Must-Read Gothic Novels

What exactly is Gothic literature? Gothic literature is a sub-genre of Gothic horror that combines fiction and horror with death and occasionally romance. Originating in the 18th century, Gothic literature has been popular throughout the 19th century with novels like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe, and Bram Stoker.

Today, Gothic literature remains popular with the classics as well as modern stories. Here are some popular Gothic literature titles that can be found in our library. For the complete list of over 50 must-read Gothic novels, visit

Bastard Out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison
Greenville County is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright’s: a tight-knit clan of rough, hard-drinking men who shoot at each other’s trucks and women who marry young too quickly. Ruth Anne Boatwright is a child born out of wedlock that views the world around her with a keen perspective. When her nasty stepfather becomes more vicious towards her, Ruth Anne finds herself testing the loyalty of her mother.

Beloved – Toni Morrison
Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is persistently haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl.

Bitter Orange – Claire Fuller
From the attic of a dilapidated mansion, Frances Jellico sees Cara and Peter. The couple is spending the summer of 1969 while Frances researches architecture in the surrounding gardens. Distracted by a peephole in her bathroom floorboard, Frances discovers access to her neighbor’s private lives.

Delicious Foods – James Hannaham
Darlene is an exceptional wife and mother to her young son, Eddie, and is devastated by the death of her husband. Unable to cope, she quickly turns to drugs. One day she disappears and Eddie is now left behind panicking to find her, only to find that his mother provided false promises of a good future.

Dracula – Bram Stoker
Having deduced the double identity of Count Dracula, a wealthy Transylvanian nobleman and a small group of people vow to rid the world of the evil vampire.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Scientist Victor Frankenstein creates a large and powerful creature in the likeness of man, but is disgusted by his own creation and he abandons the being to fend for itself.

Her Body and Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The lives of two sisters–Nettie and Celie, are revealed in a series of letters exchanged over thirty years.

The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Set against the tumultuous years of the post Napoleonic era, Dumas recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantès, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason

The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal
In 1850s London, the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and two people meet by happenstance. For Iris, it is a brief and forgettable moment but for Silas, the meeting marks a new beginning.

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