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By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

Book cover My Lady Ludlow

This novella by the acclaimed Elizabeth Gaskell follows the reminiscences and life of aristocratic Lady Ludlow, told through the eyes of one of her charges, the young Margaret Dawson. Lady Ludlow epitomizes the unwillingness of the old English gentry to accept the progression of social reform and technology, such as education for the poor and religious leniency. She reminisces about her friends in the French revolution and tries to protect and guide the numerous young ladies she has taken under her care.

Book cover Dark Night's Work

Love, murder and class commentary in Mrs Gaskell's usual brilliant style! This novel was originally serialised and published by Charles Dickens, with whom Mrs Gaskell had several disagreements. She chose to avoid melodrama and concentrate on psychological realism to produce a moving story of people meeting and parting across class divides.

Book cover Doom of the Griffiths
Book cover Lizzie Leigh
Book cover Round the Sofa
Book cover Half a Life-Time Ago
Book cover An Accursed Race
Book cover The Poor Clare
Book cover The Half-Brothers

By: Gaston Leroux (1868-1927)

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux The Mystery of the Yellow Room

One of the first locked room mysteries, The Mystery of the Yellow Room focuses on a supposedly impossible crime which has been committed within a locked room. The novel was initially published in the French periodical L’illustration, and was later published as a book in 1908. It is the first of a series of novels featuring the famous fictional reporter Joseph Rouletabille. The mystery begins when Joseph Rouletabille, a reporter and amateur sleuth is sent to investigate a crime scene at the Château du Glandier, home to renowned chemist Joseph Stangerson...

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux The Phantom of the Opera

A masterly mix of romance, drama, mystery, suspense, love and jealousy, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux will haunt you long after you've turned the last page. Today the world knows it by Andrew Lloyd-Webber's long running musical on stage and its 2004 film adaptation, and earlier from Lon Chaney's screen portrayal of the dark intruder who roams the Paris Opera House. However, Gaston Leroux's novel was first released as a serial in the French magazine, La Gaulois over four months in 1909-10...

The Secret of the Night by Gaston Leroux The Secret of the Night

Gaston Leroux, perhaps best known as the author of The Phantom of the Opera in its novel form, was also the author of a popular series of mystery novels featuring a young journalist cum detective named Joseph Rouletabille. It is most likely that Leroux styled his hero after himself. Rouletabille was in the tradition of other great detectives who solved their cases by pure deductive reasoning. Much as Sherlock Holmes, who eliminated the impossible and concluded that whatever remained, however improbable must be the truth, Rouletabille included the known facts about the case and eliminated everything that was not a known fact, no matter how much it appeared to relate to the case...

By: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence

If you've watched and loved Winona Ryder playing the innocent May Welland in the 1993 film adaptation of Edith Wharton's sweeping novel about class-consciousness in nineteenth century America, you will certainly enjoy reading the original. Though Martin Scorcese's brilliant work was certainly true to the spirit of the original novel, no film can reproduce the charm of language and turn of phrase employed by one of America's greatest writers. The Age of Innocence was Edith Wharton's 12th novel and is located in familiar Wharton territory...

Afterward by Edith Wharton Afterward

A short story classified under the American Gothic genre, the piece depicts an eerie set of events following the distressing occurrences within the Boyne household, as their dream relocation takes a drastic turn. Wharton cleverly weaves together Gothic themes including horror, retribution, and despair to create a dynamic plot which is additionally aided by the use of foreshadowing, an uncanny setting, and the reflective voice of its character. Divided into five parts, Afterward introduces newly rich couple Mary and Ned Boyne, who decide to make their dream move to England after Ned strikes a good business investment...

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome is a novel published in 1911 by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Edith Wharton. It is set in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, New England, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. (

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton The House of Mirth

Wharton's classic story of an aging (by Victorian-era standards) spinster socialite who would rather marry for money than for true love.

