Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dark Eden (B. Kevern) Cover Art

I reviewed this book on 11/29/08 and today found its cover via

Friday, January 30, 2009

The House of Moreys // The Evil That Waited *Cover Scans*

This is THE most beautiful cover art I've yet encountered. Can't you just *feel* the bite of the cool humid air? The title's styling, coloring, the young woman, the overall ambience: It simply begs to be opened, delved into; savored. I had to have this, so purchased it. Cover scan from

On January 14 I posted the 1st cover art for this novel I'd seen. I was a bit surprised to find this other, also via

I'm currently reading "Moon in Shadow" by Aynn Westminster and am trying to obtain a scan of its cover. So far it is a big LEMON which probably won't even earn a 3-star rating from me unless the 2nd half of the book is an abrupt about-face from the flooziness of the 1st half, and somehow redeems itself. I was actually about to toss it into a container when now -- suddenly -- it seems the heroine finally IS onto something [when she's not going from man to man like a revolving door, and is "crushed" whenever any 1 of the 3 doesn't notice her dress/hair/whatever (re: codependent dolt)]. More on that later.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Two freaky [but unique!] covers

I do have this novel, but likely will not read it as it's in very poor/delicate condition; want to avoid handling it. The girl's hair is blowing straight out on an invisible breeze, yet her skirt is still. And she has a boxy appearance. The colors are good, but finer details are odd:

What in tarnation?? This is bizarre. Is she The Incredible Hulk's sister, gone to Hawaii to become a hula dancer? Or perhaps Scotty accidentally beamed an Orion dancing slave girl onto a Gothic world? I don't have this novel {thankfully; it WOULD give me nightmares}!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More cover art of novels I don't have

All scans obtained from via Ebay search:

Has the deep haunted blue-black-grey I particularly enjoy. The overall style [including flora in the foreground] is my absolute favorite Gothic cover art style. :-)

Very nice!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Secret of Canfield House by Florence Hurd [1966]

This is an awesome novel; definitely rates 5 stars out of 5. The scan was obtained via Ebay [corner camera icon]. I would apologize for not being able to provide a face-on scan; this image has the book propped up. *However* it is an excellent image; crisper and nicer than my copy's cover. :-) It's also bluer; my copy's cover is mostly shades of green: Drab olive and muted sage tones. Same publisher - Fawcett Gold Medal; however, the publisher's icon is also different.

The story opens in late October with Emeline [love that name] Ferris' interview with Mrs. Canfield for a job as housekeeper to Canfield House. It's been in the Canfield family for nearly 200 years, previously lived in regularly. For 10 years it went mostly unused, but now Mrs. Canfield intends to visit more frequently. She also is renovating the place, including reinstating all the old fireplaces her father had boarded up and plastered over. Mrs. Canfield's son, Miles, in his mid-30s, also visits Canfield House occasionally but he refuses to spend nights there; when visiting he overnights at the Tayburn Inn [Tayburn is the nearby village].

Emeline is approximately 26 years old and down on her luck. Both parents are now deceased. She fled her New England hometown shortly after nursing her now-deceased father, when a former schoolmate painfully pointed out Emeline's "still single" status. Stung and unconfident, Emeline moves to New York City. She meets a promising suitor...who savagely jilts her. Nearly penniless, depressed and out of her latest job [replaced by a machine!] Emeline is desperate to be hired on at Canfield House. It'll be secure employment, only require dealing with the snooty and demanding Mrs. Canfield 2 days per week [if that], is situated snugly in the countryside. Emeline knows she belongs "back in the country"; NYC was a big mistake.

Emeline is hired. She's given use of a Canfield vehicle and drives to the estate [I loved the descriptives used in the telling of Emeline's countryside journey; it was as good as being along for the ride, and brought back happy memories of my own]. She soon meets the acquaintance of a taciturn and unfriendly storekeeper named Mr. Tuckerman. Next she encounters the tall, large and menacing groundskeeper, Damon, who is terribly territorial of his loft home in the barn, is mute and often seems half-inebriated.

While unpacking the car for her first night at Canfield, Emeline is frightened by what seems a ghastly and bloody premonition. Later she takes a self-guided tour of the mansion. Despite a bit of "the jitters," the home is nice and comfortable...and then Emeline discovers the gold and white room. The second she opens its door, a blast of evil energy hits Emeline, shaking her to the core. Despite her fearful trepidation, Emeline briefly investigates the room. It was a woman's room. She notices a framed photo of a lovely if not haughty and perhaps even cruel young woman; it'd been her room obviously. Emeline quickly develops a morbid fascination for the room and its former occupant: Who was she? Why is this room dusty and festooned with cobwebs; neglected? How was its eye-watering glamour of white and gold [such a stark contrast to the remainder of the house's austere and prim New England decor] allowed? Emeline's curosity intensifies when she learns that, among other things, the gold and white bedroom's door was supposed to be kept locked at all times.

