man and moves into his estate, Manderly, with him. Their relationship is rocky from the start and only worsens when she discovers that he had a previous wife named Rebecca, who died under mysterious circumstances. She then finds herself haunted by his late wife’s spirit.
The book explores themes of fear, insecurity, female powerlessness, and the strength of romantic love. If you haven’t read this classic yet, you’re in for a treat. Rebecca stands the test of time as one of the best Gothic novels ever written.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”
Ancient, beautiful Manderley, between the rose garden and the sea, is the county’s showpiece. Rebecca made it so – even a year after her death, Rebecca’s influence still rules there. How can Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride ever fill her place or escape her vital shadow?
A shadow that grows longer and darker as the brief summer fades, until, in a moment of climatic revelations, it threatens to eclipse Manderley and its inhabitants completely.REBECCA by DAPHNE DU MAURIER
2. Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt, 1960
A young governess moves into an old house and discovers that there is something very strange about her new home. She is drawn into a web of mystery and terror when she realizes that there are hidden secrets within its walls. All the while, she fights her attraction to her widowed employer.
This has all the twists and turns you’d expect from a Gothic novel but also has an element of suspense that keeps you on your toes. Set in 16th-century Cornwall, this tells the story of a young lady who falls in love with a mysterious man who enchants her with his dark presence.
Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned…But what bout its master–Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh’s new employer as romantic as his name sounded? As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her.
TreMellyn’s young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered. But it was the girl’s father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfimiliar sensations and turmoil–even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha’s life.
Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets–as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning. But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love–and the freedom to find a golden promise forever…Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt
3. The Turquoise Mask Phyllis A. Whitney, 1964
If you’re looking for something more “modern,” this book is right up your alley! The Turquoise Mask by Phyllis A. Whitney features a lonely woman who heads to New Mexico to visit her extended family in an attempt to solve the puzzle of her mother’s mysterious death.
A tragic tale of a long-dead Spanish ancestor who was murdered for having an affair holds the key to the mystery.
The heroine finds herself entangled with her cousin’s enigmatic husband, who may be more than what he seems. What does he want from her? Her life…or death?
Something hidden deep in her memory was the key to Amanda Austin’s past. She did not know it was also the key to her future. After her father died, she decided to learn the truth of her mother and family in New Mexico.
But from the moment she arrived at her grandfather’s home, she was met with suspicion. And hate. They were her family, but they were strangers. And one of them was a murderer….THE TURQUOISE MASK by PHYLLIS A. WHITNEY
4. Her Demon Lover by Janet Louise Roberts, 1973
Her Demon Lover by Janet Louise Roberts is another excellent choice for those looking for something spooky this Halloween season.
It takes us to central Europe and a dark castle where a married woman cannot resist the allure of a man who possesses the ability to control forces of nature…and even her.
This hard-to-find book is a great example of how to write an atmospheric and enticing story that will keep you up reading all night long.
A lover’s tryst inspired by dark powers –
Leaving her timid husband behind in the dining room, Sophia and Count Vlhos climbed to the castle tower. Outside a violent storm was raging through the Balkan mountains. Urging Sophia to leave her husband and live with him in the castle, the count demonstrated his powers over bats, birds, and the raging storm.
Then he persuaded Sophia to try her own powers, summoning up demonic spirits to assist her. Thrilled with her new-found ability to dominate the elements, Sophia accepted the potion offered her. Soon she found herself stripped of all inhibitions, alone in the tower with a strong-willed, fiercely passionate man…HER DEMON LOVER by JANET LOUISE ROBERTS
5. The Bledding Sorrow by Marilyn Harris, 1976
When you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep you up all night, look no further than The Bledding Sorrow by Marilyn Harris. Harris’ writing is compelling beyond belief.
This classic Gothic romance will make even the strongest stomach turn with its gruesome details. A woman accompanies her new husband to his family estate, where horror awaits.
It’s not exactly a happy ending, but it’s definitely an interesting one.
As the new bride of Geoffrey Bledding – and mistress of his magnificent Yorkshire estate – Ann hoped at last to fulfill her wildest dreams of happiness.
But as the walls of Bledding’s manor closed behind her, she was forced instead ro re-enact a cruel destiny ordained in centuries long dead by two who loved in its shadow.
And now- trapped in the madness of her husband’s cruelty, tortured by the inhuman cries and warnings of an ancestral nightmare – Ann dared to seek escape. She would love James, the handsome stranger, though his outstretched hand might lead her through an agonizing horror – and beyond!THE BLEDDING SORROW by MARILYN HARRIS
6. The Winter Bride by Carola Salisbury, 1978
We’re familiar with author Carola Salisbury through her pseudonym Janette Seymour, author of the Purity Series and other bodice rippers. Salisbury/Seymour is actually the late British comic writer John Michael Butterworth. As Salisbury wrote, he wrote some Gothic romances, and this one is a doozy!
All the standard elements are here: the rocky Cornish coast, a foreboding castle, and a hero who hides a sinister secret that could mean the heroine’s doom.
The Winter Bride is an excellent example of how to write a modern gothic piece without pandering too much to popular tropes or clichés.
Lovely Charity Carew had nothing but awe and reverence for the distinguished poet Martin Revesby. Boldly she wrote him of her admiration, and when he offered her a job as secretary, her delight knew no bounds. Nevertheless, a sense of foreboding shadowed her arrival at Malmaynes, the eerie castle on the grim Cornish coast. Something evil, she was sure, watched and waited. The surly caretaker, perhaps? Or the sinister deaf-mute? Something or someone aroused in her a feeling of danger.THE WINTER BRIDE by CAROLA SALISBURY
Only her growing love for the poet held her safe as she learned the bloodstained legend of “The Beast,” a creature long dead who, it was said, refused to die. Suddenly, without warning, the dark tale of violence sprang to life anew, claiming fresh victims, and a chasm of terror stood between Charity and the promise of happiness that had been just within her grasp a short while before. A chasm she could not hope to cross — and live…
Have you heard or read of these gothic romances? What did you think of them or the author? What are your recommendations for scary romances for Halloween?
As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.