Part of my issue with this one is that I don’t know enough about gothic horror to determine if this is a cheeky spoof on the genre or if Lewis is all about cavalier bro-dudes and virginal women. And, even though my copy of the book came with footnotes and an introduction, neither were very illuminating. The intro claims that Lewis is having a joke, but I’m not so sure. There’s nothing in the story to suggest that knightly bro-dudes aren’t totally worthy of having women falling at their feet.
So there are these two upper crust bro dude in Spain. One is after the other’s sister, who got committed to a convent somewhat involuntarily. The other falls madly in love with a woman (read: teenager) he meets in church that says barely two words to him. That’s how he knows she’s virtuous – because she keeps her trap shut. The church/convent/monk abbey is run by the nearly saintly Ambrosio, a fire and brimstone orator praised by all Madrid for his piety. Then he gets seduced by a witch because women are either devils or virgins to Lewis. Seriously, one character get raped and then murdered, but she’s a-okay with dying because now she’s garbage anyway and unfit to be anyone’s wife.
The book was also light on the horror. There were a few ghosts, but nothing approaching the macabre that I thought I would find. (The book was billed a Stephen King in the 1800’s.) So, much like Crimson Peak, think love story with a ghost in it. With the addition of a perverted monk. And much less Hiddle-buns.
But have some other eye candy anyways!