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By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

Tales of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett Tales of the Five Towns

This is a selection of short stories recounting, with gentle satire and tolerant good humour, the small town provincial life at the end of the nineteenth century, based around the six towns in the county of Staffordshire, England, known as the Potteries. Arnold Bennett chose to fictionalize these towns by changing their names and omitting one (Fenton) as he apparently felt that “Five Towns” was more euphonious than “Six Towns”. The real town names which are thinly disguised in the novel are: Hanley, Longton, Burslem and Tunstal, the fifth, Stoke became “Knype”...

Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett Anna of the Five Towns

The plot centers on Anna Tellwright, daughter of a wealthy but miserly and dictatorial father, living in the Potteries area of Staffordshire, England. Her activities are strictly controlled by the Methodist church. Having escaped her father by marrying the respectable and attractive Henry, she attempts in vain to help Willy, son of a drunken and bankrupt business associate of her father's.

The Regent by Arnold Bennett The Regent

'The Regent' is, if not a sequel to 'The Card', then a 'Further Adventures of' the eponymous hero of that novel.Denry Machin is now forty-three and begins to feel that he is getting old, that making money and a happy home life are not enough and that he has lost his touch as the entrepreneur and entertainer of the 'Five Towns'.In fact, as he says to himself 'What I want is change - and a lot of it too!'. A chance meeting at the local theatre leads to his going to London and then...

The Human Machine by Arnold Bennett The Human Machine

Bennett asks us to consider our brains as the most wonderful machine, a machine which is the only thing in this world that we can control. As he writes: "I am simply bent on calling your attention to a fact which has perhaps wholly or partially escaped you -- namely, that you are the most fascinating bit of machinery that ever was."As ever, his prose is honeyed, his thoughts inspired, and his advice as relevant today as when it was written. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)

Hilda Lessways by Arnold Bennett Hilda Lessways

This book is the second in Bennett’s four books about life in the Five Towns (the real life Potteries in Staffordshire). It tells the story of Hilda before her marriage to Edwin Clayhanger (from the first book). Bennett explores Hilda's ambition to make a career for herself, her coming of age and her working experiences as a shorthand clerk and keeper of a lodging house in London and Brighton. He also shows her intensifying relationship with the enigmatic George Cannon that ends in her disastrous bigamous marriage and pregnancy, and finally her reconciliation with Edwin Clayhanger

Book cover Clayhanger

This first of a trilogy of novels is a coming-of-age story set in the Midlands of Victorian England, following Edwin Clayhanger as he leaves school, takes over the family business, and falls in love.The books are set in Bennett's usual setting of "the 5 Towns", a thinly-disguised version of the six towns of "the Potteries" which amalgamated (at the time of which Bennett was writing) into the borough (and later city) of Stoke-on-Trent.In one of the earlier chapters in the book, Bennett writes that...

Book cover Clayhanger

This first of a trilogy of novels is a coming-of-age story set in the Midlands of Victorian England, following Edwin Clayhanger as he leaves school, takes over the family business, and falls in love.The books are set in Bennett's usual setting of "the 5 Towns", a thinly-disguised version of the six towns of "the Potteries" which amalgamated (at the time of which Bennett was writing) into the borough (and later city) of Stoke-on-Trent.In one of the earlier chapters in the book, Bennett writes that...

Book cover The Grim Smile of the Five Towns
Book cover Ghost: A Modern Fantasy

The novel opens with Carl Foster, a recently qualified doctor, coming to London to try and make his fortune. He meets a famous tenor, Signor Alresca, who suffers a dreadful injury backstage and Foster tends to him. He thus meets the lead soprano, Rosetta Rosa, and falls hopelessly in love with her.Alresca takes Foster under his wing and they travel to Alresca's home in Bruges. It is clear to Foster that Alresca has some strange obsession. Foster also notices a stranger who seems to be dogging his footsteps.Things take an even more sinister turn when Alresca inexplicably dies. . .

Book cover A Great Man A Frolic

By: Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953)

Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases by Grenville Kleiser Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases

Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases is a practical handbook written by Grenville Kleiser. Grenville is known for his writings on humor, positive thinking and inspirational thought. This serves as a handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes and terms for embellishing speech and literature. This book can be used to improve vocabulary for reading, writing and speaking alike. Through mastery of words, the most powerful and perfect expression of thought can be delivered orally. Choosing the correct words conveys ideas in a crisp and clear way that will hold and audience's attention...

