Lost Ecstasy


“Why have you come back?”

It was dark, but Tom glanced around to make sure no one had seen them. “Just to look at you. I don’t want to make any trouble.”

Suddenly he gazed at her with a strange, smouldering intensity. Look, you may hear things about me. You will… I’m human. But this goes, now and forever…there’s only you. Do you understand? Only you…”

Kay’s Love for Tom was deep and passionate but was it strong enough to withstand the whispered rumors about his past that shadowed her life with terror?

Written by Mary Roberts Rinehart. First published 1927. Seventh Dell printing June 1968. Cover by Victor Kalin.

Oh my, I just had to share this lovely Dell edition with some more gorgeous artwork by Victor Kalin. Flicking through the pages, Lost Ecstasy seems to be more of a ‘romance on the ranch’ kind of a read rather than gothic – though with a cover like this I’d be willing to swap vampires for sexy cowboys any day of the week.

Mary Roberts Rinehart was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1876. She trained as a nurse and became a full-time writer in 1903. A lot of her novels are sold as gothics or works of mystery romance and  are widely respected for their humour and complex storylines. Known as the “American Agatha Christie” she was also the highest paid author in the US during the first half of the 20th Century.

I’m hoping to review some of her books over the coming months so if you have any particular favourites or recommendations, please let me know.

In the meantime, more info on Mary Roberts Rinehart can be found HERE.

And Victor Kalin’s daughter has sent a link to more of her father’s stunning artwork HERE.

The Voice of the Dolls

Sarah was first lured into the Foster household by her concern for Jennie. She had overheard the little girl exercising her extraordinary talent for mimicking the voices of her dolls.

Since Sarah was looking for a job at the time, she was glad to become Jennie’s governess for the winter. But that was only the beginning. Soon she too was trapped in the stifling atmosphere of intrigue and suspicion engulfing the house. One ‘accidental’ death had already disturbed the peace. Was there to be another?

Written by Dorothy Eden. First published 1950 by Hodder & Stoughton. This edition published by Coronet 1978.

Dorothy Eden was a new Zealand author, best known for her historical, suspense and gothic novels. I have a few of her gothics and thought it high time I gave one of them a go.

Voice of the Dolls tells the familiar tale about a young governess, Sarah Stacey, coming to work for a family of eccentric characters, only to find herself embroiled in murder, mystery and attempts on her life.

Sarah’s charge is Jennie – a young, withdrawn girl who spends most of her time playing with her own ‘family’ of creepy dolls. Sarah is determined to win her over and bring her out of her shell, but things are not helped by the brooding atmosphere in the house. When Jennie’s maudlin father, Eliot, hangs himself, all of Sarah’s instincts tell her to flee, but her love for the child makes her stay –  in order to solve the mystery behind the awful secret harboured within this strange family.

I thought this gothic started out well, Dorothy Eden is good at writing descriptions and building suspense. The ending was quite good too. Unfortunately the story seemed to grind to a halt about a third of the way in and I found the middle of the book a little difficult to get through. Apart from the odd suicide and a cook who likes to foresee the future by reading tea leaves, there isn’t a lot happening for much of the book and I found the pace a little slow.

Written in 1950, this is one of Dorothy Eden’s earlier attempts in this genre. Though this book didn’t impress me too much, I like her prose style enough to try one of her later novels, so watch this space. Two out of five stars.

And there is another review of Voice of the Dolls, with an example of some great cover art, over at the wonderful Gothicked blog HERE.