Black masses, infanticide, mental and physical tortures, and an old and spooky estate in early-19th-century England; plus a handsome, chilly, titled, insane husband (who putters in a laboratory where there are ""delicate bubblings and simmerings""), and a lover who's a real prince and rescues you on horseback. In short, all the jollies a gothicky romance could possibly hold. Poor farm-girl Mariana is proposed to by Lord Christopher St. Jules, and it's off to the gloomy pile of Thornfalcon, where Christopher proffers exotic sex and studies the stars. But there are weird night noises and strange parties, all of which become nastily clear after Mariana gives birth to an undesired daughter. Finally, the distraught Mariana will flee to a monstrous French Duchess her mother warned her about, and at last into the care of a nice English couple in Vienna, where she meets Radu, prince of a small principality in Transylvania. Love and a hideaway marriage--until Christopher inevitably surfaces. Back to Thornfalcon, then, and horror. But just when Mariana is about to be filleted on a sacrificial altar. . .Crammed with all those gothic gaspers that never seem to go out of style, another competent, fleshly creeper by the author of Midnight Moon (1985).