Classics for Your Collection:
A Gothic Nightmare at Its Best
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu does bone-chilling creepiness exceedingly well with his gothic novels and this is his masterpiece.
Maud Ruthyn is a young woman who lives at home with her austere and eccentric father, Austin, and some servants. The Ruthyns are part of a wealthy family, and her father's brother, Silas, is a man to whom scandal and disrepute are attached.
Maud is fascinated by Silas, and wishes to clear his name, but as a mere girl in her father's house, she can do little.
Her father institutes for her a governess, a truly remarkable villain, a French woman named Madame de la Rougierre. She is expertly drawn, and the author Le Fanu makes it clear that this is a woman who is to be both loathed and feared.
Maud eventually gets Madame dismissed, but shortly thereafter her father dies, and the 17-year old Maud is sent to live with her uncle, who has lost his fortune and is deathly ill.
Together with his boorish son and the sinister French governess, Silas plots to kill Maud and claim her fortune. The novel established Le Fanu as a master of horror fiction.
Maud soon realizes that Uncle Silas is not the nice guy she originally thought.
The richly iconic elements of the genre like moldering houses, hints of the supernatural, violent death, subtle sexual overtones, and the BIG.SECRET that will be revealed, will all make the book a highly engrossing read.
A Fine gothic horror.