Swap Your Favorite Classic Novel For These 11 Chilling Retellings

by Kerri Jarema

Now that October and spooky season are are here, you're likely hunting down as many eerie, thrilling, creepy books as you can. Even I, a self-confessed scaredy cat who would not go anywhere near a horror novel, like to add a couple of mild mysteries and books with witchy vibes to my to-be-read stack this time of year. But seasoned readers of the creepy classics might be interested in finding books with roots in stories they already know and love — which is why these creepy retellings of classic tales are perfect for the chillier nights of autumn.

All of these books feature some combination of gothic, supernatural, mysterious, murderous, or simply eerie elements that make them delightfully unsettling. Pick your favorite classic and read its counterpart, or try a book you've missed for your next book club meet-up and get together to compare and contrast their themes, writing styles, and varying levels of spook. You can even find film adaptations of many of the classics listed below for a lights-off movie night. Before the holiday seasons turns holly jolly, these thrilling page-turners will help you make the most of October's fun frights:

If You Love 'Frankenstein,' Read 'This Monstrous Thing' by Mackenzi Lee

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Alasdair Finch uses his special skills to bring his brother back from the dead, but Oliver returns more monster than man. And when Frankenstein is published, the city begins to search for just such a monster.

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If You Love 'Dracula', Read 'The Beast of London' by L.D. Goffigan

Mina Murray once lived an adventurous life, but after a tragedy in the forests of Transylvania, she left it all behind. Now she has settled into a quiet routine in London, engaged to the respectable solicitor Jonathan Harker. But when Jonathan is abducted by a group of vampires, Mina must team up with her former paramour Abraham Van Helsing.

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If You Love 'Beowulf', Read 'The Boneless Mercies' by April Genevieve Tucholke

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies — girls hired to kill. But Frey is weary of the death trade and dreams of a bigger life. When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. But her choices might just change the lives of women everywhere.

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'If You Love 'Jane Eyre', Read 'Jane Steele' by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

In this Gothic adventure, all is not as it seems. A certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

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If You Love 'Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde', Read 'The Diabolical Miss Hyde' by Viola Carr

In an electrified Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll uses every advantage available to catch a terrifying new psychopath splattering London with blood. Hidden in the grimy shadows, a fiendish murderer preys on women, drugging them before slicing off their limbs. Finding the “Slicer” can make Eliza’s career... or unmask her darkest secret.

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If You Love 'Macbeth', Read 'As I Descended' by Robin Talley

The only thing standing between Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten and their perfect future is campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything to make their dreams come true, including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

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If You Love The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Read 'The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe' by Kij Johnson

Based on the Lovecraft story, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Johnson's horror-fantasy novel follows Professor Vellitt Boe, who teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her. But the journey sends her on a quest across the Dreamlands, where some secrets were never meant to surface.

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If You Love 'Alice in Wonderland', Read 'A Blade So Black' by L.L. McKinney

This Alice in Wonderland reboot follows Alice as you've never seen her before. She has been trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland, with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. When Alice's mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before.

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If You Love 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', Read 'A Study in Scarlet Women' by Sherry Thomas

When London is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte Holmes is desperate to find the true culprits. Under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, it will be up to Charlotte to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

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If You Love 'Snow White and Rose-Red,' Read 'Blanca & Roja' by Anna-Marie McLemore

Anna-Marie McLemore combines Snow White and Swan Lake in this chilling retelling, which follows the del Cisne girls, obedient Blanca and vicious Roja. Because of a generations-old spell, the girls will be pulled into a dangerous game that will leave one a girl, and the other a swan. When two local boys are drawn into the game, all four of their fates are in play.

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If You Love The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Read 'His Hideous Heart' Edited by Dahlia Adler

No spooky reading list is complete without some Edgar Allan Poe, but if you've read A Tell-Tale Heart enough times to have it memorized, try His Hideous Heart this year. This anthology features 13 re-imaginings of Poe's most unsettling tales by Tiffany D. Jackson, Rin Chupeco, Tessa Gratton, and more.

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