Home » blog » Five Unforgettable Gothic Romances in Literature That Make Your Heart Skip A Beat

Five Unforgettable Gothic Romances in Literature That Make Your Heart Skip A Beat

Jane Eyre
The 2006 adaptation of Jane Eyre
Photo: BBC

Gothic Romances. It conjures images of windswept castles, Byronic heroes, and epic love that is set against some dark secret or tragedy. The first half of the 19th century was full of these types of romances with a dark,mysterious edge.  You read or watch their romances with bated breath, hoping that their love story will have a happy ending. The couples on this list meet the criteria for a good gothic romance because they make our hearts skip a beat each time.

Five Unforgettable Gothic Romances in Literature

#1: Heathcliff and Cathy, Wuthering Heights

The two tragic lovebirds are the epitome of a gothic romance. Their differences in social rank kept them from being together openly. Separation and revenge dominated their later years. Finally, Heathcliff is haunted by Cathy’s ghost until he reunites with her in death. The entire story is played out on the lonely moors and old stone houses. Their undeniable passion for each other shows how much it can sustain you and tear you to pieces.

Gothic Romances - Wuthering Heights
The 2009 adaptation of Wuthering Heights
Photo Credit: Mammoth Screen

#2: Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre

The Bronte Sisters knew how to write gothic romances better than anyone. Jane and Mr. Rochester’s story also involved brooding houses and class differences. However, there is the added tragedy of Bertha Mason and Jane’s dark childhood years to color the novel. I remember the first time I read Jane Eyre, I wasn’t’ sure if I wanted these two back together. Despite this misgiving, not even fire and distance could keep Jane and Mr. Rochester apart.

jane eyre
Photo: Focus Features

#3: Jem and Mary, Jamaica Inn

Jem and Mary come together to find brightness from the darkness in their lives. The two struggle with the past and the dangers of smuggling to be together. Their romance reminds me of two birds seeking shelter in a storm.  Mary and Jem are two imperfect people that realize they are stronger together than they are apart.

RELATED | Jamaica Inn (2015) Review – A Romantic Gothic Thriller For Period Drama Enthusiasts

Jamaica Inn - Gothic Romances
Photo Credit: BBC

#4: Pip and Estella, Great Expectations

Against the backdrop of crazy Mrs. Havisham’s rotting house and wedding attire, Pip and Estella grow up with each other.  Pip falls in love with Estella and remains devoted to her despite Estella’s cold heart. The two continue to cross paths with Estella continually denying her feelings for Pip. Finally, once Mrs. Havisham dies and Estella is free, the two are finally together.

Great Expectations
Estella and Pip in the 2011 version Photo Credit: BBC

#5: Mrs. De Winter and Maxim De Winter, Rebecca

Daphne du Maurier, like the Brontes, was an expert at writing gothic romances. The young Mrs. De Winter is struggling to fight against the shadow of Rebecca, her husband’s first wife. Along with secrets from the past, the young bride must be on guard against Rebecca’s loyal housekeeper. The two lovers manage to survive the secrets that haunt the story.

Rebecca - Gothic Romances
Maxim and Mrs. DeWinter in the classic Hitchcock adaptation
Photo Credit: Selznick International Pictures

What are your favorite gothic romances? Sound off below…

Silver Petticoat Review Logo Our romance-themed entertainment site is on a mission to help you find the best period dramas, romance movies, TV shows, and books. Other topics include Jane Austen, Classic Hollywood, TV Couples, Fairy Tales, Romantic Living, Romanticism, and more. We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution. Join us and subscribe. For more information, see our About, Old-Fashioned Romance 101, Modern Romanticism 101, and Romantic Living 101.
Pin this article to read later! And make sure to follow us on Pinterest.


By on October 20th, 2016

About Mandi Harris

Mandi Harris is a freelance writer and blogger. If she isn't writing, she has her nose in a book. Books are her ultimate addiction. Her other weaknesses include period dramas, chocolate, and her pets. She is working on her own novels now and hopes to one day get published. You can read her book blog over at thepennedpiper.com.

More posts by this author.

1 thought on “Five Unforgettable Gothic Romances in Literature That Make Your Heart Skip A Beat”

  1. I’ve always liked the characters in Jamaica Inn, Rebecca and Jane Eyre. I never had much use for Cathy or Heathcliffe though. Great Expectations is a great novel, but I’m conflicted over Pip and Estelle. I worry she’s too twisted for his faithful heart. Of all the remakes, I’m surprised no one has redone Rebecca. If they have, I’ve somehow missed it. I would love to see a faithful adaptation in a miniseries.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.