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Love is a Curse, the new novel from Keith Stuart

Love is a curse packshot

Bestseller Keith Stuart’s new novel, Love is a Curse is an imaginative, soaring story, told over 150 years, of a family cursed to always lose their true love. We asked him to tell us more about the novel. . .

Camilla Piper is 15 when her aunt tells her the women in their family are cursed: when they fall in love something terrible comes for them. Cammy thinks it’s one of her eccentric aunt’s extremely dark jokes – until her boyfriend is involved in a terrible road accident. Now, she takes it upon herself to discover the truth behind the curse, tracing stories of love, loss and tragedy back through generations of her family – to a shocking origin in Victorian Bath. 

I like to describe Love is a Curse as a gothic romance. It’s been heavily inspired by classic works of gothic fiction such as The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radliffe, Frankenstein and Northanger Abbey, but with a very modern twist. Like my last novel The Frequency of Us, the story takes in different times and periods, and I use diaries, journals and magazine articles to tell the stories of Cammy’s ancestors – but even these cannot be wholly trusted. As a big fan of horror and gothic stories, I really enjoyed playing with supernatural elements, and asking questions about how much we can trust  our narrators. At the centre of the story is a haunted church, which Cammy’s aunt leaves to her when she dies, and which Cammy chooses to live in, so there is a misty graveyard and lots of things going bump in the night!  As In Frequency of Us, I also make lots of use of Bath and its surrounding countryside – this is an area of the country crammed with folklore and superstition, and that very much seeps into the story…

I also wanted to write about love as something transformative and almost magical, but also something that has the power to be destructive. It’s really interesting to write about how irrational we are when we’re in love, and gothic fiction is a great place to do that.

Read an extract from Love is a Curse here.

Signed copies are available to order here and all editions are available to order here.

Love is a Curse, Keith Stuart

‘A modern Gothic novel unlike any other, about love and loss echoing through the ages. Sad, sweet, funny and hopeful’ Emilia Hart, author of Weyward

‘An original yet entirely universal story – sweeing in its scale, yet sweet-tempered, moving and just the right amount of spooky. I loved it’ Samuel Burr, author of The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers

Love is a Curse uses Gothic so cleverly. I binged the ending in one sitting and was absolutely gripped (and may have had a tear or two in my eye!)’ Sarah Brooks, author of The Cautious Traveller’s Guide the the Wasteland