'Tis the season for chilling and creepy, ghostly and ghoulish, gory and grisly. This makes it the perfect time to read Carmilla! Victorian writer Le Fanu wrote Carmilla in 1872 and it's considered the first Vampire novel and a precursor to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's a quick read and the perfect listen if you're driving for approximately 3 hours on a dark and rainy night.
The story starts out with a girl named Laura waking from a nightmare in which a mysterious and beautiful woman watches her while she sleeps. Laura experiences a terrifying and painful piercing sensation above her breast and when she screams for help, the woman disappears under her bed. I knew immediately what was going on at this point. But sweet Laura and her trusting father live in an isolated castle and don't know about these things.
Years later, young women are inexplicably dying all over the countryside, including a dear friend of Laura's who was scheduled to stay for an extended visit. Coincidentally, a coach carrying a mysterious and beautiful woman crashes near Laura's castle and the woman is invited to stay for three months' time. The woman, Carmilla, looks so much like the woman from Laura's bad dream! And, alas dear reader, it's love at first bite. Or is it? Something that is far more obvious in the audio than when I read the book are the sexual undertones. The gasping and shuddering elevate the story to a degree that I missed earlier. All told, Carmilla is a thrilling tale.
If you're looking for other gothic reads, my favorites include:
- The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story by Horace Walpole
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
And a new young adult book I'm looking forward to:
- The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring. Described as a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist. A young teacher named Mavi starts a new job at the Vaccaro School located in a haunted Argentinian mansion. One of her students goes missing. There are warnings not to roam at night. And a family curse.That's all I need to know!