Strange occurrences begin happening. The first is a person wearing a hideous mask, peering through a window on Halloween night. Emeline believes it to be Damon; he seems to hate and resent her.

A friend in "the enemy camp" does appear: Dolly Tuckerman, the sourpuss storekeeper's wife. Dolly is part-time maid and cook to the Canfields; she's red-haired, plump, gold-hearted and jolly. Dolly and Emeline strike up an immediate friendship. Dolly is a terrific character and I especially enjoyed her presence in the novel.

Meanwhile, the danger to Emeline intensifies. Memories of Arabella seem to haunt the place, but also a man is stalking the mansion and threatening Emeline. But why? And what has the eerie and foreboding gold and white bedroom to do with it?

The story ends with an interesting twist and shock. Well worth the reading!

Trixie gives the story 3 Paws: Mrs. Tabby is featured twice [the pregnant cat I posted about recently]. Unfortunately we never read a word about Mrs. Tabby's delivery nor the kittens; thus it only merits 3 Paws.

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Emeline Harris: Sally Field [age 26]
Mrs. Canfield: Natalie Schafer [age 61]
Miles Canfield: Bill Bixby [age 35]
Dolly Tuckerman: Patrika Darbo [age 47]
Miss Thornbury: Josie Lloyd [age 30]
Dan Tuckerman: As described [age 53]
Damon: As described [age 34]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Belmont Double Gothic & Scan from BookIT

I don't yet own this BDG, and as far as I'm aware it's the only other which was published (but I could be wrong about this). Scan obtained from

In my most recent post, I mentioned obtaining Images (via Ebay) which BookIT had posted. I snagged a handful of them; the most appealing imo and the majority of which I don't yet own. Here's the 1st of those:

I both sort of like this...and sort of don't. It's different from most cover art for the era, has a definite "Nancy Drew of the '50s" style to it. The bold colors are oddly appealing, and I do like that forked lightning bolt lashing out from the approaching menacing black clouds to strike at the stately pine trees. ;-) Beauty and terror!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Up Next...

I've found a slew of very nice cover scans of novels I don't yet have (mostly) or have not yet read (few). The scans were posted at the BookIt web site. I came across these scans 1/2 hour ago, while searching Ebay for a specific cover scan of a novel I've recently locally acquired. Ironically, just last week I ordered a novel from BookIt. Will download to my Photobucket account and begin posting them by 2s or 3s soon.

I'll also post the final Belmont Double Gothic cover art I know of, which I don't have. Need to get that posted as previously promised.

Earlier today my husband and I drove 75 miles north to visit a relative. That small town has a bookstore named "Black Cat Books & Coffee." Very charming, filled with cool Southwest ambience...and NO Gothics. :-(

More soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mill Reef Hall by Ariadne Pritchett [1968]

A definite 5 stars out of 5. Excellent story all around. :-) The large scan was obtained via Ebay [camera icon in corner]. In my copy, the background color is more bluish, like this one [obtained from]:

The story is set in England, in the year 1812; England and the United States are at war. None of this much concerns Lilia Franklin, at least for now. Lilia is 21 years old, of a poor but loving home, both parents are now deceased and she's been a nurse for 3 years. She's hired on from London to far-away Mill Reef Hall, on the northeast coast of England, to care for the dying Lord Charles Reef.

Lilia arrives via coach on a cold and stormy winter's day. En route to MRH, she and her escort are startled by the sudden and inexplicable appearance of cowled men emerging from the surrounding forest. A catastrophe with a badly startled horse is fortunately averted - but only barely.

At MRH, Lilia encounters the surly and hateful Seaton Reef, brother of Lord Charles. Seaton is partially crippled from a youthful misadventure; he's bitter and twisted. Also residing at MRH is Edgar Seaton, nephew of Lord Charles and Seaton. Edgar immediately takes to Lilia, and begins spinning his own self-serving designs on her. Lilia immediately realizes both men are a danger to her, but later warms up to Edgar.

Lilia proves herself a loyal and compassionate nurse to the terribly ailing Charles, who takes a fancy to her. Initially he's gruff and demanding, but soon takes her to heart. A cordial and genuine friendship blooms between patient and nurse.

Meanwhile, Seaton continues to view Lilia as a threat. He stands to wholly inherit MRH upon Charles' passing; what if Charles foolishly decides to wed Lilia and will everything to her? Edgar shares this concern, but makes different plans in that eventuality.

