I mentioned Monday that I’d try to put together a little list of some spooky reading, set in England. I’m one who likes to dedicate my October reading to getting in the Halloween mood, so here are some books that add a rich, haunting layer to living here.
I’m on the verge of reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula now, which, though associated with Eastern Europe was probably most influenced by the village of Whitby in northern Yorkshire, England. Here are a few more gothic tales that I’ve acquired since moving to the UK:
The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins – set mainly in England’s northwestern county of Cumbria and partially in London’s own St. John’s Wood.
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë – set in the Yorkshire moors.
Virago Book of Ghost Stories, edited by Richard Dalby – a progression of tales through the last several decades, this anthology offers a diverse take on the ghost story by an assortment of celebrated female British authors.
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield – set in a fictional English location, this dark, dramatic tale captures the classic British settings of the antiquarian bookstore and the country estate.
The House on the Strand, by Daphne DuMaurier – this one is still technically on my to-read list, though I’ve read others by DuMaurier (Rebecca and Jamaica Inn), which always have a haunting quality whether supernatural or not. In any case, this particular novel has the element of time-travel and takes place in the village of Tywardreath (try to say that one five times fast) in southern Cornwall.
Haunted, by James Herbert – Also on my to-read list, this one was recommended to me, though I admittedly haven’t read anything by this best-seller author before. A paranormal investigation in a mansion in the English countryside sounds just like what the doctor ordered, though, right? (Right, perhaps if the doctor is Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll…)
Hopefully if you’re planning your relocation to London, I haven’t scared you away from the country altogether :). There’s no question Jolly Olde England has the right environment and architecture for a haunting—the moors, the wonky Tudor buildings, the grey stone—and if you watch TV at all, you’ll pick up on the national fascination with getting the crap scared out of you, be it supernatural programs like Most Haunted or Ghost Hunters International, or thriller/crime stories—the Alibi station is an entire channel dedicated to this genre alone. Every building of this corner of the world has a story to tell…and sometimes it’s the otherwordly that would like to share it with you…MWAH-HA-HA-HAAA…