With the evenings drawing in earlier and the temperature dropping, October is the perfect time to take comfort in something cozy and warm, and preferably a really great book. I personally love darker reads all year round. There’s something about a darker theme that keeps its reader more on edge and enthralled with its plot. While I love finding new reads like this, I have quite a collection that I love to return to around this time of the year and wanted to share a handful of them with you.
I won’t go into too much detail with this book as I wrote a review for it here however, this is a great Victorian ghost story that is beautifully written by Laura Purcell. It includes a gothic crumbling mansion, a newly-married/newly-widowed/newly-pregnant protagonist, a locked room with a two-hundred-year old diary within and painted wooden figures who’s eyes seem to follow all around them. This book is full of suspense and suspicion, threat and violence, all cloaked with a grim and gothic atmosphere. A perfect spooky read for around Halloween.
Again, I have a more in-depth review here for this addition. Newly-married Nella Brandt, finds herself gifted a magnificent dolls cabinet which not only is a replica of her new home but she’s also told to furnish it to her hearts delight. Soon after, an elusive miniaturist starts sending Nella pieces for her cabinet which start to predict the events around her. With each piece of furniture and figurine uncovering secrets of her new life, she soon starts to grasp the peril of the surrounding events that could endanger her and those around her. Set in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam, during the Dutch Golden Age of the seventh century, Burton’s research adds such a grim and authentic tone to the plot lines. While it is in essence a rather sad tale, the mystery surrounding the craftsmanship of the miniaturist is so gripping that I find it perfect for this time of year.
Here’s another little review from back in the day. We all know the story -even if we’ve never read it ourselves. Dracula is probably the most well-known vampire story; setting a benchmark for those to follow. I like to think of it as not so much a novel or story but a collection of journal entries, letters and articles; so it’s very much a epistolary form of literature. Each piece serves to create a suspenseful tale of horror and macabre that has lasted the test of time. I personally love the details of the locations; the howling wolves, remote castles, and cryptic strange figures. It’s just overall a wonderfully gothic tale that I think is perfect for this time of year.
This is one of my favourite books. The idea of a lonely phantom-figure terrorising an opulent theatre bustling with life and culture, causing mysterious accidents and murders along with feats of almost magic is such a beautiful concept to me. Leroux also makes the theatre so vividly enchanting. The descriptions of clandestine meetings, secret passageways, terrified ballerinas, empty theatre boxes, an underground mezzanine labyrinth, and snowy rooftops make for a gothic tale with such a chilling atmosphere. I think the thing that I love the most about this book is the overlap of real locations and real events in history that it was based of, mixed with the fictional tale make it more mysterious.
Now this isn’t as dark as the others above however I’ve placed it here more so for the striking descriptions. It’s a beautiful tale of duelling magicians, bewitching feats and enchantments, red-scarfed rêveurs, set to the backdrop of a Victorian circus clad in black and white and only opens at nightfall. With a whole host of other characters and subplots, you can’t help but be entranced by this work. This book is full of rich details of the circus tents like ‘The Wishing Tree’, ‘The Ice Garden’, and the bewitching carousel complete with breathing gryffins. It has such vivid descriptions throughout. Morgenstern makes use of all the readers senses, setting an atmosphere and ambience full of festivities that feels tangible. It’s imagery is incredibly captivating and just adds something so magical to the story. I wish I could go into the plot more but I now I will struggle not to give spoilers. I do have a review link here – which I probably should update, so you may see a revision of that soon. And yes, I know I have too many copies of this book but I do absolutely love it!
Do you have any dark reads that you think are perfect for this time of year? Let me know
Cheerio for now!