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Gaywyck

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  206 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Gaywyck, the first gay gothic romance, treads firmly in beloved territory, both honoring it and reinventing it. Classic in style, Vincent Virga creates a world as authentic as anything penned by DuMaurier, retaining the creaking ancestral mansion and mysterious and brooding master of the manor, while replacing the traditional damsel in distress with the young and handsome ...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Alyson Books (first published 1980)
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Best Gay Historical Romance
119th out of 548 books — 969 voters
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Best Gay Historical Fiction
201st out of 226 books — 295 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 612)
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Lois Bujold
Feb 24, 2014 Lois Bujold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like Gothic romance and meta humor
Recommended to Lois by: very old friend, long ago
Aha, there is the cover I remember from the early 80s...

This was a very interesting reread on a number of levels, 30 years on. I was first handed this book (in its original paperback edition) by the same female friend who had introduced me to slashfic, back when it was all on (gasp) paper, in tiny editions, before the internet had been invented. Thus primed, I assumed the author's name was a pseudonym for a female author writing a (very well written and closely observed) historical novel and sen
...more
Nicole Angela Bee Bee
Jan 06, 2016 Nicole Angela Bee Bee rated it it was amazing
Building to a complicated messy ending, this story is beautiful. The MC is so lost in romance, it's hard to tell what is real or imagined.
If your a literary type, you'll love the constant references to classics, almost telling the story through other stories. Wuthering Heights was my first favorite book as a teen, and along with the opera and botanical references, I felt as if I was reading a poem of all my favorites combined.

Being a mom of twins also struck my heart;
"They trespass on each othe
...more
Laura
Dec 14, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Creo que hay algo a destacar por encima de todo en este libro, y es el gran homenaje que hace a los clásicos del romance gótico: referencias, argumento e incluso el estilo de la narración.

El libro en sí me ha gustado bastante. Es una buena historia, con una trama interesante y varios misterios que aparecen uno tras otro, que al final te tienen pegada a las páginas, esperando a que se desvele la solución.

Los protagonistas principales, Robbie y Donough son adorables. Aunque Robbie, el narrador,
...more
B
Jan 15, 2016 B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could have been a bit shorter.
Not one of my favour but it's a work of art.
Very much like Jane Eyre for sure.
I will not recommend it because it's not an easy read nor one of the best.
But is good never the less.
The MC Robert read more like a damsel in distress than a young gentlemen but I Kind of liked him.
Chuck
Mar 16, 2013 Chuck rated it really liked it
For me, the whole world of "gay" fiction, wherein the lead characters were two men in love, began with Gaywyck. To give you an idea of its importance in my life, I have gone through at least three paperback copies of the novel, and still don't have a viable extant version outside of my new e-book edition. So, for those guys of a certain age (like myself) who remember it, and wonder whether it's worth rereading, and for an entire couple of generations who may have never heard of it, here's Gaywyc ...more
Erastes
Jun 11, 2010 Erastes rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-historical
Considered the “grandaddy of gay historical fiction” “Gaywyck” is certainly one of the first of its kind, and although not the most literary or beautifully written of the genre, it is essential reading and deserves more than a little respect that, despite being out of print, it is still being read and sought out after more than 20 years.

On the surface, it’s a familiar story: Robert Whyte does not want to conform to his father’s plans for him and through the good graces of a friend he obtains a
...more
Josh
Feb 01, 2016 Josh rated it liked it
Actually...I'm not sure how to rate this. It's absolutely koo-koo, but...there's something about it. And God knows it's proved influential to this genre (even if no one wants to admit it ;-) ) The idea is intriguing, the execution is uneven, the writing is largely overwrought -- but that sort of works, given the subject matter and attempt at gothic period piece.

It's the sort of book I used to find inspirational in that it made me want to take some of the ideas and rewrite them from start to fin
...more
Michalyn
Jul 22, 2007 Michalyn rated it it was amazing
Think Jane Eyre, except with Jane as a troubled young man named Robert and you have Gaywyck. I bought this novel about three years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Like a true gothic romance, there is a brooding manor and its equally brooding master, a romance between the innocent protagonist and an older, tormented, love interest and of course, a dash of the supernatural.

Despite the truly engaging romance central to the genre, what I appreciate most about this is also a coming of age s
...more
Ash
Jan 19, 2014 Ash rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charly
Feb 11, 2013 Charly rated it really liked it
A lovely read, if a bit dense at times

Warning: This review might contain what some people consider SPOILERS.

