A monthly post about what I've been reading.
On the lighters side, I also read three delightfully gothic Barbara Michaels novels: The Walker in the Shadows; House of Many Shadows; Be Buried in the Rain; and Wait for What Will Come. When I realized in December that I didn't own a copy of Ammie Come Home, I went through my collection to see what else was missing and ordered them from a used book shop. Michaels is the pen name that Barbara Mertz aka Elizabeth Peters used for her books of suspense. These often, though not always, have a supernatural element and are generally more serious in tone than her Peters books, though not without humor, and they frequently have gothic elements--the big creepy house, the young ingenuous heroine who can't leave for some reason, mysterious goings-on, often a housekeeper who is either alarmingly grim in demeanor or unbelievably cheery. Occasionally they take place in the classic Victorian gothic setting. There's always at least one handsome love interest (and in one case four), who is sometimes a friend and sometimes a foe, and sometimes the heroine doesn't know which until too late. These four are all contemporary (as in they take place in the '70s and '80s, when they were written), and they're evenly split between those with supernatural causes of the mysterious happenings and those with human villains. House of Many Shadows is fun for being one of the few of Michaels's books with an older protagonist (although there is, as always, still a pair of "confounded young lovers," as Radcliffe Emerson--chief hero of the Amelia Peabody series by E. Peters--would say). So it's never too late to find yourself in a haunted house.
The novel I drafted in January was a takeoff on the Barbara Michaels contemporary gothic--an homage if you will--so it was fun to read these at the same time as writing my own. I even hid some Easter eggs in the text, including Michaels's books on the shelves of the creepy house.