I adore this modern gothic trend. You really don't see it all that much, and I'm always looking for more, but every one that I have gotten my hands on thus far has been utterly fantastic reading.
Setterfield follows the gothic style to a T. If you aren't familiar with the gothic genre, here's some info from wikipedia:
Definition: Gothic fiction (sometimes referred to as Gothic Horror) is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. As a genre, it is generally believed to have been invented by the English author Horace Walpole, withis 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto.
Wikipedia goes on to say the following of gothic fiction: Prominent features of Gothic fiction include terror (both psychological and physical), mystery, the supernatural, ghosts, haunted houses and Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, death, decay, doubles, madness, secrets and hereditary curses.
For more, here's the link to the Wikipedia entry. Check out the list of works at the end for more reading.
And, here's my review of Diane Setterfield's debut from the bookbitch.com archives:
Every so often, readers get to experience a truly amazing story - this is one of them. Bestselling author Vida Winter has never been forthcoming about her past. For years, she’s done what she does best; told stories. Now, with her health failing her, she’s decided it’s time to tell the truth. Biographer Margaret Lea has spent her life immersed in classic literature. When she receives a letter from Ms. Winter requesting that she pen the author’s biography, her first instinct is to refuse. She becomes intrigued after reading Winter’s most famous novel Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation, a novel that has gained almost cult status due to the fact that there are only twelve stories. What follows is a tale of tragedy, ghosts, twins and, ultimately, family. By using elements found in classic gothic literature, Diane Setterfield has created a truly phenomenal debut. Her vivid story captures readers from the very beginning. This is perfect rainy day reading.
I just wish that Setterfield would release something new to satisfy my craving of more modern gothic lit. I just can't get enough of it and it's so freaking hard to find. For all you thriller readers out there, a warning: Gothic lit, modern or classic, is slower reading than today's thrillers. I mention this only because I have heard folk complain of how bored they get in reading them. If you need constant action in order for a book to keep your attention (nothing necessarily wrong with that, but a reflection of our modern taste and a little sad) then this is probably not the genre for you. They build slowly which, for me, increases the level of suspense and allows for plenty of character development and sets an overall eerie tone to the book if it's done right. Setterfield does it right!
To close, here's a link to a video I found on YouTube. I wish I lived in a city where people gave away fantastic and free books!