Mixed in with the bits of national political intrigue (War of 1812) is the [allegedly] Canadian tenant named Mr. Thomas Burton, who is renting a cottage on the Reef estate, in the nearby cove. Edgar and Lilia enter the cottage one afternoon and while there Edgar notices nautical equipment and ocean maps -- including 3 strange names thereon; the names seem foreign. Who exactly is Mr. Burton, and why does he possess a map with foreign-sounding names on them which *don't* sound like names for ocean currents? And what might he want of Lord Reef, who's befriended him?

Lilia, meanwhile, sees lights moving and bobbing at night (bitterly cold and snowy nights) near the cove. She sees Seaton, cowled, carrying a candelabra containing black candles. She awakens in terror after dreaming of dancing on her grave; is the dream a death omen?

Added to this is the mystery of a baby girl's grave in the family plot on the estate [which Lilia comes upon and immediately thereafter becomes obssessed with]. And then there's the deceased Lady Amelia Reef's uncanny portrait.

The story culminates in a Black Mass. The descriptives used are unique.

MRH does not end as I'd expected. But that's so much the better! It's an incredibly well-crafted and satisfying story. I particularly enjoy frequent and good descriptives of food/meals or weather; this novel abounded in lovely descriptions of weather-related phenomena.

Trixie gives the story 1 Paw for no mention of cats in any regard. However, she agrees it's a wonderful story for humans, even if cats will be disappointed. ;-P

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Lilia Franklin: Madeleine Stowe [age 21]
Lord Charles Reef: Michael Caine [age 62]
Seaton Reef: Peter Cushing [age 55]
Edgar Reef: William Katt [age 27]
Thomas Burton: Stephen Collins [age 29]

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Travel alarm clock

Am currently reading two Gothics, and in the one (featuring the pregnant "Mrs. Tabby") our heroine is awakened (on the 2nd day) by her travel alarm clock. That's surprising, as one would expect if she's hired as (potentially long-term) house caretaker, wouldn't an alarm clock already be part of her room's furnishings? Published in 1966, I'll presume Emeline's travel clock would look a lot like that in the photo. :-) My sister and I each had one in the mid-1970s; I'm surprised our penny-pinching tightwad parents allowed us each that luxury, lol!

These travel alarm clocks are mentioned quite frequently in the Gothics I've read thus far. Always brings back the memories of my (wish I'd kept it!!) early '70's-model little green travel clock with its attachment hasp up top and tab for insertion into the clasp at the case's bottom. It's a triangle configuration once set in place; otherwise it neatly folds back into the case with a snap. I'm sure other folks here are familiar with this. :-)

Meanwhile, as per usual, Trixie's snuggling up with mommy as I read the novels. And she's asking for Mrs. Tabby; has she delivered her litter yet? I tell her, "Wait and see"...and so she dozes off again, purring, awaiting more news of Mrs. Tabby in the story. ;-)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mrs. Tabby

During last evening's reading (a Gothic by Florence Hurd), the heroine is alone (her 1st night) in the large country estate she's been hired to caretake. The sun has set, Emeline's discovered a seemingly haunted back bedroom (she soon shrugs the unsettling/disturbing impressions off as being due to an overtired mind and a case of the new-surroundings jitters -- despite that room being her 2nd eerie happening in a mere few hours' time) and has just finished eating supper when she hears a thud in the basement. Soon there's a scratching at the basement door. She nervously calls out and grows more nervous when there's no reply, just more scratching.

Then she hears a "meow."

Relieved, Emeline unlocks and opens the basement door. A large cat saunters into the kitchen. Emeline picks her up and notices the cat is very much in the motherly way, and probably soon to deliver her litter.

Emeline carefully puts the cat back outdoors (the mistress of the estate likely does not want a brood of kittens in any corner of the grand old family house), referring to the cat in her mind as "Mrs. Tabby."

I thought that was cute. :-) And later it occurred to me, why MRS. Tabby? Because the novel was published in 1966 and pregnancy outside of wedlock was a hugely (pardon the pun) frowned upon no-no. It wouldn't have done for a pregnant cat to be *Miss* Tabby. She must be "married" somehow, or the equivalent to. ;-)

It was, of course, the era wherein married TV show couples (with maybe two exceptions) didn't share a bed; they slept in separate twin beds. A reminder of the times.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Florence Hurd

I'm currently reading a novel by Florence Hurd (alongside another - different author). Am truly enjoying it; she's an excellent storyteller. I have a cover scan for that novel [which I'll post upon review], but decided to check out the cover art for her other books. Found the following scans at; these are among the finest cover art for one author I've yet found.

