Book Review: Anne McCaffrey’s Three Gothic Novels

Posted January 16, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Anne McCaffrey’s Three Gothic Novels

Three Gothic Novels

on January 15, 1992 and has 704 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

A.k.a., Three Gothic Novels.

They’re not actually Gothic in the usual sense. Instead, they are three completely separate romances. One is during the 1960s on Long Island, another is set during World War II on the East Coast, and the third is in Dublin, Ireland.

All three stories are most interesting for the attitudes of the times. If insta-love bothers you, you should probably skip this trio.

The Stories

Ring of Fear” is a sweet if somewhat unbelievable story of a young lady fleeing her rapist after her father’s murder and participating in horse events where she’s rescued by a fellow rider from a series of unfortunate events.

It’s an insta-love which takes awhile for me to grasp isn’t so insta. It’s set in the 1960s and there was an interesting disconnect for me. McCaffrey writes of the time period with its drug use and the clothing and yet it has a very contemporary feel even though she’s using the language of the time. I’d read it again.

Mark of Merlin” is another insta-love, although McCaffrey does provide a reason for it later on. This one takes place during World War II and James Carlyle Murdock has just been orphaned. The letter she receives from her guardian Major Regan Laird has her furious and she’s determined to put him in his place.

I can see her side of it and, eventually, she comes to consider Regan’s side as well. It begins with a blizzard and builds up to all sorts of storms from her confrontation with the major and their continuing clashes, the revealing of the details that contributed to her father’s death, the colonel’s suspicions, and on to all sorts of resolutions.

McCaffrey’s description of Laird’s house is a fascinating look back at yesterday’s housekeeping — not really all that long ago! — and makes me very grateful for my central heating! Even if I would adore the major’s house.

Kilternan Legacy” is a lovely escape for a rather dim and meek woman. An Irish great-aunt dies, leaving her small estate to the newly divorced Irene Teasey. It provides an opportunity for Irene junior, Rene, to put some distance between her and her twins and her fruitcake of an ex. The greater legacy, however, is the circle of friends and certain members of the Irish side of the family who gather round Rene, Snow, and Simon, aiding and protecting her.

This one sounds like it takes place during the 1960s as well and there’s a women’s rights aspect to it as the disinherited family members try to symbolically whack Rene over the head with “what should be done” as well as the reasons for Great-Aunt Irene’s choice of tenants in her cottages.

I did like this story very much and would have liked it even better if Rene hadn’t been such a ditz; thank god for her determined fourteen-year-olds!

The Cover and Title

The cover of the version I read is quite spare with its pale pink background and woodcut-looking sketch in black-and-pink of a the heads of a couple embracing. All tucked within an inset frame.

The title of the version I read must have been a last-minute grab. It’s certainly not very catchy, nor is it accurate.