Rating: 8/10

PROS:
- The style of the writing is similar to the writing of the Gothic novels whose brooding tone this one imitates. The sentences are circuitous and rambling, and the overall effect is one of denseness and melancholy.
- All of the primary characters are well-formed and complex. There were times when I loved each of them and times when I disliked them (or at least when I was
...more
Ayanna
Sep 04, 2014 Ayanna marked it as maybe-later
This "blurb" is bullshit. All I know about this story is it comes in Gothic-flavor. Who is the LI? What sort of plotty stuff happens? What is the main source of conflict? What a useless commercial.

Also, I'm a dweeb for making a reference to lines from a fanfic I read yeesh.
Roberto
Apr 05, 2013 Roberto rated it really liked it
First of all, I think the covers available in market for this novel do a huge disservice to it as we are led by them to think this a trashy romance novel which is entirely not. Think of Jane Eyre and Rebecca or more recently , The House at Riverton or The Thirteenth Tale but in a gay version. If this makes you wonder if it is a erotic novel, think twice because this is a very classy book belonging to gothic genre written by an educated author - I am not sure but I think Vincent Virga is a pseudo ...more
Hannah
May 06, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is unrelentingly delightful. it is a tropey gothic romance from the 80s, and I am without reservation giving it five stars; that's how unrelentingly delightful it is. it is at once a loving satire and a wholeheartedly genuine addition to the genre of gothic romance, except many of the characters are gay.

the writing style is very flowery, melodramatic, very nineteenth century pastiche, but I don't mean that in a negative way; I totally love flowery nineteenth century prose and found it
...more
Carol March
Feb 13, 2015 Carol March rated it really liked it
read Gaywyck, by Vincent Virga, because of a mention in an article where it was described as the granddaddy of gay gothic fiction. First published in 1980, it has been out of print, but is now available both in paperback and Kindle versions. I was curious enough to order it, and once begun, found the book hard to down. The writing is dated, but lush and beautiful. I love tales told in the first person and the author manages it masterfully.
Robert Whyte is our guide through the troubled world of
...more
Benjamin
Nov 07, 2015 Benjamin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-historical
The late 1890s into 1900, and Robert Whyte's headmaster father has hopes his son will go to Harvard, however Robert has other ideas, and through connections is offered a post working for wealthy Donough Gaylord as librarian at his Long Island mansion, Gaywick. Life at Gaywick is far from normal as Robert joins Donough's household comprising Donough's now ageing tutor Denvers and music teacher Keyes, both retained since his youth, and servants including the elderly Ambrose and young, damaged, Bri ...more
Max
Oct 09, 2014 Max rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, I wish I'd read it twenty five years ago. Maybe it wasn't perfect, but it was very enjoyable. Okay, so there were several unnecessary elements, the one that really stands out is the nanny's background story. I didn't care about it and it added nothing to the actual story.
Virga is a novelist. He is not a horny housewife who wanted to write slash fiction or a syrupy, sweet romance. (although there were some very endearing moments in the book) His words are beautiful, his phrasin
...more
Max
Nov 27, 2012 Max rated it it was amazing
The book that inspired me to write my own Gothic (THE MASTER OF SEACLIFF). My work is as much an homage to Vincent Virga's classic as it is to Victoria Holt's masterpieces.
Susanne
Dec 07, 2015 Susanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on what I had heard, I expected this to be a parody or a pastiche. It is neither. The author takes great care to give this novel the authentic tone of a nineteenth-century gothic. Yes, that means a leisurely introduction to our hero, pages and pages of description, and all those other goodies you don't find any more because everyone's too busy to meander through prose and stories have to get to the point fast.

I like Dickens. I love Charlotte Bronte. I enjoyed this style of writing.

The ch
...more
jenz x
Jul 09, 2010 jenz x rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jenz-x-the-canon
the copy i have is an old paperback put out by avon books. i found this in a ratty old bookshop; i was still living under my parents' roof. likely, this was around the time i'd bought my [1st?:] copy of depheche's 'violator,' [but definitely before i got into the smiths:]. i was 14(ish?). the book was there, in a wire rack, for .50c. it was the cover that cinch'd the deal. not cuz it was 'implying' some relationship between the characters, with just a hand on shoulder. no, that wasn't it. i just ...more
Elisa Rolle
When I started reading Gay Romance and browsing the few available titles (yes, you have to believe me, no longer than 5 years ago, the availability of Gay Romance novels was sorely lacking), Gaywyck was one of those titles that more than once appeared in my search results. But as for many other titles of that same period, late ’70-beginning of the ’80, I was scared to read it since I was not sure the author was daring enough to give his characters an happily ever after. Truth, having a novel end ...more
Louise
Aug 28, 2007 Louise rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: slashers, anyone who loves gay gothic romance
There is almost too much to say about this book. It is preposterous in its gothic purpleness, but it is also well written and entertaining.

