‘A good humoured satire of the cliches of Gothic romance…
When Clarissa Greendale inherits the fortune from a disreputable uncle she hardly knows, she does not expect to find herself forced into marriage with an aristocratic fortune hunter and wild, brawling, debauched social outcast.
Neither does she expect to inherit too the legacy of a wrongdoing from half a century before…
For the wicked Lord Venn is rumoured to have inherited a family curse, which, having dispatched the main perpetrators of the old crime, now moves on to their heirs, who are just as wild a set of rakes as their elders. There are rumours of violent deaths preceded by appearances from an inexorable Hooded Spectre, of inexplicable strikes of lightning, and of haunted mirrors.
The light hearted Harley Venn dismisses all these as conjuring tricks. He even hires a drunken charlatan of a professional magician to prove it.
Clarinda is far from sure that there is any rational explanation. Still it would take more than an enforced marriage to a pugilistic libertine or persecution from malevolent spectres to damage her steely nerves and ready sense of humour.
This lively Gothic comedy, written as a appreciative satire of the cliches of Gothic romance, gives the reader a warm hearted and courageous heroine, a wicked but beguiling anti-hero and an authentic historical background to the delightfully over-the-top adventures, plus a host of vivid supporting characters and many chills on its way to its tumultuous conclusion.’
Having worked on this for quite a while on and off, I’ve got quite attached to the characters. I think if an author is with them for more than six months, h/she is sorry to let them go.
No wonder so many authors write series.
As I said in a previous post, first I wrote it was a pure comedy – that seemed in bad taste given the tragic background story in France of the Ancien Regime. After 28,000 words, Writer’s Block settled in, horribly…
Then I wrote it mainly as tragedy – that didn’t suit the frequent bathetic happenings of the main story. The absurd goings on in Venn’s London house alone, with the awful valet O’Hare and his ungovernable children, the shameless maid Betsy and the life beseiged by creditors was far too ludicrous. Then, how could I bear to write out Ludovico Sharman, the Professor of Magic, Markmanship, Swordsmamship, Languages and Subtle Influence?
In the last eight months, I’ve been re-writing it as dark humour, and that went far better. I was so happy it didn’t end up as ‘The Manuscript in the Drawer.’
Now, I must get on with the ‘sequel to ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois’, which is half done.
Here are the links: