Not long after I got married my two best friends joined my husband and I for a drink at DragonCon. Some how the conversation twisted its way to ‘types’ and I admitted I was glad I didn’t have one. At which point my loving friends began to list off names and attributes: Dana, with his tall lanky body and freckles, Dean, who could barely find a pair of pants small enough and wore his blond hair down to his waist. Two boyfriends didn’t make a type, I insisted. They added more names and finally turned to my husband – tall, thin, and very fair skinned.
There was no way to argue with that.
Years later the same friends teased me that I have a ‘type’ when it comes to time periods as well. It seems that while I’ve recommend many books, the only ones I buy for them are from the Victorian Era, usually the late 1870s. Again, I tried to fight it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized, I really do like that era. I like the manners, the civilization, the respect for science as a powerful force for social change. Contrast that against the deplorable class system that was in place, the way people starved in the streets and were treated like dogs. Add a hint of the paranormal and I’m in heaven, because something about the foggy streets of London just calls out for ghosts and ghoulies. It’s why steampunk makes me so happy.
And so, as a rather self-serving blog post (aren’t they all?) here’s my list of ‘must reads’ from my favorite time period:
- Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye
- Murder in Murray Hill and all of the Gaslight mysteries by Victoria Thompson
- The Parasol Protectorate Series & The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger
- The Native Star (Veneficas Americana #1) by M.K. Hobson
And on TV or in the movies:
- Ripper Street
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Pennydreadful (hopefully)
But what I really want is a novelization of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, something with a sea captain building a lovely mansion that turns into a pretty cage for his young wife. I imagine lots of murder and intrigue, thwarted loves, and at least 999 not-always happy haunts. If I can’t find it, I’m going to have to write it.