Summer by Edith Wharton Summer

Wharton's 1917 novella Summer, like her more famous work Ethan Frome, is set in a very small rural New England town. Charity Royall longs to escape the claustrophobic confines of North Dormer and the inappropriate advances of her guardian Mr. Royall, who adopted her as a child from the nearby Mountain community. Hope arrives in the form of city boy Lucius Harney, who has come to research the architecture of the region; but will his presence in Charity's life mean her salvation - or her undoing? (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton Custom of the Country

Edith Wharton was a novelist of manners of late 19th Century New York “Society”, who spent much of her life in France. In this novel she tells the story of Undine Sprague, the thrice- (or more) married, upwardly mobile beauty from “Apex City”, transplanted to New York, and finally to France, leaving the dead and wounded in the wake of her “experiments in happiness”.

The Reef by Edith Wharton The Reef

George Darrow, Anna Leath’s first love, is finally coming from London to propose to her. However, he drifts to an affair with Sophy Viner, Anna’s daughter’s naïve and young governess. Sophy’s relationship with Darrow and Anna’s family can threaten his success. In this novel, as in many of Wharton’s other well known novels, we see the eternal love triangle. With her sly and lovely writing style, Wharton delivers to us in this wonderful novel a cast of unforgettable characters and many unforgettable scenes which we can vividly imagine. What would Darrow choose: success or love? Would Anna marry him despite his affair with Sophy? (Summary by Stav Nisser.)

Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton Bunner Sisters

“Bunner Sisters,” like “The Age of Innocence” is set in 1870s New York, however the lives of Ann Eliza and Evelina Bunner reflect impoverished New York. The sisters run a “very small shop, in a shabby basement, in a sidestreet already doomed to decline.” Shabby as it is, the sisters are happy in their small orderly community of supportive women. The story tells of the destruction of this life, and how the once content sisters are thrown into the realistic world outside of their little shop.

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton The Glimpses of the Moon

"The Glimpses of the Moon" (1922) is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an "open" relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.

The Fruit of the Tree by Edith Wharton The Fruit of the Tree

When published in 1907, this novel about the lives of a wealthy mill owner, her socially progressive husband and friends caused a stir due to its treatment of drug abuse, mercy killing, divorce and second marriages.

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton The Touchstone

Stephen Glennard's career is falling apart and he desperately needs money so that he may marry his beautiful fiancee. He happens upon an advertisement in a London magazine promising the prospect of financial gain. Glennard was once pursued by Margaret Aubyn, a famous and recently deceased author, and he still has her passionate love letters to him. Glennard removes his name from the letters and sells them, making him a fortune and building a marriage based on the betrayal of another.

Sanctuary by Edith Wharton Sanctuary

Kate Orme, shocked by the discovery of her fiance's complicity in a tragedy, and by society's willingness to overlook such transgressions, nevertheless marries him. Years later, her son faces a moral crisis similar to the one that showed her his father's moral weakness. (Introduction by Christine Dufour)

The Greater Inclination by Edith Wharton The Greater Inclination

This is Edith Wharton's earliest published collection of short stories (1899). Like much of her later work, they touch on themes of marriage, male/female relationships, New York society, and the nature and purpose of art. One of the stories, "The Twilight of the God," is written as a short play. The role of Warland is read by mb, and the role of Oberville by Bruce Pirie.

Crucial Instances by Edith Wharton Crucial Instances

This is Edith Wharton's second published collection of short stories (1901). One of these seven stories, "Copy: A Dialogue," is written as a short play. The role of Hilda is read by Arielle Lipshaw, and the role of Ventnor by Mark F. Smith.

Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton Madame de Treymes

Edith Wharton's 1907 novella explores the milieu of Americans living abroad in Paris. New Yorker John Durham travels to Paris to woo an old flame, Fanny Frisbee, now the Marquis de Malrive. Fanny is separated from her husband and wants to marry John and return to America, but she doubts whether her Catholic husband will grant her a divorce. When John meets Fanny's sister-in-law, the enigmatic Madame de Treymes, he hopes she may be able to help them in their quest for happiness. (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

Book cover Tales of Men and Ghosts

Tales of Men and Ghosts was published as a collection in 1910, though the first eight of the stories had earlier appeared in Scribner's and the last two in the Century Magazine. Despite the title, the men outnumber the ghosts, since only "The Eyes" and "Afterward" actually call on the supernatural. In only two of the stories are women the central characters, though elsewhere they play important roles. Wharton enjoys subjecting her subjects -- all of them American gentlemen and gentlewomen, in the conventional senses of the word -- to various moral tests and sometimes ironic tests...

