Gothic fiction offers mystery and suspense, and thrills and chills without straying wholeheartedly into horror. The LoveReading team has chosen some of their favourite fear-inducing novels, whether they offer a shiver of foreboding or are full-on hide behind the cushion reads. Containing the most intimidating atmosphere and creepy setting, traditional and modern Gothic novels often house vulnerable characters and are visited by the supernatural. Some of our most famous classic novels are classed as Gothic fiction, including Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.
The most recently written novels on our list sit in a wide range of genres, from thriller and suspense to family drama and relationship. All have that undeniably dark edge that suggests a Gothic influence, a deliciously spine-chilling atmosphere that hooks the reader and haunts the pages.
In her debut Rawblood: “Catriona Ward has created a moving, original tale of love and destruction, one that is truly enthralling and memorable”. This is a ghostly tale, where the house set on Dartmoor, sits centrally and sucks you into the storyline. Since then her novels have offered a unique blend of genres in her novels that include gothic, horror and the supernatural. We don’t just admit to being in a-whole-heap-of-love with Catriona Ward’s writing, we SHOUT it with great gusto from the tallest of rooftops. We were also thrilled to have Catriona as our Guest Editor for Winter 2022, and you can read her feature where she talks about 5 transformative novels here.
Andrew Michael Hurley excels in writing deep, dark and stunning stories. Starve Acre is a novel that will remain in your thoughts: “Folklore gathers in the background, grief preys on the unsuspecting, and a compelling story unfolds”.
Bitter Orange is: “an atmospheric, stormy beauty of a read… Claire Fuller peels open the lives of the characters with exquisite care. Feelings spin and slice across the page, freedom, isolation, and menace all tumbling together in an uncertain dance”.
"Set in a glamorous hotel in 1929, this genre-bending page-turner ripples with suspense and brilliantly bizarre gothic twists." Hokey Pokey by Kate Mascarenhas is perfect if you have a thing for golden age crime and Brothers Grimm stories. It shifts from Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery at the glamorous Regent Hotel in Birmingham to gruesome folkloric horror.
If you're looking for more of a micro-dose of gothic, then why not revisit the classic Robert Louis Stevenson short story of the respectable Dr Jekyll and his connection to the damnable Mr Hyde. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a classic for a reason, the ultimate story of good vs evil in a story that goes beyond the film and TV adaptations. Even if you think you know the story it is well worth the read.
Chris Priestley's Uncle Montague's Tales Of Terror "contains a series of short, fast paced horror stories" and is impossible to put down as a newer and more surprising narrative emerges from Uncle Montague's stories. A part of the Tales of Terror series that will leave your spine tingling and nails bitten.
If you adore the gloriously dark and deeply emotional then step this way, as we really do have some absolute treats of reads waiting for you. Scroll through and browse the selection below and if you think there's a book missing, leave a comment at the bottom of the page and let us know.