Gothic Recommendations from Shannon Morgan

by Shannon Morgan

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

A darkly chilling story that follows the Blackwood sisters trying to regain their lives after half their family was poisoned some years before. Deeply psychological, the story’s progression is unsettling and makes for a delightfully uneasy and disturbing read. Shirley Jackson never failed to deliver, and though the book is over sixty years old, it is still one of the best in the Gothic tradition.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

I was blown away by Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street and read it in a single sitting. Last House is a gorgeously Gothic book, heart-breaking, raw and disturbing. It follows a lonely man, a cat and a young girl living together in a dilapidated house on the end of an ordinary street on the edge of a wood. The three are bound together by a terrible secret, equally haunted by a dreadful unsolved tragedy from many years before. I can’t recommend this book enough, in fact all of Ward’s books are disturbing and brilliant, and she is now one of my top authors. I’m very impatient for her next release.

The Night Begins by Abigail F. Taylor

The Night Begins is an excellent short read from a debut author, Abigail Taylor. Chilling, spooky, unsettling. It follows the story of Darcy and her mother, their uncomfortable relationship that has soured since Darcy’s father’s death and a truly dreadful family secret. Delving into the folklore of rural Texas, the prose is beautiful and offers the best of folk horror: thrills and chills, a bit of gore, and a deeply unsettling ending. Highly recommended!

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

I love all of T Kingfisher’s books, her characters are enchanting with a depth that always astounds and delights, and her humour is sly, but The Twisted Ones was truly disturbing.  A young woman called Mouse has the unlucky job of clearing out her dead grandmother’s house who was a dreadful hoarder, but something is living in the woods, a creeping menace. Definitely not to be read at night if you want to sleep. A fabulous Gothic/folk horror.

The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew

This cover snagged my interest, and Kelly Andrew’s story did not disappoint. A young, deaf girl Delaney Meyers-Petrov has to navigate academia after winning a scholarship at a prestigious university where students have the ability to move between parallel worlds, an ability gained only by those who’ve had near-death experiences. I’m not usually a lover of romance, but Delaney’s relationship with Colton Price is so well done, I didn’t notice that I don’t like romance. A beautifully written, dark and heart-breaking story. I shall be keeping an eye out for Andrew’s new book.

Francine Thwaite has lived all her fifty-five years in her family’s ancestral home, a rambling Elizabethan manor in England’s Lake District. No other living soul resides there, but Francine isn’t alone. There are ghosts in Thwaite Manor, harmless and familiar. Most beloved is Bree, the mischievous ghost girl who has been Francine’s companion since childhood.

When Francine’s estranged sister, Madeleine, returns to the manor after years away, she brings with her a story that threatens everything Francine has always believed. It is a tale of cruelty and desperation, of terror and unbearable heartache. And as Francine learns more about the darkness in her family’s past—and the role she may have played in it—she realizes that confronting the truth may mean losing what she holds most dear.

As moving and poignant as it is chilling, Her Little Flowers is a story of grief and enduring love—and of the haunting regrets only forgiveness can dispel.