Read Around the Rainbow: Favourite Halloween Reads

For our October blog posts, it seemed an appropriate occasion for all of us Read Around the Rainbow bloggers to talk about our favourite spooky or Halloween stories. On that note, I have to say that I’m very much looking forward to reading Halloween-themed new releases from fellow bloggers Holly Day and Kristin Noone and I always enjoy the unearthly atmosphere that Fiona Glass creates in her stories.

Although this was a fun idea, I was overwhelmed by attempting to choose a few from so many MM Halloween or spooky romances. I’ve even written a couple, the most recent being A Trick of the Light, which links to last year’s Trick or Treat Halloween story, A Tricky Situation.

To narrow down my options, I thought I’d start by picking a recent and also an older story that stuck in my mind for its spookiness. Last week, I read and thoroughly enjoyed JL Merrow’s new release, Face Blind, which uses the town of Glastonbury at Samhain for an appropriately spooky setting. This is a beautifully atmospheric read, blending a hint of the supernatural with a burgeoning romance. Regarding the Halloween element, I particularly loved the climactic scene detailing a vivid description of the Glastonbury Crow Morris, who traditionally dance at Samhain in honour of their ancestors.

Of course, ghost stories are not exclusive to Halloween, and I do enjoy a good paranormal story.  I don’t want to send readers to sleep reciting a long list, so I’ll just choose one story, or rather a series, Black and Blue by Lily Morton. The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings and its follow-up story, The Quiet House, are genuinely edge-of-the-seat paranormal thrillers with a strong romantic element and terrific characters. Lily Morton uses the ancient city of York to great effect, where the frequent appearance of ghosts seems perfectly believable, which makes this another excellent Halloween read.

I can’t mention the supernatural without citing the grand master of understated unnerving suspense Sheridan Le Fanu, who wrote in the 19th century. His stories inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, which is a recommendation in itself.

As this is an LGBTQIA+ blog, I have to mention his novella Carmilla, published in 1872, which has surprisingly strong Sapphic overtones for a mainstream Victorian story (it has been adapted for the screen many times including the 1970 Hammer Horror production, The Lesbian Vampire killers). This subtle and eerie story is written from the point of view of innocent Laura who gradually comes under the thrall of alluring vampiress Mircalla, Countess Karnstein, also known as Carmilla, who has preyed on young women for centuries.

Le Fanu bends rather than breaks the conventions of his time by developing the emotional and sexual attraction between the vampire and her prey, investing a genuine connection between the two women, and giving the story a richly Gothic resonance.

I’m looking forward to reading the other bloggers’ recommendations and adding more spooky stories to my TBR list!

My post will be linked on the last Friday of every month with posts from fellow blog ring members. There are four other writers blogging in the Read Around the Rainbow Webring this month… find their posts about their favourite spooky reads!

A.L. Lester : Amy Spector : Nell Iris : K. L. Noone :


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