Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Gothic Novels

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. (Sam is taking a break from T5W for the summer, but we have tons of old topics to use/revisit during that time, so I’m planning to do a combination of that and making up my own topics this summer.) You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

I fell in love with Gothic fiction about 20 years ago when I first started reading Edgar Allan Poe, but I don’t actually read a ton of it. Or maybe I do? I feel like Gothic lit is one of those sub-genres that’s a little hard to nail down and define precisely, because there are so many elements that can be combined to create a work of Gothic fiction. Or maybe it’s just me, and I overthink things, who knows. Anyway…

For this post, I’m focusing on books that may or may not have a hint of paranormal, but not books that focus a lot on hauntings, vampires, etc. (Which is why things like The Woman in Black by Susan Hill didn’t make this week’s list.)

In no particular order, as usual…

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë was the one piece of Gothic literature I was most nervous about reading, because I read Wuthering Heights first and hated it. In my opinion, Jane Eyre is worlds better. (I can enjoy unlikable characters. That wasn’t my only issue with Wuthering Heights.)

The Picture of Dorian Gray

It took me like a month to finish The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and I really don’t know why. I think maybe I was savoring it, because I absolutely loved it. Wilde’s writing is some of my favorite ever, and I really want to re-read this one in the near future to see if I love it as much (or more) the second time.

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is so hard to nail down, because it has so much genre crossover. But I’m including it on this list for reasons. Reasons I can’t really remember specifically, but I remember the feeling this book evoked.


I’m going to be honest: I’m not sure if Rebecca Stott’s Ghostwalk is truly Gothic fiction, but I think it’s definitely close enough. This book is, in my opinion, highly underrated. I think it might be because people went into it with expectations that weren’t met, but I’m not sure. I went into it with no expectations because I randomly found it somewhere for $2 and was drawn in by the cover 😛 I don’t even think I retained more about the synopsis than “alchemy, Isaac Newton, Cambridge, deaths,” but I was sold.


And finally, my most recent Gothic read, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Finally. It took me forever to actually get around to this book, despite having it on my TBR for over a decade. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, but I think that was just because it is soooo hyped still. But it was very, very good, and I do recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.

Do you read Gothic literature?

What’s your favorite?

Are any of these on your TBR?

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