Nachstürm Castle by Emily C.A. Snyder is a fun romp through Gothic literature as seen through the eyes of a hero who is fond of teasing and gets teased back for once. Henry Tilney, the hero who “indulged himself a little too much with the foibles of others” arranges a Gothic getaway for his new bride, complete with a gipsy, crumbling castle, and dread secrets. But the joke is on him when the scenario becomes real.
Catherine Tilney had settled in for a quiet, respectable, distinctly non-Gothic English life in the countryside with her husband, the Reverend Henry Tilney. Unfortunately, a quiet, respectable, distinctly non-Gothic life had not settled itself for her. An original sequel to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Nachtstürm Castle whisks the reader and its heroine away to the border countries in the Austrian Alps, where adventure, mistaken identities, lost heirs, and terrifying butlers lurk.
Will Catherine find her way out of the castle’s dark, hidden passages? Is the beautiful lady in the graveyard a ghost? Can the evil-looking old housekeeper be trusted? Just how good is Henry’s Indiana Jones imitation? (And is it an imitation if Henry’s heroic acrobatics take place over 100 years before Professor Jones?)
Fans of Ann Radcliffe, Eliza Parsons, and the Northanger Canon will recognize the rambling rustics who know all the answers our heroes seek (if only they would ask!), the lengthy discourses on the picturesque, the overwrought action scenes, mistaken identities, and all other elements that make Gothic novels fun (or exasperating). Our able narrator leads the merry chase through all the secret passageways and dark encounters with mysterious strangers, with occasional nudges and winks of sympathy at the lengthy bits to encourage the reader to soldier on to the next plot point. But in a Gothic novel, the journey is most of the fun, and this Gothic tale has the added pleasure of being seen through not a black but sparkling veil of Tilney wit.
But neither could compare with the gargantuan natural edifice that was the mountain upon which Nachtstürm Castle rose. It was a mountain made of the darkness between two lightning bolts. It was made less of earth than Stygian frost. Whole towns fell away as they ascended, as though the ranks of black and frowning conifers waged war against the humans below. Even the path – rather narrow and rarely straight – seemed less made by centuries of pilgrim feet and more by the trace of some careless demon’s claw.
It was, in fact, perfect.
Nachstürm Castle is available for download as an e-book from Girlebooks.