Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Gothic Novel in Bath - Really?

 Opening with a repeat of one of my favorite photos: the grandgirls jumping on a sand dune in Dubai. (Other gallery photos below.)

Dubai - a stopover on the way to Singapore

 The girls have also made at least three trips to Argentina (to visit family), as well as "doing" the Mediterrean, Venice, and London with the extended family in 2015. I frequently wonder if they have any idea how privileged they are. (When speaking with them, you'd never know they'd ever been out of Central Florida.) 

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The Trials and Tribulations of 
Setting a Gothic Novel in Bath

Okay, as I admitted when I embarked on my latest Gothic (supposed Gothic), Bath—beautiful, far-from-eerie home to the elderly and infirm—seemed a highly unlikely setting for a Gothic novel. And, as I suspected might happen, the story so far could best be described by that Regency expression:  "Neither fish nor fowl nor rare roast beef." Sigh.

But as a long-time "out of the mist" author, I sit down each day, eager to find out what happens next. Yes, I made a list of possible death sites and this time I actually know the identity of the villain (villains?) in advance. (A rare occurrence.)  But, oh horrors, I have put a hero's Point of View in a Gothic novel. A POV that reveals he is not the villain.  What fun is that? Gothic heroes are supposed to be suspicious. But the supposed hero of The Abandoned Daughter did commit a sin for which the heroine is not about to forgive him. So in addition to an increasing count of dead bodies, we have the required Conflict.

But wait! Conflict is a "must" for Romance. Eerie atmosphere and mysterious deaths generally considered the only "musts" for a Gothic novel. Eerie . . . in Bath? I could, perhaps, add massive clouds of fog rolling off the River Avon, church bells tolling in the middle of the night, the sound of heavy breathing behind a hedge in the Sydney Gardens labyrinth. Oops, we already have that last one. As well as passages that sound more like Mystery than either Gothic or Regency Romance. (In addition to sounds of Grace grinding her teeth.)

So, yes, it's hard slogging with this one. Advice to my writer friends:  stick with haunted castles, ghosts, a lone heroine against the world. And yet, I'm enjoying the challenge. Hopefully, the tenet of "suspended disbelief" will hold true, and The Abandoned Daughter will be a "good read," if a bit of a Frankstein's monster.

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In a moment  oddly reminiscent of Dubai (above), three Citrus singers, including Cassidy, jump on the beach on Florida's Atlantic coast after a performance in Daytona. These jumpers, with a startlingly clear reflection.

Photo by Susie Reale

This "popped up" on Facebook. Love it!

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A classic Gothic Romance to illustrate this week's post:


After the death of her father, young Serafina Blackthorne of New Haven, Connecticut, becomes a reverse immigrant, traveling from the New World to the Old. To her grandfather, who lives on Dartmoor, a place where eerie legends abound and where she discovers, to her horror, she is marked for death by the Blackthorne Curse. The more Serafina attempts to outmaneuver the Curse, the more she seems to jump from the frying pan into the fire. She finally has but one hope left. But does her childhood friend really want to save her, or is he destined to be her executioner?

Author's Note: This book is a Gothic novel set in the Regency period—a style of story where a young woman finds herself basically alone and battling threats to her life, some from humans, some from possibly supernatural sources. But in spite of all the angst, it is also a romance. I hope you will enjoy reading this tale in a style made famous by Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


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