4 Phantom of the Opera-Inspired Romance Novels That You Should Read


The Phantom of the Opera is one of those cult classics that has been around for so long you either know of the book through pop culture references, know of someone who was obsessed with it, or you were obsessed with the story yourself. 

First published in 1909, Phantom was written by Gaston Leroux and narrates the events surrounding a mask-wearing, musical genius named Erik. Erik lives beneath the Paris opera house, and when he falls in love with a young opera star named Christine, he kidnaps her. As such, the story is high drama with a lurid, almost tabloid quality to it. Its romantic plot has inspired dozens of adaptations in different types of media ever since.

While Susan Kay’s Phantom is the most well-known Phantom of the Opera book adaptation, and there are tons of fanfics, these are not the only reading options out there. If you’re a major fan and you’re looking for more content, here’s a list of historical romance novels that are heavily inspired by the original.

Warning: All of these stories are dependent on Leroux’s book to set up their worldbuilding. As such, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the novel or the subsequent musical in order to jump into the books.

1. Ghost Dance by Christine Pope

Heat Level: Sweet

Pairing: Christine / Erik

Christine and Raoul fans beware! Although this book is a continuation of the original novel, Raoul is not endgame—so skip this novel if that’s your ship.

A delicate, intricate addition to the Phantom universe, Ghost Dance takes place two years after the events in the original novel. Trying to heal from her traumatic ordeal, Christine has been living outside of Paris with Raoul. Erik has been trying to craft a somewhat normal life for himself, and still lives near the opera house; he remains sad, alone, and hurt.

When Meg Giry announces her upcoming wedding, Christine sees no choice but to return for the event. After she reads the newspaper and discovers a Phantom-like serial killer is stalking Paris, she rushes back, too. Her aim is to prove Erik’s innocence and to ascertain for herself whether or not he’s alive. 

When Christine arrives, however, both she and Erik are drawn into a murder mystery that puts the lives of all the original characters at risk.

Building upon the original novel while adding nuance to it, Ghost Dance manages to include everything I personally adored about The Phantom of the Opera book, while modernizing it and giving us a HEA between Erik and Christine. 

2. Phantasmagoria: A Fog of Fixation by Felicity Partington

Heat Level: Sweet

Pairing: Original Character / Erik

This book trends younger in terms of its characters and subject matter, as it roughly falls into a category that I would personally describe as New Adult. Out of all the books on this list, Phantasmagoria is also the least reliant on the original canon to weave its tale.

In Phantasmagoria, Isabella is a young woman living in Rome with her destitute family. To support her brother and her alcoholic father, she pickpockets from strangers. When the circus comes to town, and Isabella makes the mistake of stealing from Erik. She finds herself willingly ensnared by him, enchanted by his mystery and his voice.

While this book is on the shorter side, I personally appreciate it for its depiction of Isabella’s agency and her feminine obsession with darkness. It was also neat to see how Isabella’s obsession with Erik was used as a commentary on addiction. 

3. Unmasked by Michelle Marcos

Heat Level: Sweet

Pairing: Original Character / Erik

Reading very much like Ghost Dance in that it is a direct continuation of the original novel, Unmasked follows Paulette, an overweight seamstress who is shunned by society for her looks. 

When Paulette’s father dies, she goes to Paris, seeking a job from his former associate who runs the opera. After she is turned away for her weight and perceived lack of worth, she runs into the tunnels beneath the theatre. There, she comes across the Phantom. Together they bond over their shared rejection. 

Unmasked is a bit rushed on its ending, as it’s a novella that feels like it should be a novel. That said, it was interesting to see how it explicitly dealt with body shaming and how that can impact a person’s self-worth.

Content Warnings: Fatphobic jokes made towards the main character by the other characters. The main character is pressured to enter a sexual relationship (she says no, but the event plays out on the page).

4. Desired by the Phantom by Jennifer Deschanel

Heat Level: Sweet

Pairing: Christine / Erik / Original Character

Desired by the Phantom is long. It’s complex. It takes the original novel’s worldbuilding and runs with it.

The first in a series, Desired by the Phantom follows Anna, a young woman trapped in domestic servitude by the new, corrupt owners of the opera. When she is not being worked to the bone to pay off her father’s debts, she devotes her free time to charity.

Erik, still reeling from the loss of Christine, eventually crosses Anna’s path. After an initial misunderstanding, the two of them grow close. But when Christine and Raoul return to Paris—and Anna’s evil father reappears—Anna and Erik must race against time to stop Anna’s father from kidnapping Christine. If they don’t, both Christine’s life and theirs will be put in danger.

Content Warnings: Threatened sexual assault. Abusive parents, with verbal and physical abuse on-page (implied past sexual abuse). The main character is a survivor of sex trafficking and sometimes talks about her past experiences with Erik.

Find Your Angel of Music… in a Book

All of these books add to the Phantom of the Opera universe; they echo back of the original story, while still bringing something unique. 

The Phantom of the Opera is so much larger than these books, however, and there’s so much more out there to read. So if you’re still looking for more content, check out this interview with Janelle Angeles on writing a Phantom-esque story.

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