To set the scene briefly: Robert Whyte, our troubled young hero, has spurned a career in law and has traveled to Gaywyck estate on Long Island, which is home to the fabulously wealthy Gaylord clan, of which Donough Gaylord is the sole remaining (very hot and very rich) member. Robert has been employed as the librarian.

Exhausted from the journey and the nervo
...more
Michelle
Jan 09, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
A fantastically spot-on genre pastiche/homage/parody -- takes the conventions of the Gothic novel (especially Du Maurier's "Rebecca") and translates it to a romance between two men instead of the expected male/female couple, set on early 20th century Long Island. The protagonist, who is blond(e) and rather girlish, is invited to the palatial mansion Gaywyck to catalogue the library of the darkly brooding Heathcliff-esque hero. Be warned that violence (including genital mutilation), incest, rape, ...more
Nate
Jul 29, 2009 Nate rated it liked it
A dense gothic gay romance novel set during the gilded age on gloomy wind swept Long Island and it's environs, Gaywyck is an ambitious novel full of rich prose and sumptuous detail. The novel mostly takes place at Gaywyck, the unprobable Southern-style ancestral mansion of Donough Gaylord. The protagonist is simpering, always weeping Robert Whyte who begins the novel by having a nervous collapse. Full of ill omens, stowed-away family members, an evil twin, secret passages, locked rooms and sudde ...more
Red Haircrow
Oct 26, 2010 Red Haircrow rated it it was ok
I was so desperately searching for a really good gay fiction story, and historical fiction whatever its sub-genre is my favorite kind to read for pleasure but was disappointed. Although Vincent Virga wrote stories during a time when there was not much gay fiction out there which wasn't simply porn or erotica, and many look to this author as a classic... I didn't much care for this book.

The setting was very well done, detailed and vivid but I didn't like the characters or the story. There was, f
...more
Aredhel
I really loved this book! It appeared to be a very interesting gothic gay romance filled with mysteries, well drawn characters and intriguing events.

This book is not only well written, but it is also full of rather interesting particulars on architecture, poetry, literature in general, art and history. It's not that often that you can find a book that stands out not only because of its engaging plot but also because of its striking cultural subplot.

'Gaywyck' is like a tapestry with rich colors a
...more
elstaffe
Nov 02, 2014 elstaffe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wavered for a long time between a 2 and 2.5, but ultimately came down on the side of 2 stars.
Aymee
Beautifully written and engaging, I was drawn in and held from the very beginning. There are twists and unexpected revelations, some of which surprised me, others I had kind of seen coming. The characters were unique and interesting and I'd love to know more about Mortimer and Goodbody's story.
Adrienne
Dec 15, 2009 Adrienne rated it liked it
I stumbled across this in a used bookstore, and picked it up as d fun trashy read on the plane over to Japan. To my surprise, Gaywyck was anything but light reading!

It's apparently the first Gay Gothic novel, and it really feels like one - it's very dense, both in terms of the writing style and the plot.
All the reviews on here seem to agree on this one point: the book manages to be, on one hand, utterly Gothic, and ridiculous, full of overwrought purple prose, and at the same time, an engaging a
...more
Amanda Clay
Apr 01, 2007 Amanda Clay rated it it was amazing
Like nothing else. A swooning, turgid, overwrought historical romance novel in the Rebecca Brandywine vein, but featuring effete, etherial Robert Whyte and Donough, brooding master of Gaywyck. The author's incredibly proud of himself and his accomplishment, and his desire to show off his art history degree is readily apparent, but this is still an amazing, one of a kind read. If you like cheezy gay romance novels which, it seems, I do.
Ryan Boggs
Feb 17, 2010 Ryan Boggs rated it really liked it
A fun romp of a read, with superb atmosphere and well-drawn characters. The plot machinations are a bit clunky (transparent attempts at foreshadowing intended to mislead the reader somehow manage to do the exact opposite), and some of the "misadventures" are so absurd that it would be funny if the writing weren't so overwrought. Overall, a fine gothic novel with a sweet love story at its core.

And really... best title ever.
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Vincent Virga has been called "America's foremost picture editor." He has researched, edited, and designed picture sections for more than 150 books, including Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States and the full-length photo essay The Eighties: Images of America. He is also the author of A Comfortable Corner. He is working on a third novel, Theatricals.
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