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Best Gothic Novels

Step into the shadows with these timeless gothic novels, celebrated by literary scholars and horror aficionados alike; each book has made its mark as a classic in the gothic genre according to numerous book blogs and articles.

Recommendations from 40 articles, Barack Obama, Emma Watson, Hillary Clinton and 38 others.
100 books on the list
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Frankenstein book cover
Mary Shelley - 2018-03-08 (first published in 1818)
Goodreads Rating
This Gothic thriller is a cautionary tale about the dangers of science. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a science student obsessed with discovering the cause of life. Upon bringing his creation to life, Frankenstein recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by loneliness, the creature turns to evil and seeks revenge against his creator. This bestseller raises thought-provoking questions on the meaning of humanity, our responsibilities to each other, and how far we should tamper with nature.
Recommended by
Guillermo del Toro
Dracula book cover
Bram Stoker - 1986-05-12 (first published in 1897)
Goodreads Rating
This classic horror novel explores the dark and twisted world of Count Dracula and his Victorian adversaries. As a series of disturbing incidents unfold in England, the battle between the sinister vampire and the determined human group heats up. Bram Stoker's work delves into complex themes of human identity, sanity, and Victorian sexuality, leaving readers breathless until the final page.
Rebecca book cover
Daphne du Maurier - 2013-12-17 (first published in 1938)
Goodreads Rating
An orphaned lady's maid is swept off her feet by a dashing widower's proposal of marriage. But upon arrival to his country estate, she realizes his late wife's shadow looms large, threatening to destroy their relationship from beyond the grave.
Recommended by
Glen Mazzara
Mexican Gothic book cover
Mexican Gothic
Silvia Moreno-Garcia - 2020-06-30
Goodreads Rating
Step into the eerie world of glamorous 1950s Mexico, where a socialite receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom. Against all odds, the courageous Noemí Taboada ventures to High Place, an isolated mansion in the Mexican countryside, to uncover the family's treacherous secrets. But as she delves deeper, she unearths stories of violence and madness, and finds herself mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place. Will she ever be able to leave this mysterious house behind?
The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde - 2004-06-01 (first published in 1890)
Goodreads Rating
A Gothic and philosophical novel, this controversial book by Oscar Wilde explores the boundaries of morality and art. Originally censored before publication, the story of Dorian Gray offended British reviewers who accused Wilde of violating public morality laws. Despite the backlash, the author passionately defended his work and released a revised version with a preface that became a literary manifesto. With its unflinching examination of beauty, sin, and decadence, this classic continues to captivate readers today.
Recommended by
Jenn Im
Beloved book cover
Toni Morrison - 2004-06-08 (first published in 1987)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the haunting and innovative world of a former slave in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Sethe may have escaped to Ohio, but memories of the beautiful yet tragic Sweet Home still hold her captive. A destructive ghost and a mysterious teenage girl, both named Beloved, only add to the weight of her past. Discover how Sethe navigates the horrors of slavery and the consequences it has on her family in this unforgettable classic.
Recommended by
Shonda RhimesAmy Cuddy
The Castle of Otranto book cover
The Castle of Otranto
A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics)
Horace Walpole - 1998-07-16 (first published in 1764)
Goodreads Rating
Uncover the origins of Gothic fiction with this groundbreaking supernatural novel, The Castle of Otranto. Follow the story of Manfred, the prince of Otranto, as he becomes consumed by an ancient prophecy and takes drastic actions that lead to a series of chilling, ghostly events. This novel, the first of its kind, has forever influenced the horror genre as we know it. This new edition features an insightful introduction by Nick Groom that delves into the cultural context of the Gothic movement and Walpole's pioneering innovations.
Jane Eyre book cover
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë - 2003-02-04 (first published in 1847)
Goodreads Rating
This classic tale tells the story of an orphaned young woman named Jane who struggles with feeling like an outcast. When she is hired to care for a young ward at Thornfield Hall, she falls in love with the brooding and mysterious owner, Edward Rochester. However, there is a terrifying secret lurking within the halls of Thornfield, and Jane must face difficult decisions about her future. Will she be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
Recommended by
Shonda Rhimes
The Monk book cover
The Monk
Matthew Lewis, Christopher MacLachlan - 1999-06-01 (first published in 1796)
Goodreads Rating
Enter a world of shocking, erotic, and violent desires with The Monk. Follow Ambrosio, a man torn between his spiritual vows and the temptations of physical pleasure, as his internal battle leads to sexual obsession, rape, and murder. Written by Matthew Lewis at just nineteen years old, The Monk revolutionized the Gothic Horror genre with its mixture of bloodshed, scandal, and even social comedy. Don't miss out on this ground-breaking novel that spawned hundreds of imitators.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle book cover
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Shirley Jackson - 2006-10-31 (first published in 1962)
Goodreads Rating
This captivating novel follows Merricat Blackwood and her sister Constance as they find refuge in their family estate after a tragic event leaves them isolated from the rest of their village. However, their happy isolation is threatened by the arrival of their cousin Charles, and Merricat must protect her sister from him at all costs. Full of mystery and suspense, this book will keep you on edge until the very end.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Vathek by William Beckford
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
Jane Austen by Jane Austen
[The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales] [by by Edgar Allan Poe
A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
The Governesses by Anne Serre
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle by Jennifer Ivy Walker
The Shining by Stephen King
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell
Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
Dragonwyck by Anya Seton
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
Mrs. England by Stacey Halls
White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton
Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt
Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
Lady Audley's Secret by M.E. Braddon
Gallant by V. E. Schwab
When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen
Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin
She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone
The Toll by Cherie Priest
Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Jess Kidd 4 Books Collection Set by Jess Kidd
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Sisters by Daisy Johnson
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
The Woman in Black by Stephen Mallatratt, Susan Hill, Sarah Ray
Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories by Carson McCullers
A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
The Woman in Black and Other Ghost Stories by Susan Hill
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra
The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield