Midnight Rooms: A Novel (Hardcover)

Midnight Rooms: A Novel By Donyae Coles Cover Image
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July 2024 Indie Next List

“I’ve never read horror like this before, and I’m excited to see more and more BIPOC authors step boldly into this genre. I can’t wait to see what else Donyae Coles comes out with. Whatever it is, it’s on my autobuy list!”
— Shakeria Green, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX


Set in a foreboding Gothic mansion and infused with the heightened paranoia and creeping horror of novels like Catherine House and Crimson Peak, a spine-chilling debut historical thriller from a fresh voice in the genre that will leave you questioning who, or what, you can trust . . . including your own sanity.

England, 1840. Orabella Mumthrope spies an unexpected visitor in her uncle’s parlor. Scruffy in appearance yet claiming to be the scion of a fabulously wealthy family, Elias Blakersby declares a deep desire to make Orabella his wife. The orphaned daughter of a white man and a Black woman—an outsider with no fortune or connections—Orabella never expected to marry. But her uncle has many debts, and Orabella, curious about the seeming devotion Elias bestows upon her, agrees.

The new bride is quickly whisked away to Korringhill Manor, the Blakersby family estate, and far from everything she knows. Expecting splendor, Orabella is shocked to find decay, skittish servants, and curt elders. But her kind new husband’s loving touch, promises of a happy life together, and his assurances she’ll never want for anything soothe her concerns.

Yet there is a darkness deep within this house. Rooms are locked or hidden away, and the walls seem to thrum with secrets. Orabella can never venture outside unattended; she spends her days having tea with a catatonic sister-in-law and evenings at Elias’s side, dutifully hosting lavish dinners. The darkness soon begins to engulf her, too. Becoming dizzy and drowsy after dinner, she falls into a fitful sleep filled with macabre dreams, and is awakened by blood-curdling screams in the night. In the morning she rises from her bed covered in mysterious bruises. Confused and terrified, she begins to question where her dreams end and reality begins. The longer Orabella stays in this place, the more she loses parts of herself . . . how long until she no longer exists?

Midnight Rooms is a sweeping saga with supernatural undertones set in Victorian England. Vibrating with tension, richly atmospheric—haunted by ghosts, guilt, and familial bonds—it is an electrifying story that will linger in your dreams.

About the Author

Donyae Coles is an artist and a writer whose work is speculative in nature. She’s been published in Fantasy Magazine, The Root, Pseudopod, and other publications. As a visual artist she works in traditional media, mainly watercolor, acrylic, and ink.

Praise For…

"Coles’s prose is evocative and strange and pairs brilliantly with the Gothic tropes she expertly deploys. This is a fever dream of a novel that readers won’t want to wake up from." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An immersive horror fairy tale marrying Crimson Peak to Pan's Labyrinth upon strange foundations. You're never really safe here, with Midnight Rooms wondrously defying expectations and refusing obedience. Donyae Coles leads us into a house of sinister magic, full of corners for peeking around, but careful—these walls have claws. A feverish, labyrinthine debut." — Hailey Piper, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Queen of Teeth

“An overwhelming sense of unease and rich atmosphere practically drip from every page in this disquieting and equally compelling debut novel from a new, devastatingly original voice in speculative fiction. In Midnight Rooms, Donyae Coles has crafted a superb and intricately layered fever dream that I continue to think about long after having closed the book.”
Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

“A hallucinatory Gothic nightmare, at once beautiful, cruel, and feral.”
Eden Royce, award-winning author of Root Magic

"Midnight Rooms is a gorgeous and heady take on the classic Gothic romance. Coles' deftly crafted heroine, Orabella, takes us along for a sweet and heavy fever dream of horror, with dark magic looming around every crumbling corner. A compelling story that won’t let go—this is everything I wanted.
Laurel Hightower, author of Crossroads and Below

"Shadows dance in the corridors in Korringhill Manor and a family with secrets awaits in this decadent Gothic fairy tale. Donyae Coles' Midnight Rooms is a lush and shimmering, hallucinatory nightmare. . . captivating, potent and lyrical.” — Cynthia Pelayo, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Crime Scene

"Coles turns the typical fairy tale upside down and inside out and back again. The novel shifts to something like a fever dream, as Orabella's visions of her life in the manor dissolve inside what seems to be a 'court of fairies and monsters.' Therein lies the confusion of Midnight Rooms, and in it, a dark mystery unravelling across its pages--what is Orabella's imagination, and what is real?. . . With vivid and gory detail, Midnight Rooms is a genre-spanning work of history and horror, fantasy and fairy tale, that pulses with a dark energy from start to unsettling finish."  — Shelf Awareness

“The writing style and common tropes that fans have come to expect are all here—the decaying house, ever-shifting hallways, odd family gatherings, and a deadly, inherited curse….Coles’s novel is another stellar example of how marginalized voices are taking a perennially popular genre, previously dominated by white characters and authors, and revitalizing it for 21st-century readers in a manner that honors its history but injects brand-new terrors”
Library Journal

Midnight Rooms is a wonder—a rich and textured novel with the heart of a macabre fairy tale. Coles’ story is no less ominous, labyrinthine, and dark than the Gothic castle in which it takes place.” 
Neal Auch, artist and author of Disassembly of the Pig

"Nothing is as it seems. A gorgeous, rich, and claustrophobic gothic horror-mance that reads like a fever dream. This is a novel to be savored.”  — Nino Cipri, Astoria Bookshop, Queens, New York

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063228092
ISBN-10: 0063228092
Publisher: Amistad
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English