Feb 10, 2016

A Hold on Me (Dark Heart #1) by Pat Esden


She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.


Description:

Date of Publication: February 23rd, 2016

She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self.

Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy...

GUEST POST
Gothic Paranormal Romance: an evolving subgenre

Hello, my name is Pat Esden. I’m the author of A HOLD ON ME (book 1, Dark Heart series). Today I’d like to discuss my take on the gothic paranormal romance subgenre. I referred to it as my take because gothic fiction and its subgenres continue to evolve and have flexibility like all genres. 

However, there are a few unwavering core elements that define a story as gothic: a dark tone, a sense of foreboding, and a naïve or inexperienced protagonist who is isolated and facing a powerful antagonist in an unfamiliar setting. The antagonist doesn’t have to be a person or entity of any kind. It can be the setting itself or turn out to be imaginary. In order for a story to fall within the gothic paranormal subgenre, a supernatural element needs play a prominent role. If the story is gothic paranormal romance, then there should be a romance at the heart of the story or series and the supernatural or paranormal element need to be connected to that. 

Did you notice I chose not to include the word horror in my definition? That’s because using it can lead people to think there has to be graphic gore in gothic fiction. In reality, the true root of the terror in gothics comes from a protagonist being isolated in a location and situation that plays on their personal worst fears and inexperience. In traditional gothics, the main characters were most often endangered virgins. Personally, I think inexperienced or naïve is a better descriptor for modern gothics. An undertone of threat and sexuality can be achieved if desired without the protagonist being either female or virgin. Actually, I think taking a streetwise transsexual person and stranding them in a haunted nunnery on a mountaintop would make for a great gothic paranormal romance. Twists like that, while retaining the key elements of dark tone and a sense of foreboding are what go into creating a modern gothic. This is also why gothic paranormal with or without romance spans from darker novels like Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles to lighter ones like Sarah Rees Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series. 

Now that you’ve read my definition of paranormal gothic romance, what is yours? Do you think romance has to be the focus of every novel or can it be something that develops throughout a series?

About the author:

Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.
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