Friday, August 20, 2010

What is Christian Gothic Romance?

Author Nicola Beaumont is guest blogging today to describe an exciting new sub-genre in Christian romance.

Suspense. Terror. Women in danger. Classic gothic romances of the 19th century, as well as modern gothics by such novelists as Barbara Michaels and Victoria Holt, offered exciting stories by way of ghosts and all sorts of otherworldly—often non-Christian—happenings. They were a thrilling read, but I asked myself, could this gothic romance sub-genre really be pulled off in a Christian novel? My resounding conclusion was, “of course!"

Some classic elements in a gothic romance are:
• Suspense
• Tortured/misunderstood hero
• A heroine isolated/trapped and in danger
• A spooky/dark setting
• Supernatural occurrences
• Nature analogizing emotion

These elements, when enshrined within a Christian context, embody the salvation story. Our hero finds redemption, our heroine finds trust and peace, light is shed on the dark setting to reveal the truth—all truly Christian themes.

Into the Grae is set on a 19th century, misty Scottish moor. Someone is killing off the women Graeme loves. He thinks it’s a punishment from God, but as light is shed on the darkness, we discover the truth, and Graeme finds peace and a renewal of his faith.

Felicity is a woman of faith. A woman on a misguided mission who finds her life in danger. She must come to terms with her rash decisions and rely on God to protect her—from the external danger, and from her own emotions.

This is what the Christian Gothic Romance truly is—taking heart-pumping, nail-biting suspense, wrapping around the otherworldly, and through it, showing God’s love and truth.

Still not convinced that a gothic can be Christian? Leave a comment here, and I’ll randomly pick one person to receive a complimentary PDF of Into the Grae. You’ll be able to judge for yourself.

(Please remember to include an email address if it's not in your profile).

Here’s a sample of what's inside the story:

Scotland, 1823

Corpulent clouds bloated with rain cast restless shadows over Beacon Hill moor. Felicity Worthington tightened her grip on the horse’s reins as the curricle jostled over uneven ground. The impending storm gave her a moment’s pause. Was this venture worth the risk? She would end up in Bedlam, or worse, should her action prove to be folly. Still and yet, she snapped the leather, urging the black stallion to press on. Folly, or no, she would have the truth before this journey was complete. And her revenge.

Thunder rolled across the darkened sky, an angry mirror to her own knotted emotions. A bolt of lightning shattered the dusk. The horse reared, and Felicity’s hold on the reins slipped. With a violence, she was thrust to one side, her pelisse flying open to the icy, howling wind. A startled scream escaped her as the chill penetrated her walking dress, her petticoats, her skin. The blood in her veins seemed to freeze.

As the clouds gave way to their burden, she struggled to right herself, to grasp the strap before she was cast off the seat completely. Rain came in torrents. Her soaked, gloved hand slipped ever-so slightly before finding blessed purchase along the leather.
Thank You, Lord. I knew we were in accord. Please help me to reach Hamel House without further delay, that I may kill Graeme McCracken in due course. Clarissa’s death would not be in vain. Felicity had vowed it. So it would come to pass.

Rain slapped at her skin, stinging her cheeks, blurring her vision in the waning light as the horse flung itself wildly, then grappled for foothold as the road turned to thick, innavigable mud.

Thunder and lightning dueled once again. The stallion reared then faltered. A carriage wheel slammed hard into a rut. The vehicle swayed violently. Felicity lost the reins, her arms and legs flailing as her body launched into the air. The curricle keeled, the stallion collapsed. Felicity landed hard on the wheel then rolled off, hitting the mud face-up. Pain exploded in her body. Rain poured into her mouth as she struggled for breath. She coughed. The clouds billowed across the sky. The horse whinnied.

Then, all went black.

****

“Eleanor, fetch me clean water.”

The masculine voice penetrated the walls of Felicity’s unconscious mind. The words were plain, but the deep tone, made musical by a Scottish lilt, reverberated like a melody. She tried to open her eyes, to seek the sound, to partake of it once again, but she could not.

Something soft traced across her forehead. Then something cool. “Awaken fair stranger. You shall be fine in no time at all.” That voice. That touch. Come again, her mind beckoned.

“But, I am not a servant.”

Felicity winced. The female voice was shrill and whiny. Harsh.

“I need clean water, Eleanor. Why must you argue? Mrs. Haggerty is abed.”

A door opened. Closed. Something moved, caused Felicity to shift. Again, she struggled to open her eyes.

“Ah, that’s it.” The voice.

Speak again.

Light filtered in slowly. Her eyelids parted, and she focused on eyes as green as moor grass after a spring rain. They reflected compassion. Mesmerized, she could not look away.