By: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins The Moonstone

A young woman who inherits a beautiful diamond known as The Moonstone on her eighteenth birthday becomes the center of this mystery story. The diamond is a gift from an uncle who once served as an army officer in British India. She proudly wears the jewel on her dress at her birthday party that night. The precious stone has a dark and sinister history, which will have a terrible impact on her life and the lives of those around her. You're about to read what's been termed the very first real detective story in the English language...

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White tells the story of two half-sisters, Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe who were embroiled in the sinister plot of Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco to take over their family’s wealth. It’s considered to be one of the first “sensation novels” to be published. Like most novels that fall into this category, the protagonists here are pushed to their limits by the villains before they finally got the justice they deserved. The story begins with Walter Hartright helping a woman dressed in white who turned out to have escaped from a mental asylum...

Book cover The Haunted Hotel, A Mystery of Modern Venice

A kind, good-hearted genteel young woman jilted, a suspicious death or two that only a few think could be murder, strange apparitions appearing in an hotel all combine to create a horrifying conundrum. Who was the culprit and will finding out finally put an end to the mystery?

Armadale by Wilkie Collins Armadale

The novel has a convoluted plot about two distant cousins both named Allan Armadale. The father of one had murdered the father of the other (the two fathers are also named Allan Armadale). The story starts with a deathbed confession by the murderer in the form of a letter to be given to his baby son when he grows up. Many years are skipped over. The son, mistreated at home, runs away from his mother and stepfather, and takes up a wandering life under the assumed name of Ozias Midwinter.”

The Black Robe by Wilkie Collins The Black Robe

The church has lost out on a valuable piece of land through wars and transfers. Father Benwell is determined to reclaim that property by the conversion of the owner, Lewis Romayne. Enter beautiful Stella, who captures the heart of Romayne. Should Stella capture the love and devotion of Romayne, Father Benwell's scheme would fail, and that is something that he can not allow. Complicating things is the fact that both Romayne and Stella are hiding their own terrible secrets.The Black Robe is an 1881 epistolary novel by famed English writer, Wilkie Collins. The book centers around the misadventures of Lewis Romayne, and is also noted for a perceived anti-Catholic bias

No Name by Wilkie Collins No Name

The story begins in 1846, at Combe-Raven in West Somersetshire, the country residence of the happy Vanstone family. When Andrew Vanstone is killed suddenly in an accident and his wife follows shortly thereafter, it is revealed that they were not married at the time of their daughters' births, making their daughters "Nobody's Children" in the eyes of English law and robbing them of their inheritance. Andrew Vanstone's elder brother Michael gleefully takes possession of his brother's fortune, leaving his nieces to make their own way in the world...

I Say No by Wilkie Collins I Say No

Emily Brown is an orphan girl that almost no one can help but love when they meet her. She is pursued by two worthy men: Mr. Alban Morris, the drawing master at her school; and Rev. Miles Mirabel, a clergyman. However, one of them is lying to her after she discovers that her father's death wasn't natural, as she was led to believe. (Introduction by TriciaG)

The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins The Law and the Lady

Valeria Brinton marries Eustace Woodville despite objections from Woodville's family leading to disquiet for Valeria's own family and friends.Just a few days after the wedding, various incidents lead Valeria to suspect her husband is hiding a dark secret in his past and she discovers that he has been using a false name. He refuses to discuss it leading them to curtail their honeymoon and return to London where Valeria learns that he was on trial for his first wife's murder by arsenic. He was tried in a Scottish court and the verdict was 'Not Proven' rather than 'not guilty' implying his guilt but without enough proof for a jury to convict him...

The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins The Frozen Deep

The Frozen Deep is a story of a love triangle between Clara, Frank and Richard, spiced up with dangerous expeditions, mysterious visions and life-threatening circumstances. The end is as surprising and unexpected as we are (or are not) accustomed to in Collins' books.

The Dead Alive by Wilkie Collins The Dead Alive

Ill feelings exist between the Meadowcroft sons and John Jago, the foreman of the Meadowcroft estate. Then, John Jago disappears, and a body is found in a kiln. The Meadowcroft brothers stand accused of the crime, but are they guilty? The Dead Alive is a novel written by Wilkie Collins based on the true-life Boorn Brothers murder conviction case of 1819. Jesse and Stephen Boorn were sentenced to death for the murder of their brother-in-law, but were they wrongly convicted?

Basil by Wilkie Collins Basil

Basil, son of a father who values the family pedigree and who would not let him marry below his station, falls in love at first sight with a girl he sees on a bus. He stalks her and discovers she is Margaret Sherwin, only daughter of a linen draper. He stalks her and persuades her father to let him marry her secretly. He agrees on the condition, that, as his daughter is only seventeen, they live apart for the first year. At first the secret works, but then the mysterious Mannion, whose emotions cannot be read in his face, returns from abroad. On the last night of the year Basil follows Margaret and Mannion and discovers them in flagrante delicto. (Wikipedia)

Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins Poor Miss Finch

"Poor Miss Finch." That is what everyone calls the courageous protagonist of this book. In other words, "poor thing, she's blind, isn't it awful?" Ha! Lucilla Finch is the wisest of all the characters, in spite of, and perhaps because of, her blindness. This story is about her trials, tribulations and triumphs. She reminds me of myself. Not the falling recklessly in love and being pulled this way and that by foolish young men and mad old doctors. I mean that, like her, I'm blind and proud of it! (Introduction by Sandra G)

Jezebel's Daughter by Wilkie Collins Jezebel's Daughter

A brilliant chemist and a shrewd businessman — die on the same day. The widow of the chemist, Mrs. Fontaine, is left with the poisons he was researching , while Mrs. Wagner is left with her husband's mental health institution reforms and his plans for hiring women along with men in his firm's offices. Mrs. Wagner believes in treating madmen gently, and requests for the funny little man Jack Straw to be released from the madhouse. At the same time, her nephew David Glenney is sent to the Frankfurt office, where he works with Mr Engelmann and Mr Keller...

The Guilty River by Wilkie Collins The Guilty River

After his father’s death Gerard Roylake returns from Germany to take up his inheritance at Trimley Deen. On one evening he meets his childhood friend, Cristel Toller. They fall in love, but there is a crux. A deaf man, called The Lodger is obsessed with Cristel. He invites Gerard to tea with evil intentions… and Gerard accepts the invitation.The book is written in the first person and tells the story from Gerard's point of view.

Book cover Hide and Seek

The artist Valentine Blyth has a very generous heart. He lovingly cares for his invalid wife, rescues a deaf orphan girl from maltreatment in a traveling circus and adopts her, and mentors a young man who gets in trouble with his tyrannical father. The girl, who received the nickname ‚Madonna’, falls in love with the young man, Zack. Because one of Valentine’s biggest fears is that Madonna’s blood relations will one day trace her and take her away from his home, he keeps the little that he knows of her origins a strict secret...

Book cover Queen of Hearts

The elderly Brothers Owen, Morgan and Griffith live a quiet, retired life in the countryside, which is turned upside-down by Griffith's ward, the young Jessie Yelverton. Originally, her visit to them was to last only six weeks, but for a very certain reason, the gentlemen must find a way to prolong her visit and get Jessie to stay for ten more days. To make her stay, they promise to tell her an entertaining and exciting story each night...

Book cover Man and Wife

This 1870 novel by Wilkie Collins centers around a peculiarity of Scottish law of that time, according to which any man and woman 'who were legally entitled to marry and who asserted that they were married before witnesses, or in writing, were regarded in Scotland as being married in law.' This strange law causes the characters Arnold and Geoffrey both possibly accidentally marrying Anne, though one is engaged to another woman and the other is searching for a more wealthy wife to accomodate his lifestyle. In these circumstances, Anne needs to catch an actual husband in order to save her reputation...

Book cover After Dark
Book cover My Lady's Money
Book cover Blind Love
Book cover Evil Genius

The Evil Genius, one of Wilkie Collins' last works, is subtitled "A Domestic Scene". It is the intriguing tale of family Linley, including the "evil genius", and their governess Sydney Westerfield. In colorful pictures, Collins presents the story of this family, which becomes entangled in the often hyprocritical Victorian perceptions of morality and decency.


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