Books: Women's Home Companions

The book trade calls it a Gothic novel. The dust jacket usually shows a terrified young woman running across a lawn, while in the background a ghostly old mansion or château looms menacingly through the fog. Following the chilling tradition of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, the Gothics thrust innocent and high-minded young women into gloomy households where husbands and lovers are breathlessly suspect, where hidden rooms and violent traditions abound, where hidden doors creak ominously, lights go out mysteriously, and improbable coincidences are just too much for words.

Nevertheless, it sells, chiefly to...

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