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What do werewolves and Franciscan friars have in common? Not much—unless Eleanor Bourg Nicholson is writing a novel about them. Brother Wolf, Nicholson’s latest foray into Gothic horror, is a rollicking tale of adventure, mystery, faith, and redemption. And yes, there are plenty of werewolves...
Eleanor Bourg Nicholson is the author of The Letters of Mary Magdalen Montague (Chrism Press, 2021) and A Bloody Habit (Ignatius 2018). She is a homeschool instructor and mother of five children. Her most recent work is Brother Wolf (Chrism Press, 2021). Brother Wolf tells the tale Athene Howard, the daughter of Charles Howard, a mythologist who, like George Eliot’s Rev. Edward Casaubon, is searching for the “key to all mythologies,” while, at the same time, neglecting his precocious and intelligent daughter. Athene eventually comes across a family tormented by a curse that will changes them into monstrous werewolves. Athene and a group of intrepid Dominican priests must battle these monsters in the hope of saving lives and (through God’s grace) saving souls. The following is a wide-ranging interview with Eleanor Bourg Nicholson and Jesse Russell...
Do you enjoy Victorian Gothic preternatural mystery novels, but wish they had a bit more metaphysical and theological grounding in reality? Are you tired of the protagonist who becomes the king of the werewolves or falls in love with the 3000-year-old vampire? If so, then Brother Wolf and its predecessor A Bloody Habit may be the books you are looking for. In this newest installment by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson, Fr. Thomas Edmund Gilroy, O.P., D.C.L. (Doctor of Canon Law), Vampire Slayer returns to lend a hand to his Franciscan brothers in wrangling werewolves...
Almost every reader has experienced the disappointment of reaching the end of a book just to feel dissatisfied with the conclusion. But what causes these novels to be unfulfilling? Why do they fail to meet our expectations? On Thursday, October 21, 2021, Eleanor Bourg Nicholson and Rhonda Ortiz examined this topic in their presentation “Werewolves and Fainting Damsels: The Genius and Challenges of Genre Fiction,” hosted by the Saint Benedict Institute. Nicholson is an editor, educator, and the author of the Gothic novels A Bloody Habit and Brother Wolf. Ortiz is the author of the historical romance novel In Pieces. She is also a nonfiction writer and the founding editor of Chrism Press.
(November 2021, "Catholic Mom")
Werewolves abound in Eleanor Bourg Nicholson’s latest novel, Brother Wolf (Chrism Press 2021). A delightful romp through early 20th century Europe, this novel explores redemption and the deep longings of the heart for truth and purpose. It follows Athene Howard, the daughter of a skeptic and scholar who has just completed a speaking tour in the United States of America. On the ship home, Athene overhears two passengers talking about dismemberment. Intrigued, she eventually finds herself on a journey that intertwines Romany gypsies, Franciscans who are devoted to the rehabilitation of werewolves, Dominicans, and ancient mythology. Learning about the various characters and events through Athene’s eyes is a wondrous experience, and her voice gives this story much of its life...
Amy J. Cattapan interviews Catholic author Eleanor Bourg Nicholson about her latest Gothic mystery, new from Chrism Press.
(October 2021, Podcast with "I Might Believe in Faeries)
Episode Description: I am joined by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson, author of “A Bloody Habit”, “Brother Wolf”, the Ignatius Critical Edition of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and more. We discuss Dracula, both the book and monster, vampire lore and much more. Happy Halloween!
(Sept 2021, Review by A.R.K. Watson, CatholicReads)
Much like her previous novel, which explored the unique symbolic relationship between Vampires and the Eucharist, in Brother Wolf Nicholson delves into a Catholic symbolic reading of werewolves. Her werewolves are a personification of hedonistic occultism, and the murder and violence they visit on people is the anarchistic chaos that results from that occult tendency to spurn social mores. Their monthly madness is a consequence of thralldom to powers of the moon.
(June 2021, Review by A.R.K. Watson, CatholicReads)
The whole story is a beautiful meditation on the lies and temptations of modernity, and how we as Christians and Catholics encounter the world and keep faith when it feels as though the world is going to end.
(Oct 2018, Review by Dr. Kelly Scott Franklin , The Dispatch, Catholic World Report)
With brisk prose, bone-dry humor, and a profound theological vision, Eleanor Bourg Nicholson explores the demonic nature of evil, and reminds us of the power of Jesus of Nazareth to defeat it.
(Aug 2018, Review by Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Imaginative Conservative)
Where are the Flannery O’Connors and Evelyn Waughs of our day, who can be witty about wickedness and plant their theology in the thicket of character, the turns of a plot, and the twist of a knife? Where are the writers who can be both entertaining and enlightening?
(Jan 2019, Review by A.R.K. Watson)
Hands down, this book is the strangest, most hilarious book I have yet reviewed for Catholic Reads. I’m not even quite sure in what genre to categorize it. It might be horror—but it’s tempered by a Catholic optimism so confident that it positively giggles at evil. Though gore and mayhem have their moments, the story is too hilarious to ever really scare anyone.
(Oct 2018, Interview with Derya Little, Catholic World Report)
“If evil isn’t evil, and sin isn’t sin, and vampires aren’t vampires, the thrill of the Gothic is reduced to lame angst,” says Eleanor Bourg Nicholson, author of A Bloody Habit, “I find angst very boring indeed.”
(July 2017, Interview with Fountains of Carrots)
We’re thrilled to have Catholic novelist Eleanor Bourg Nicholson with us today discussing what makes Catholic creativity and writing so unique.
(Jul 2018, Review by Karen Ullo, Dappled Things)
Several years ago, Eleanor Bourg Nicholson (nee Donlon) published an essay in Dappled Things called “Cinemanemia, or Revenge of the Bloodsucked,” in which she wrote, “[T] here is a lot more at stake in the vampyric character than is commonly conceived. There is a sacramental intensity which is rarely realized in book or film: vampyrism as the anti-Eucharist.” Near the end of the essay, Nicholson—who is the editor of the Ignatius Critical Edition of Dracula and a formidable vampire scholar—also tantalizingly mentions, “Perhaps someday the true dramatic potential of vampyrism will be fully realized. (There are no silver-bullet solutions, but I have a notion of how it could be done—and perhaps someday I shall have the time to do it.)”
(Sept 2018 article by Denis Grasska, Catholic News Service)
“Worms out of undead eye sockets? Really, Eleanor?” That was the reaction that Eleanor Bourg Nicholson, director of religious education at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, Virginia, probably never expected to hear at the parish office.
Or, at least not until this past summer, when Ignatius Press published her novel, “A Bloody Habit,” and her fellow parishioners started reading it.
(Oct 2018, podcast interview)
What does the Church teach about vampires? This week, author Eleanor Bourg Nicholson tells us about her new novel...
(Jan 2019, by Dr. Jeff Mirus)
Since gremlins are currently inhabiting my computer, I’m willing to believe just about anything. I’m using an old light-duty laptop to limp along without most of my software until a stake can be driven through the stony heart of my usual machine. Or at least that is what I expect the cure to be, since I’ve recently finished reading the latest novel from Ignatius Press, A Bloody Habit, by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson. This book is a riff on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, featuring Dominican priests as vampire slayers in the depths of London in the year 1900. My first reaction when it crossed my desk was, “Who would want to bother with this?” But on a slow holiday, I did. And now, since I am willing to believe anything….
Copyright © 2021 Eleanor Bourg Nicholson - All Rights Reserved.
Cover image by Matthew Alderman (in author's private collection).
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