“Welcome back to the living.” That voice. He leaned over and gently brushed hair from her cheek. “Can you tell me your name?”

She breathed in the scent of him. A genuine and pleasant masculine aroma not covered by the harsh colognes one tended to wear in the City. Refreshing.

She gave him a faint nod; her head felt heavy as a sack of flour. “Felicity Worthington?”

“Are you not quite sure, then?” His voice blanketed her in warmth, distracting her mind.

She thought she was sure. “Of a certain,” she said. Although, she wasn’t.

He studied her with those green eyes as he rubbed an open palm across his stubbled chin. So out of fashion, she thought. And so handsome. The dark shadow lent him a mysterious air and formed a perfect frame for his light eyes as it joined his shock of black hair. “Well, you certainly gave us a fright. No one tackles these moors at night, especially during a storm.”

“What do you mean, ‘at night’?”

Felicity turned her gaze towards the harsh voice. She hadn’t heard the door open, but now there stood a woman on the threshold holding a porcelain jug.

“No one tackles these moors at all anymore,” the woman said.

He glanced at her for a moment and then cast his gaze upon Felicity. A sadness was etched beneath those green eyes that tugged at her heart. “’Tis true.” He placed a cloth that Felicity had failed to notice earlier into a basin beside the bed. “Well, Eleanor, thank you for fetching the water. Please come and make the acquaintance of Miss Felicity Worthington.” He smiled at Felicity, but she took note that it did not meet his eyes.

The woman scoffed and dropped the pitcher onto the sideboard that sat to the left of the door. Liquid sloshed, leaving droplets of water on the rich mahogany surface. “I do not know what is wrong with you. I neither care to make the acquaintance of Miss Felicity Worthington, nor believe you should be playing nursemaid to her, Graeme. She is obviously ill-mannered and a trollop! Why else would she be out after dark and quite literally alone on the moor?” She spun and exited the room, the door slamming behind her.

Felicity lay stunned.

“I must apologize for my sister-in-law. She but worries on me overmuch and thinks I should have a care for my reputation.” He shook his head, and ebony strands glided to and fro across his brow. “Why, I do not understand. My reputation is a shambles. I could do naught to worsen it.”

Graeme. Surely it was not so! This beautiful male specimen with the voice like smooth, polished marble. A voice that stirred the soul even whilst it lay unconscious. This…this was Graeme McCracken, the very devil himself?


Nicola Beaumont lives in the Southwest with her husband and children. Into the Grae is her fourth White Rose Publishing title. In addition to writing romance, Nicola writes mystery/suspense. Her latest, Silent Witness, is an August 2010 release by Avalon Books.



Thanks so much Nicola for visiting today! Don't forget, if you'd like to win a copy of her book, Into the Grae, show Nicola some love in the comment section and be sure to include your email address if it's not in your profile!


(And thank you to everyone popping by from the Friday book blog hops! Please wave at Nicola while you're here!)



Book Blogger Hop

40 comments:

  1. Congrats on being the featured blog this week! Looking forward to reading more of your reviews:)

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  2. Happy Friday! Just stopping by! You have a really lovely blog! Stop by and say Hi! -Steph http://thethoughtsofabookjunky.blogspot.com/2010/08/are-you-following-me.html

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  3. Been thinking a lot about just this topic lately. I loved gothics when I was younger, and right now I'm reading Tina Pinson's "In the Manor of the Ghost" - a Christian Gothic. Thanks for bringing up a genre I thought long forgotten.

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  4. oops; forgot the email:
    muschfarm@yahoo.com

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  5. Great interview - I enjoy a good gothic romance rather than the 'straight up' kind. A little edginess is always in order!

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  6. Just stopping by for the hop and friday follow! I hope you are having a good week so far!

    Feel free to stop by and visit me at Addicted To Romance

    Happy Reading!

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  7. Congrats on being the featured blogger. I honestly didn't know what your genre was about but that little excerpt was great. I wanna read it. Anything that's got a Scottish man in it has to be great! Thanks for introducing yourself to us. Good luck with your book. Keep trying. Heather

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  8. Thanks everyone for popping in today. Just to clarify, I've got two things going on at once. I'm Friday's featured book blogger at Parajunkee's blog hop, but also I have a guest blogger today, author Nicola Beaumont, talking about Christian Gothic Romance.

    The book excerpt is Nicola's, not mine. I'm not published yet. And Nicola is giving away a copy of Into the Grae, so if you like the excerpt, please leave your email address to be entered in the drawing.

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  9. This excerpt sounds interesting, though I have to hadmit that Christian fiction isn't usually my thing. I love the "Gothic" feel though!

