#WitchWeek2020 Day 6: MEXICAN GOTHIC and the Classic Gothic Tale

Mexican shadows …

Lizzie Ross

Wrangling the specters today is guest blogger Kristen M, who has been blogging at WeBeReading.com for most of twelve years and is the creator of March Magics (which annually celebrates Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett). She lives in Seattle, loves baking, tolerates yard work, and hates laundry. In this post, Kristen’s review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s 2020 best-selling novel is framed within traditional Gothic tropes (similar to e-Tinkerbell’s use of classic plot arc to analyze The Betrothed), thus providing an excellent final post for this week of Gothick thrills.


When deciding on a gothic book for Witch Week (in my case, likely a reread since this is my most frequently read genre), I started getting curious about a book I was hearing a lot about and actually hadn’t read yet–Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  The gothic tale is typically held to be a British and American custom, based…

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#WitchWeek2020 Day 5: Gothic fantasy, with puppets

Invisible strings …

Lizzie Ross

Puppet shows! Fun times for all, right? Not in this chilling Newbery Honor book. In 2007, Laura Amy Schlitz had won the Newbery Award for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. This 2012 gothic fantasy by the same author takes place a few centuries later, in an England those medieval villagers could never have imagined.

And remember those towers that Chris mentioned four days ago in “Gothic Dreams”? Well, Schlitz gives her readers one that’s full of menace. Here’s her take on the Victorian gothic novel:


Splendors and Glooms, Laura Amy Schlitz (2012, Candlewick Press; published in UK and elsewhere as Fire Spell)

1860, London, autumn. For days, fog thick as pudding envelops the town. To cross a street is to gamble your life, since carriage drivers can’t see you before you’re a bump under their wheels. Mud, urine, manure, and offal ruin the shoes of…

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#WitchWeek2020 Day 4: M R James and the Gothic Tradition

The other Mr James …

Lizzie Ross

In this post, guest blogger Jean takes us to the world of M. R. James, famous for his creepy gothic tales, which have inspired several 20th and 21st century authors. Jean is a librarian blogging at Howling Frog Books who loves history, world literature, and anything involving textiles or embroidery.


M R James, 1900

Montague Rhodes James (1862 – 1936) spent his life as a scholar and medievalist, working at Cambridge and Eton, and he also wrote ghost stories on the side, for fun. He knew much of the Gothic tradition, and both drew upon it and departed from it, bringing new ideas to the scene; I think we can fairly call him a bridge from Gothic literature to the beginnings of modern horror. Being an antiquarian (enthusiastic does not begin to describe it), he enjoyed featuring ancient manuscripts, artifacts, or monsters, and his protagonists are often scholarly gentlemen…

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#WitchWeek2020 Day 3: The Graveyard Book

Rest in peace …

Lizzie Ross

2012 US paperback edition, cover by Dave McKean

“It takes a graveyard to raise a child.” 
(back cover of The Graveyard Book, US edition)

Appropriately for today, the Day of the Dead, we present you with a discussion of this year’s read-along book, a novel set in a cemetery. Four of us–Lory* from The Emerald City Book Review, Chris at Calmgrove, Jean at Howling Frog Books, and Lizzie–spent the last few weeks of summer discussing Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Award-winning novel, The Graveyard Book (2008). We addressed four questions of interest to us.

Many of you know this book, or have read it recently, and we hope that after reading our discussion you’ll add your own comments and questions, expanding this in new directions.


What did we think of the novel’s gothic nature?

A bloody knife promises danger.

Chris:The Gothick elements include the menace…

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#WitchWeek2020 Day 2: A Gothick Reading of The Betrothed

Head to Lizzie’s blog to read e-Tinkerbell‘s gothick reading of The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni.

the-bethroted