Thursday, May 03, 2012

Update: “Dark, Gothic and Erotic: I Love It”

The first reader review for Depraved Heart is in on Goodreads:

Naomi B rated it  5 out of 5 stars:
If you haven't read a Kathleen Valentine book, you are really missing out. Kathleen is one of my favorite authors due to her ability to write deep, intricate novels and short stories that elicit emotions that run the gamut of feelings. I have read books of hers that I was crying tears of heartache that suddenly went to tears of joy!

I must say that Kathleen Valentine is one of those authors who are classic examples on why I love and very frequently seek out Indie authors over the big house publisher authors. I truly feel that Kathleen's writing is above the cookie cutter writers that you see in big house publishing houses.

This book was no exception. Kathleen's character and setting development is so strong that frequently I have to map them out and how they interact with one another. This is a real talent to be able to do so. Also, in the majority of Kathleen's books, as well as this one, she has the ability to write with a darkness that is below the surface, yet can keep the storyline light, so it isn't necessarily depressing and characters are "approachable". I loved this book, also, because of the mystery component that was visible, but not quite visible. I was kind of surprised with this one because of the level of romance that was in this book compared to her other books. 

I do this lightly (because I abhor when people do it flippantly), but this book almost had the feel of Du Maurier's Rebecca with a bit more sexual spiciness to it.


When an author publishes a new book the next few weeks are a study in neurosis while we wait for reviews to be posted. It's always that way because you never know how the book that you have slaved over – in my case for years – is going to be received by the public. Since the release of Depraved Heart this week I have been biting my nails. I've had a few people tell me that they just started it but so far I'm still waiting.

Last night I got a private message in a book forum from a woman who said she is 80% into the book and that it is “dark, gothic and more erotic than your other stuff.” She added, “I love it.” This surprised me because I thought that, erotically speaking, it was somewhat more tame than the previous two novels. I got a LOT of flak for one of the scenes in Each Angel Burns because a few people thought it crossed their comfort line. In my opinion there is nothing nearly as erotic in this book but you never know what people will see.

In addition to the many characters in the book there is a distinct presence unto itself in the estate of Hathor which is central to the story. In my imagination Hathor is a huge, fanciful yet dark mansion of the “cottage” variety found in Newport and along the shores of Long Island. Hathor, being on an island, has a wing for guests which most of the Gilded Era “cottages” did not. In those days few guests stayed over because most everyone who socialized together lived nearby and they rarely associated with those outside their circle. Consequently the cottages were built without the huge guest suites found in European mansions. But, since Hathor is on an island, and most of W.Q. and Lisette's guests came from Europe, I had to give them a place to stay.

I think Hathor definitely fulfills the requirements to be considered gothic. It is filled with art and secrets and no small amount of madness.

Yet, despite the darkness and the gothic themes, I also felt it had the most uplifting and brilliant conclusions to some of the characters' stories. But, as the author who has now relinquished control of her darling, I have to be patient and let readers read and await their responses. I hope they will recommend it to their friends, I hope it will get good reviews, but it is out of my hands. Sigh.

Thanks for reading.  

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