Lois Duncan (Steinmetz Arquette)

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Gloria Levitas

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 175

Two gothic novels. Lois Duncan's "Down A Dark Hall" … and David Severn's "The Girl in the Grove" … are on the whole, more interesting than many that flood the adult market. Perhaps teenagers more credibly embody, than do women in their twenties, the uncertainties and mild hysteria of gothic personality. At any rate, both books are suitably equipped with bright, attractive heroines, brooding mansions and brooding young men, and the requisite ghosts from the past. David Severn's book is crisply written, although its cloying plot and the heroine's inexplicable attachment to a boorish young man will put it high on feminist lists as a book to avoid. By contrast, Lois Duncan's off-hand treatment of romance allows her to focus on the intelligence and rationality of her heroine. The result is highly original; a gothic novel that is more a commentary on the dangers of education than on the perils of unrequited love. (p. 10)

Gloria Levitas, "Haunts and Hunts," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1974 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), November 10, 1974, pp. 8, 10.∗

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