Book cover The Valley of Decision
Book cover Xingu 1916
Book cover The Triumph Of Night 1916
Book cover The Choice 1916
Book cover Kerfol 1916
Book cover Autres Temps... 1916
Book cover The Long Run 1916

By: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe The Murders in the Rue Morgue

This story opens with a mother and daughter found brutally murdered inside a locked room in an upstairs apartment on a street in Paris. The police are baffled by both the ferocity of the crime and the lack of clues. Neighbors give conflicting evidence. Two friends are intrigued by the entire situation as reported in the newspapers. They decide to do a little investigating on their own. What they come up with is one of the most shocking and strangest of conclusions. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps the first modern detective tale, though similar stories by Voltaire and ETA Hoffman did appear a few decades earlier...

Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

Published in 1838, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is Poe’s only complete novel and concentrates on several sea adventures gone awry. The novel follows Arthur Gordon Pym, who finds himself in the center of gloomy occurrences on board numerous vessels, as his anticipated sea adventure takes a drastic shift in the wind. Shipwreck, starvation, mutiny, near death experiences and cannibalism are just some of the issues endured in the gripping, and at times gruesome novel. The adventure...

Two Poe Tales by Edgar Allan Poe Two Poe Tales

Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his famous short horror stories; however, horror is not the only genre in which he wrote. How To Write a Blackwood Article and its companion piece A Predicament are satirical works exploring the pieces of the formula generally seen in short horror stories (”articles”) found in the Scottish periodical “Blackwood’s Magazine” and the successful misapplication of said formula by – horrors! – a woman author! – respectively.

Book cover The Fall of the House of Usher

By: James Joyce (1882-1941)

Ulysses by James Joyce Ulysses

Banned in the United States and United Kingdom throughout the 1920s, Ulysses turned conventional ideas of the novel inside out with its bold new form, style and theme. Deeply rooted in the Greek myth of the hero of the Trojan War, Joyce bases his novel on Ulysses or Odysseus, who is doomed to voyage for ten years before returning home to Ithaca. Joyce had been deeply influenced by the Iliad and the Odyssey, which he had read from Charles Lamb's adaptations as a child. In fact, he considered him the epitome of the heroic ideal and constantly thought of giving the myth a new dimension in modern literature...

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

His family name is derived from a Greek craftsman who created the Labyrinth and designed wings for himself and his son to fly away from the island they were imprisoned in. But Stephen Dedalus, the young hero of James Joyce's first novel, is a young man who rises above his baser instincts and seeks a life devoted to the arts. This quintessential coming of age novel describes the early life of Stephen Dedalus. It is set in Ireland during the nineteenth century which was a time of emerging Irish nationalism and conservative Catholicism...

Dubliners by James Joyce Dubliners

A young boy falls in love with his friend's much older sister and is desperate to get her the perfect gift from the Araby Fair. After a party, a man discovers something he had never known about his wife, which has a devastating impact on their marriage. An ambitious mother schemes to get her daughter a role in a series of concerts. A drunken legal clerk takes out his frustrations on his helpless young son. These and other brilliant stories are contained in the collection entitled Dubliners...

The Dead by James Joyce The Dead

This novella is the final story in Joyce’s collection Dubliners. It describes a Christmas party given by Kate and Julia Morkan, two elderly Dublin ladies, that is attended by their nephew, Gabriel Conroy, and his wife. While the party is festive, full of dancing, drinking, and eating, it is also pervaded by political, religious, and sexual tensions, as well as memories of loss. When Gabriel and his wife go home at the end of the night, she reveals a long-kept secret that leads to an epiphany.

