Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Castle of Fear

The Castle of Fear is #11 in the Bantam lineup and was published in October 1974. Francis Marshall paints again 2 different covers. The Bantam edition has a gothic feel with the eerie haunted castle in the background looming behind the scared heroine. I see this cover and want a pink, poufy dress! Others probably want the blond Scotsman!!

In the Pan (UK) edition, the castle is still an eerie specter in the background, but not as menacing as in the other with the couple in a different pose. The plot of this story is that Tatika, running away from an unwanted suitor, becomes companion to the Duchess of Strathcraig. Of course, her son, the current duke, has a tragic secret! Francis Marshall, in a few strokes, paints us a picture of romance and tragedy.

Gothic romances were very popular in the 1960's and 1970's. Authors like Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt had a large following and many imitators. Most gothic romances were clean and slighly scary; suitable for teenage readers. The Gothic was started back in the late 1700's and early 1800's with authors like Mary Shelley and Ann Radcliffe. Even Jane Austen penned a satiric gothic: Northanger Abbey, mocking the novels of her day. Currently, the gothic/paranormal romance is very popular and books like Twilight are geared towards teenagers.

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