In this queer gothic romance, a young marquis caught between freedom and passion, honor and love will have to unravel a centuries-old curse to find his own happy ending.
Trapped in a world of straight expectations, queer marquis Emile longs for independence. So, when his aunt declares he must marry to produce an heir or be disowned, he runs away disguised as a servant until he can come of age and reclaim his inheritance.
All Emile needs to do is keep his head down and bide his time, but he quickly stumbles into a mystery beyond his imagination. While working in the service of the intimidating Count Montoni and his family, Emile learns that they suffer from a strange affliction every full moon, which requires full sedation. And when he discovers a mangled corpse on the estate the same night as suspicious family arguments break out, he reports it. But Emile cannot guess what lengths Count Montoni is willing to go to to keep his family’s secrets safe. As Emile becomes more entangled in the household and its paranormal origins, his inquiries draw the attention of the handsome doctor, Bram, and the count’s charismatic nephew, Henri.
But how can Emile earn the esteem of the earnest doctor, while keeping his own identity and desires a secret? And how can he trust—let alone love—Henri, a man as mercurial as the ever-changing moon? To find the love he deserves and survive the Montoni family, Emile will have to risk his title as well as his life.
David Ferraro grew up in Minnesota, where he was raised on a steady diet of comic books, horror movies, and YA novels. He graduated with a BA in English and creative writing from St. Cloud State University and currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his partner and a very spoiled tortoise. The Alchemy of Moonlight is his debut novel.
"Packed with compulsively readable, nonstop action, this is an affectionate homage to The Mysteries of Udolpho, eighteenth-century novelist Ann Radcliffe's pioneering horror novel. Ferraro expands upon the original to include a suspense-filled, double-barreled gay love story with a twist. Radcliffe would be pleased (probably)."
—Booklist, starred review
"Teems with heart-pounding moments both amorous and frightening [...] Ferraro's handling of coercive power dynamics and conflicting desires, coupled with the intensely raw queer relationships, is fresh and impressive."
"Ferraro pins down the creepy atmosphere [...] that comes with a gothic text, making the style evocative of its source."
"A gloomy castle full of secrets, mysterious ailments, grisly murders, a handsome doctor, a scheming count—David Ferraro takes all the elements of a Gothic classic, lovingly remixes them with a splash of the supernatural, and filters it all through a queer lens, creating a distinctly modern blend that’s all his own."
—Amelinda Berube, author of Here There Are Monsters
“Part murder mystery and part romantic intrigue, this coming-of-age retelling of Radcliffe’s gothic classic deftly navigates societal expectations and queer love through Ferraro’s sparkling prose, charming cast, and decadently macabre settings. Atmospheric, layered…and with plenty of bite, both feral and tender.”
—Catherine Yu, author of Direwood
“As dramatic and haunting as a windswept night beneath the full moon, David Ferraro has created a wonderful reimagining of a gothic classic. Wander through the halls of decadent, ominous Udolpho Castle where danger lies beyond hidden doors, kisses are stolen in midnight hours, and the moonlight will reveal a perilous secret...”
—Lyndall Clipstone, author of the World at the Lake's Edge duology
"Equal parts riveting and macabre, The Alchemy of Moonlight is a brilliant retelling of The Mysteries of Udolpho. I had a hard time falling asleep after reading this!"
—Nicole Lesperance, author of The Depths
"The Alchemy of Moonlight asks us to reconsider how we conceptualize monsters, and the ways we make ourselves monstrous to others. Emile's story will resonate with anyone who has been made to feel less than human."
—Alison Ames, author of It Looks Like Us