Tag: Books: Gothic

Review: Melmoth

Posted 23 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Sarah Perry
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters—and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.

But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . .

I’ve seen Sarah Perry’s books around for the last few years but just never got around to picking them up. I ended up picking up this title because it was recommended in a list of recommendations on some website…I was in the mood for something Gothic, as well as a story about friendships, and look! it’s set in Prague, so I ended up picking up this book. Plus, look how gorgeous the book cover is! 😀

Read More

Review: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Posted 26 April, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Taxidermist’s Daughter
By: Kate Mosse
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway.

Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford’s once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man.

The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead.

While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion. Is Constantia who she seems – is she the victim of circumstances or are more sinister forces at work? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Gifford House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop?

The Taxidermist’s Daughter is the last book from Kate Mosse’s backlist that I have yet to read. It’s also the most recent novel that she’s published, so I suppose it’s fitting that it’s the last book on my list 🙂 The premise of the novel reminded me of Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites (review) for some reason, as well as the out-there-ness of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (review). Plus, taxidermy, which is something I don’t encounter much…anywhere, really. So yeah, I was looking forward to reading this book.

Read More

Review: The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales

Posted 11 April, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales
By: Kate Mosse
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A wonderfully atmospheric collection of stories from one of our most captivating writers, inspired by ghost stories, traditional folk tales and country legends from England and France. These tales are richly populated by spirits and ghosts seeking revenge; by grief-stricken women and haunted men coming to terms with their destiny – all rooted deep in the elemental landscapes of Sussex, Brittany and the Languedoc.

So I’ve been on something of a roll with catching up and reading everything by Kate Mosse. I read her Languedoc trilogy first, which I greatly enjoyed. More recently I got around to finally reading The Winter Ghosts (review). And now here we are, with her collection of short stories 🙂

Read More

Review: The Winter Ghosts

Posted 28 March, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Winter Ghosts
By: Kate Mosse
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A haunting ghost story from the French mountains. The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees – another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries. By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

Huzzah, I’m finally reading this! It’s only been on my wishlist on GoodReads since I first opened my account there years and years ago 😛 I’ve enjoyed Kate Mosse’s Languedoc trilogy, the second book Sepulchre (review) is one of my favourite books ever. I had been meaning to get around to her single novel stories and ended up picking up all three towards the end of last year. Decided to start with this book as it seemed rather fitting for the winter season 🙂

Read More

So You Want to Read… (Georgette Heyer)

Posted 16 February, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 6 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

For this month, I will be featuring Georgette Heyer (see tag). I honestly forgot now how I was introduced to her works, but they are the perfect books to check out if you’re a big fan of Jane Austen’s works. They can be funny, the family drama intriguing, the romances lovely, and very much aware of the Georgian and Regency period (the fashions, the language, etc.).

So without further ado, here’s 5 books by Georgette Heyer that I’d recommend as starting points:

  • Venetia (review) — My first Georgette Heyer novel. This book got plenty of good reviews on GoodReads, and with good reason. It was fun, the characterisations fantastic, the development of the romance slow but well-developed (Damarel and Venetia had a very good friendship before it deepened further).
  • Frederica (review) — I love this novel and love recommending it as a Georgette Heyer starter novel because the story revolves on the subject of family, Regency society and human desire and ambition (and of course the romance between Lord Alverstoke and Frederica 😛 ). Frederica’s family is such a delight to read each sibling with their own interests and goals; their dynamic together is fun to read.
  • The Reluctant Widow (review) — Georgette Heyer wrote a few Gothic-themed novels (well, two), this book being one of them. If you’re looking to start one of her books but want something more mysterious and adventurous and light on the romance, I’d recommend this book (the romance is still present, but it’s not the main storyline by any means). It’s an intriguing novel, and the main character Elinor finds herself in a very strange situation, but the family dynamics here was also interesting to read, and I honestly laughed out loud at a few instances. Oh, and did I mention that this is my favourite Georgette Heyer novel? (tough choice, to be honest)
  • Arabella (review) — Another popular title, I akin this book rather closely with Jane Austen’s works. It focuses a lot on the fashion of the period, as well as the subject of courtship and marriage. To put a twist on things, of course, there’s a matter of keeping up appearances/mistaken assumptions involved that makes the story even more intriguing/fun to read.
  • Cotillion (review) — I was honestly having a little difficulty thinking of what book to take up the fifth slot on this list. In the end I went with this novel because I remember thinking how mad this book was when I read it. Kitty Charing comes up with a pretty elaborate scheme to catch the attention of a particular gentleman (as well as strike back at the condition imposed on her inheritance). The results are craziness and hilarity and plenty of entertainment.

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading any of her titles! Do let me know if it is of any help 😉

Have you read any of Georgette Heyer’s works? If so, which of her books would you recommend for a first-time reader?