Last weekend I took a long walk through a dripping, autumnal forest and somewhere in the mist came upon the ruins of a gothic castle. It certainly put me in the Halloween mood. Here’s some books I read this year that evoke this same spirit.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I’m actually reading this right now and am going to have to slow down a bit so I don’t run out of pages before Halloween. Yes, the tropical heat of the Yucatan is quite different than the cold gray fall of the Czech Republic, but the creeping suspense of this gothic retelling certainly makes it a good Halloween read.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett. Part feminist survival tale, part minimal sci-fi/fantasy blend, this gave the same vibes as The Witch movie. Despite some plot holes, I found most of the tale chilling and immersive.
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard. The first novel I’ve read using the pandemic as a plot device and I LOVED IT. Two young people who have recently moved to Dublin are falling for each other when the pandemic lockdown starts. They move in together to get around the restrictions—and instead of this being a love story, it’s a horror story. I usually predict twists before they happen, but some of these surprised even me.
We Lie Here by Rachel Howzell Hall. I am a sucker for descent into madness type books. And while this is not strictly that, it has that same inexorable progression, that creeping dread that keeps up to the end. It’s a story about toxic families, gaslighting (and the horrors of party planning).
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. A decaying house on a sandbar, falling into the tide. An all-girls boarding school. Secrets. This was so fun to read! And very atmospheric.
What’s on the shelf for you?
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