Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Club Friday: Gothic Fiction

This is potentially the shortest Book Club Friday I will ever write.

It is already 11:35pm, I'm exhausted after five days of working 10-13 hours a day, and I had a beer with dinner. But I haven't posted a book review in three weeks, despite having read... eight books since then? I think?

In a very poor attempt to compensate for my lack of book reviews, I'm once again going to discuss two books, both brilliant works of gothic fiction. Once again, these were both bargains for my kindle. (Hi, my name is Belle Vierge, and I'm addicted to bargain books...) The first I actually read back in May, but the second I just read earlier this week. But when doing book reviews thematically, well, that happens.

The Twin's Daughter, by Lauren Baratz Logstead, involves long-lost twin sisters, a grisly murder, and mistaken identity. A Kiss Before Dying, by Ira Levin, chronicles a serial killer and his romantic conquests. Already off to a brilliant and creepy start, right?

From the author's website:

Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day… a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda?

I could not put this book down. It was brilliant from beginning to end. I went back and forth with Lucy in trying to figure out the mystery. I love that it includes some very creepy, chilling elements, but at the same time, treats Lucy like a normal teenage girl prone to jealousy and romantic entanglements. Excellent young adult novel!!!


A Kiss Before Dying not only debuted the talent of best-selling novelist Ira Levin to rave reviews, it also set a new standard in the art of mystery and suspense. Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures. But, then, he looks like the kind of guy who could get away with murder. Compellingly, step by determined step, the novel follows this young man in his execution of one plan he had neither dreamed nor foreseen. Nor does he foresee how inexorably he will be enmeshed in the consequences of his own extreme deed.

Again, I could not put this book down. I was a little hesitant to read it. Classics written 50+ years ago are hit or miss with me (why is The Scarlett Letter so popular?). But this book was pure genius. Oh, and he wrote it in his 20s. Way to make the rest of us look bad. It is written so creepily well that you're almost rooting for the cold-blooded killer. I mean... who does that? So many twists and turns and a brilliant ending.

I don't know how y'all feel about gothic fiction, but I love it. I was very pleased with my two kindle deals.


  1. I've never read any gothic fiction before!

    1. My freshman lit class was gothic fiction. Before that, I'd only read Edgar Allan Poe and Shirley Jackson.

  2. Wow, this post is so timely for me. Just today, I was reading through Ira Levin book summaries, looking for something good to read. I think I want to read Rosemary's Baby and The Perfect Day. Now I may add AKBD to my list.


    1. A Kiss Before Dying was just purchased on a whim, on sale on It ended up being a great choice!

  3. i just finished my annual reading of virgin that book

    1. I haven't read it, but I've seen the film. It's on my ever-growing To Read list. :)


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