It is 1837 and the young Queen Victoria has just ascended the English throne.
Orphaned and penniless after her father’s death in India, Lucy Alleyne is forced to accept a post as companion to an elderly lady until a distant relative spirits her away to Castle Athal on the Cornish coast. But Lucy’s initial gratitude at Lady Demelza Jago’s benevolence soon gives way to unease.
The ancient Cornish castle, known locally as Tenebris, is a dark monument to the family’s history and secrets. Within its embrace Lucy is drawn into friendship with Tynan Jago. The young Earl of Athal is handsome and poetic yet tortured, like his father before him. Tynan is utterly different from his uncle, Uther, whose seductive, leonine power radiates from his every word and gesture.
Between them the two Jago men have innocent Lucy enthralled—mind, body and soul. If she remains within the bloodstained castle walls, with their history of ill-starred passion and madness, a mere broken heart will seem a blessing.
Targeted Audience: 21-50
Jane Godman writes in a variety of genre. Many of her stories are heavily tinged with the supernatural and elements of horror, with haunted characters tormented by dark secrets.
The Jago Legacy Series, her gothic romances, are love stories with a dash of horror and a creepily ever after. Her dark erotic romantic suspense books, The Cunning Prophet Series feature supernatural elements and a charismatic, obsessive villain. Jane also writes steamy historical romance for Samhain Publishing and is working on a three book series for Harlequin in their Nocturne (paranormal) line.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Young Adult horror novella she has coming out later in the year with MuseItUp Publishing!
Jane loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at:
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Why do I love reading and writing gothic romance?
Gothic romance is a melodramatic style of writing that originated in 18th century England in the tortured imaginations of writers including Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe. Soaring castles, dark dungeons, ghosts, murderers, eerie secrets, kidnap, incest, rattling chains, mad monks…some, or all, of the above feature in the best examples of the genre.
Many of the plots of later gothic romances followed a similar theme to the classics such as Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. A young woman who is all alone in the world goes to live in a creepy old house owned by a mysterious man with dark secrets. Once she gets there she is terrorised by a series of unexplained events, and must find the courage to solve the mystery, usually discovering that the man who appears to want to harm her is, in reality, a damaged soul who she can save with her love.
Reading, and writing, in the gothic style allows us an outlet for our darkest imaginings. From the safety of our armchair, we can accompany the gothic heroine as, clad in a clinging white nightdress, with only a single candle to light her way, she climbs the creaking stairs to discover just what those strange noises in the attic actually are.
In the best gothics, a sense of menace pervades each part of the story, because every character has secrets. We suspect them all. Our heroine’s life is constantly in danger, yet she has to stay in the crumbling mansion or spooky castle. She must find out who is trying to kill her young charge or uncover the mystery of the first wife who haunts her marital home.
The more of the story she unravels, the greater the tension. The hero behaves in a strange and often churlish manner and we are repeatedly invited to question his motives. He has dark secrets, yet our heroine, who we have come to love, is irresistibly drawn to him. Can she/we have got him all wrong?
There was a lot I could not understand about him, but that air of mystery about him enthralled me. There were times when he talked freely about himself, but even at such times I had the impression he was holding back something, some dark secret perhaps, or something he did not entirely understand himself. Catherine, the heroine in Victoria Holt’s Kirkland Revels
One of the best things about a well written gothic is the atmosphere. Picture our heroine in her flimsy gown, nervous but determined as she enters the forbidden abandoned wing, or tiptoes down the stairs to the dungeons, climbs the ladder to the attic full of cobwebs and moth-eaten furnishings, running from the house in terror toward the clifftop… We’ve all seen those scenes in horror films. We’ve all shouted at the screen “Don’t go into the attic!” and shivered with a combination of pleasure and terror when our heroine ignores us.
Gothic romances have been crying out for a revival. Our heroine was due an injection of feistiness. The gender tables had to be turned. The sensuality that was hinted at by Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels and their contemporaries needed to be made explicit.
The ‘New Gothics’ had to happen.
Read more, including a sample from the book
Sample from Book:
“Penny for your thoughts, little Lucy?” His voice intruded into my daydream far sooner than I had expected.
“I was thinking of you.” I bit my lip at my own guileless transparency. “Wondering how long you would be, I mean. Your business was concluded very quickly.”
He offered me his arm and we strolled around the harbour’s edge, enjoying the mild sunshine. “Would that it were always so,” he sighed.
“Yet you will soon be able to relinquish the care of the estate to Tynan,” I pointed out. He did not seem to be doing a great deal to prepare his nephew for that responsibility.
“If only it was that simple.” He did not elaborate and I did not ask him to. We reached the end of our perambulations and Uther gave the sky a knowing glance. “We should set off,” he said, and I thought, or perhaps hoped, I heard a note of reluctance in his voice. “Those clouds on the horizon will bring rain.”
He was right. The weather, so perfect on the ride to Port Isaac, changed abruptly as we rode back. Raindrops as large as coins spattered down on us. A brisk wind blew the puddles dry before they had even formed and slapped the sea into waves. This remnant of last night’s storm had the effect of slowing my sluggish mount even further, and I began to worry that the downpour would ruin my beautiful new habit. There was no shelter to be seen for miles around, but Uther gestured for me to follow him off the road and down a tree-lined path. At the end there was a tiny cottage, obviously empty and desperately ramshackle. We tied up the horses and went inside.
“One of our retired farm workers lived here until he died a few months ago. It is not exactly luxurious, but at least we will be dry,” Uther explained, searching in the pantry for some kindling to add to the pile of logs in the desolate hearth. Before long he had also found a tinderbox and managed to get a blaze going.
“Take your jacket off and hang it before the fire,” he ordered as I stood shivering and holding out my hands to the meagre heat. I obeyed and soon the fine wool was steaming as it dried over the back of a rickety chair. My cotton chemisette clung damply to me like a second skin. Uther threw himself down into a faded armchair and held out a hand toward me. Mesmerised by the light in those panther-like eyes, I placed my hand in his and allowed him to draw me closer so that I stood imprisoned between his knees. “Now this,” he said quietly, plucking at the wet material of my shirt. It was a command.
Slowly, I undid each of the tiny buttons. He did not take his eyes from my face. When my shirt was completely undone, he reached out and slid it from my shoulders. I swallowed the sudden constriction that appeared in my throat as, taking his time, he studied my high, pointed breasts.
“Very pretty,” he said at last.
I bit my lip. “Too small,” I whispered, hanging my head.
Reaching out a leisurely hand, he placed it over my right breast. “Not so. See how my hand covers your breast so completely? Just as if they were made to fit perfectly together.” His voice was detached, as though he were still discussing the weather. “I like the way your nipple springs to life at my touch and presses itself so insistently into my palm, demanding more. Which you shall have.” A wicked smile crossed his features. “Take off your skirt.”
I did not hesitate, such was the hypnotic power he had over me. I stood shyly before him in just my cotton bloomers. With deft fingers, Uther loosened my hair so that it tumbled about my shoulders and down my back.
“But you are beautiful, Lucia,” he said hoarsely, sliding a finger under my chin and tilting my face up to meet his eyes. I melted against him, a soft, sighing groan escaping me. His hands slid inside the waistband of my bloomers and down to cup my buttocks. I nearly swooned.
“Before we go any further,” he said, pushing me from him slightly, his large hands almost spanning my waist. “I want to explain something. I am not going to take your virginity, Lucy…not yet, anyway. I have my own reasons for that reticence, which need not concern you. But fear not. You have been longing for this, I know. And I am going to give you what you want. I will make you scream with delight, that much I can promise.”
Matching actions to words, he slid my drawers down as he spoke and lifted me, naked and trembling with wanton anticipation, onto his lap.