Here's a bit of biographical info about Ms. Hurd; she died last year. A pity this author of 32 books only received a blurb of attention in the local press [Link never works for me; I did try again to use Link feature but it didn't take]:

And now for the cover art: I particularly like "The Gorgon's Head" and would especially love to have that cover. :-) "Witches' Pond" is very striking, and I also like the strong simplicity of "Seance for the Dead"; will try to find these too, locally. "Wade House" is in one of my metal boxes, not yet read:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dell's "Candlelight" series

Found this at the local used bookstore. It was published in 1971. Cover scan is via a seller on

It's the 2nd Candlelight Gothic I've found; the other is "Carlotta's Castle" by Jane McCarthy; I'm working on turning up a scan on it. I've yet another Candlelight volume, but it is a Romance and is buried away somewhere in one of my metal fireproof containers.

Anyway, I notice that Candlelight had at least 3 subclassifications: Romance, Intrigue and Gothic. All 3 varieties are stocked in the Gothic section of the local store.

I searched the net for a bit of info on this series of Dell books. They're slim [average 160 pages - yay!], have gorgeous art work, are medium-print books; easy on the eye. Am hoping to find more of them locally. Best as I can ascertain, they were published between the late '60s and early to mid-70s.

On a different note, it's yet another sunny winter day. I *hate* sunny winters; 2 of the past 3 have been day after day of sunshine. My sister would strangle me for saying that, but I'm still accustomed to gloom, cloudy, rain and/or chance of snow; we used to have that HERE from mid-December through February. This sunshine is actually making me grouchy, so I'm working today. >;-) Would rather pound the keyboard in the gloom of my home office and pretend it's cloudy out there...maybe I'm part vampire?

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Women wearing shawls in these stories is common, particularly if set in the 19th century. Shawls, as I recall them from childhood (the older ladies often wore them), could be plain and functional or dressy and elegant. Always with tapered ends, draped securely about the shoulders and upper arms; the larger shawls could envelop the entire upper trunk. Some were hand-crocheted with yarn, most (that I recall) were of a store-bought cotton/poly blend (?) and sported a fine fringe. Of course heavier shawls were for warmth; the fancy and lighter ones were mere accessories. I suppose nowadays they'd be called "wraps"; I'll ask my sister, who lives up north, the next time I talk with her. People in my sunny/warm region generally wear only medium-weight jackets in the coolest weather.

Anyway, I can see the current novel's heroine gracefully wrapping a finely-knit medium-blue shawl about her shoulders and upper arms. She'd be very fine and elegant...small wonder Edgar can't keep his eyes off of her. ;-)

Friday, January 2, 2009

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson [1962]

This novel was touted by Time Magazine as 1 of the 10 best novels for 1962. So it really doesn't need my puny little 5-Stars rating, does it? Nope.

That cover art is the original [wish I had a 1st-edition copy], found via Google. Trixie gives the story an enthusiastic 4 Paws for that original cover art, and also because Jonas features so prominently in the story. ;-)

It is an *excellent* story. While reading it, I couldn't help thinking I wish I'd written it. It's truly one of a kind. I'm glad Absinthe read/reviewed/recommended it in October (?); piqued my interest. I'd heard of this story, but hadn't thought of it; and it's in the Horror, not Gothic, section of my local used bookstore.

If little cakes decorated with pink frosting and golden leaves, a cat sleeping in the lettuce patch, arsenic in sugar, six blue hidden marbles, a large heirloom- and memories-filled home in the country, a harp and poison mushrooms combined sounds alluring, it's your story.

Mary Katherine [aka "Merricat"] Blackwood is 18 years old; she tells their story. She's currently living at home with older sister Constance [tried and acquitted of murder] and their old Uncle Julian.

It's immediately evident who the murderer is. But what you're waiting for is WHY; if there is a reason. What motivation? Unless it's sheer insanity.

The story opens with Mary Katherine's most recent trip into the village; she goes twice per week, to buy groceries and pick up more library books. Her hatred and loathing of the townsfolk and their mutual hostility is evident. She subtly provokes the grocer and others in the store with deliberately-worded references to "sugar...we need more sugar" and wanting a leg of lamb, as Uncle Julian enjoys roast lamb in the spring.

Merricat is a young woman capable of the most beautiful flights of fancy. If over-stressed she dreams of being on the Moon; of the house she'd have there, and what exotic foods and jewels they'd possess. She also has fancies of another type... She can be fiercely loyal and loving or someone's worst nightmare.

There's one word for the story imo: Spellbinding. That word is too often overused, but not in this case; it IS a spellbinding story if ever there were one. If you've not yet read it, do so.

I was surprised at how the story ended. And that Charles...well, that it ended for him as it did. And Constance; what to say of dear Constance? She interested me even more than Merricat, especially at the end.

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Mary Katherine: Winona Ryder [age 18]
Constance: Barbara Hershey [age 23]
Charles: David Selby [age 28]
Uncle Julian: As described; a handsome and harmless old gentleman.