All I Want for Christmas Is... A Gothic Romance (True Story! That Is All I Want)
Simone St. James
I am what we call in American parlance a “scaredy cat.” I still watch scary movies through a crack in my fingers. When the music starts speeding up and I’m positive that at any moment a ghost-hand is going to dart out from underneath a bed (thank you, The Sixth Sense, for ruining my life), I turn the sound down to half the normal volume so that I won’t be quite as frightened.
All of this is to say that I’m surprised that I love gothic stories. And gothic stories, particularly those with romance in them, are my jam/my happy place.
Simone St. James had been on my “to read” list for a couple of years and 2016 was the year that I finally made it through her catalog: The Haunting of Maddy Clare (2012), An Inquiry into Love and Death (2013), Silence for the Dead (2014), The Other Side of Midnight (2015), and Lost Among the Living (2016). Paranormal romances set in England between the world wars, St. James’ novels are atmospheric, suspenseful, and tender, and I devour them like they’re Chocolate Chunk cookies from Costco. (That means that I read them very, very quickly).
In each book St. James’ main character is an intrepid woman who engages with some element of the occult. Whether the woman is battling a ghost or trying to solve a murder, the stakes are high. And on the romantic front, the main female character in each book finds herself falling in love with a deliciously attractive man. Yes, all of this is highly realistic—and I’m not being sarcastic.
So if you like your frights to be balanced with a healthy dollop of sensuality (more sweet than explicit), try Simone St. James’ books. They offer a delightful, satisfying escape.
Perfect If You: Want to be scared but not too scared; love gothic romances and you’ve read Rebecca a million times already
Not Recommended If You: Are a highly skeptical person who is unwilling to believe that a person might be able to end a haunting + fall in love with a human simultaneously.
Check Out: If you like St. James’ books, try another great book I read in 2016, This House is Haunted, by John Boyne. I also have a MAJOR literary crush on Kate Morton, who has published numerous books in this same vein. While I didn’t read any of her books this year, I recommend her HIGHLY. (I contemplated using “bigly” instead of “highly,” but as far as I’m concerned it’s too soon for those kinds of Trump jokes.)
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Give me that HEA, please.
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