    Found you through Follow Friday. Have a great weekend! :)

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  10. Waving at Nicola, dropping in to say congrats for being the featured blog this week. I love visiting your blog. Have an awesome weekend!

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  11. Congrats on being the featured blog this week! Just wanted to say hi and Happy Friday! I'm now a new follower.

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  12. congrats on being featured on the Follow Friday! i am a new follower and if you have time, come follow me at

    www.bookinglyyours.blogspot.com

    ~iamjenai~

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  13. Congratulations on being featured for Follow Friday! Exciting! I'm hopping by and am a new follower. Hope you get a chance to drop by my blog too.

    www.livelaughread.net

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  14. Congrats on being featured. Following you now.

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  15. Hi Joy!!!! Congrats on being the Feature!!!! You totally rock!!!!! --I'm already a follower, but thought I'd stop by and say hi!!!

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  16. Hi Nicola! I don't read much Christian fiction but I love stories with a gothic feel and a little romance, and after reading that sample I really want to read this.

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

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  17. Congrats on being the featured blogger. I'm hopping over to say hi and hope you have a great weekend. x

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  18. Happy Friday!! I'm now a follower. Congradulations on being this Fridays featured blogger and Have a great weekend!

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  19. Congrats! I can see you were picked! Great blog -I'm following you.

    Hop on by to Paromantasy I'll see you there :-)

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  20. Already a follower! Love your design! Just hopping by via the hop! Have a great weekend!

    Carrie
    www.just-one-more-chapter.com

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  21. Love your blog! I am a new follower!

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  22. Hi! I found you through the hop. I'm a new follower. I hope you can check out my blog sometime. Love your blog!
    -Elena
    elenasbookcafe.blogspot.com

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  23. Hey, stopping by from http://acozyreaderscorner.blogspot.com to say hi for this Friday's hop! I like your blog, I'm following you via my reader now!

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  24. Whew, it's been a morning!

    I've caught up to here returning the hops. Thank you all so much for taking the time to visit.

    But I bet the winner of the giveaway will be someone who has shown Nicola some love too. :)

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  25. Congrats on being featured! Just dropping by to wish you a wonderful weekend!!

    Happy reading!
    Missy @ Missy's Reads & Reviews

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  26. Oh, this book sounds awesome, thanks for the recommendation!

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  27. I love the thought that there is such a thing as Christian Gothic Romance. Looking forward to more book reviews. =)

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  28. Interesting. I knew there was Gothic romance but I guess I wasn't really thinking that could translate into Christian fiction. Salvation stories make perfect sense. Thanks for the post!

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  29. Joy, you did an outstanding interview with Nicola about her new gothic book. The book sounds chillingly exciting. I enjoy historical novels that take place in Scotland. It's all those old castles!! I've not read Nicola's writings previously, and this novel is perfect to begin. Please add me to the giveaway and I appreciate the opportunity to win. Hope I do!!

    Sharing Christ's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

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  30. Hello, I love the ideas you have here! Wonderful. :)
    I am a new blog follower via follow my blog Friday and wish you well! -laura

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  31. Hey Joy,

    Thanks for the feature...and everyone, thanks for the comments. I'll be drawing a winner soon.

    Many blessings to you all.

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  32. Thanks so much Nicola for spending time with us here at Edgy Inspirational Romance. I would love for you to come back and visit again! When you pick the winner, please post the name in the comments here so we can all congratulate her.

    To my blog hopping buddies, if I haven't returned the visit yet, I'll be there today! Thanks for all the good wishes you've sent my way.

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  33. Hi there! Congrats on being the feature for Follow Me Friday! You have a lovely blog and I'm on my way to hit the follow button. Have a wonderful Saturday.

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  34. My mom has read nothing but gothic novels since the sixties. I can't wait to tell her about this new genre.

    I am a new follower!

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  35. Im looking forward to reading this book as I am a big fan of the Edgy Christian Novels :)
    www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com

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  36. I am hopping by from the BLOG HOP - congrats on being the "featured blog".

    Love the "romance"-pic at the bottom of your blog!

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  37. You won an award come check it out at www.just-one-more-chapter.com!

    Carrie

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  38. I must apologize for not posting the winner sooner! Since I'm running late in posting, I going to give an extra copy. I hope you both enjoy Into the Grae...

    and Joy, thanks for hosting me. I enjoyed it.

    The winners are:
    linaramz
    Naomi Musch

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  39. Yay, two winners, what a pleasant surprise! Thanks Nicola.

    Congrats to Linaramz and Naomi!

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  40. Yay! Thank you, Nicola and Joy, for the great post and giveaway! I'm really looking forward to reading Into the Grae!

    And congrats to Naomi!

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