Jane Healey on the best gothic novels
Dark foreboding houses, sinister housekeepers and psychological thrills abound in The Animals at Lockwood Manor author’s favourite gothic fiction.
The Animals at Lockwood Manor is a grippingly atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secrets and hidden desires. In August 1939, as war looms, Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the Natural History Museum’s mammal collection. But, sequestered in Lockwood Manor with the irascible Lord Lockwood and his resentful servant, Hetty and the animals may still not be safe. Because Hetty is sure she’s being stalked through the darkened corridors of the house by someone – or something . . .
Author Jane Healey drew inspiration for The Animals at Lockwood Manor from the gothic fiction she loves. Here, she shares a selection of her favourite gothic novels.
Growing up in my own haunted house, in which a ghostly woman was seen to walk out of one of the wardrobes at night, I have long been fascinated by the houses in gothic novels and the sway they hold over their occupants. The six novels in this list of favourites – many of which directly influenced The Animals at Lockwood Manor – illustrate the way that the gothic genre uses tropes like the madwoman in the attic and Bluebeard’s chamber to explore the perils of domesticity for its female characters, and how the echoing rooms of houses can become archives of forgotten stories of the women who came before them.