By: Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is a collection of novellas or short novels written during the 14th century. There are 100 tales contained in the book which is presented together. The book’s title The Decameron combines the two Greek words “deka” meaning ten and “hemera” meaning day. The title can be literally translated as “ten day,” which is also the time frame in which the stories are told by the 7 young women and 3 young men. In the book, each of the ten persons took their turns to tell stories for a day...

By: H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925)

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon’s Mines is the story of the leader Allan Quatermain and his adventurous group of followers on their mission to find the lost brother of an aristocrat, Sir Henry Curtis. Considered similar to Robert Louise Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, Haggard’s book proved to be another must-read adventure novel in the international literary world. The African desert hides underneath its sands myths and legends that lasted for centuries in the minds of the locals. Quatermain has a mysterious map that could lead to the ancient mines of the wise King Solomon...

Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard Allan Quatermain

“An Adventurer – He that goes out to meet whatever may come!” This is the credo of Allan Quatermain, the quintessential, swashbuckling protagonist of Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard. Quatermain first makes his appearance as a character in Haggard's most famous bestselling adventure tale, King Solomon's Mines. Published in 1885, this Victorian action novel depicts a group led by Allan Quatermain who travel to a remote region in Africa in search of the missing brother of one of them. It is considered the very first English adventure tale set in what was perhaps disparagingly then called the “Dark Continent...

Heart of the World by H. Rider Haggard Heart of the World

Set in the heart of Central America, the adventure novel accounts an enthralling tale marked by zealous adventure, discovery of a lost civilization, and unconditional love. Published in 1895, Heart of the World presents a fusion of suspense, foreshadowing, legend, unforeseen twists, and endearing characters to create a piece highly valuable in the world of fiction. Narrated by an elderly Ignatio on his deathbed, the novel recounts his great escapade alongside Englishman James Strickland as they venture off in search of a lost civilization...

She by H. Rider Haggard She

A timeless classic of fantasy literature, She is recognized as the groundwork for the lost world literary sub- genre. First published serially in The Graphic magazine from 1886 to 1887, the novel has reached critical acclaim with approximately 100 million copies sold and is regarded as one of the best-selling books of all time. Exploring themes of imperialism, lost civilization, female authority and psyche, the novel also serves as a mirror to reflect Victorian issues such as gender and race. ...

Allan's Wife by H. Rider Haggard Allan's Wife

The story of Allan Quatermain's wife and further adventures of Allan Quatermain.

Book cover Allan and the Holy Flower

Further adventures of Allan Quatermain

The Tale of Three Lions by H. Rider Haggard The Tale of Three Lions

Taking place in the heart of Africa, “The Tale of Three Lions” is one more thrilling adventure from the eventful life of old hunter Quartermain, the famous hero of “King Solomons Mines”. This time, though there are no bloodthirsty people for the old hunter to deal with, the dangers are no less. He has to face the mighty and fierce King of Animals – the Lion.

Colonel Quaritch, V.C.: A Tale of Country Life by H. Rider Haggard Colonel Quaritch, V.C.: A Tale of Country Life

This is not your typical H. Rider Haggard adventure book yet it is full of mystery and intrigue including a coerced marriage, bigotry, adultery, murder and a buried treasure! This is the tale of an ancient family’s struggles to survive, one woman’s selflessness and another’s evil schemes; Two Gentlemen, two scoundrels and one very underestimated, loyal servant. Listen as the tale unfolds and guess where the treasure is hidden that can save them all!

The Ivory Child by H. Rider Haggard The Ivory Child

Allan Quatermain's first adventure with Lord Ragnall. (Introduction by laineyben)

Book cover The Wizard

Described by the author, best known for his King Solomon's Mines, as "a tale of victorious faith," this story begins on a Sunday afternoon in an English church. Most of the book, though, is set in Africa, and the adventure story is as engaging as any of Haggard's African tales. What makes this one different is the religious question: What has happened to miracles in the church? Is there any power left in Jesus' promise, "Whoso that believeth in me, the works that I do he shall do also, and whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do"?

Black Heart and White Heart by H. Rider Haggard Black Heart and White Heart

Black Heart and White Heart, is a story of the courtship, trials and final union of a pair of Zulu lovers in the time of King Cetywayo. (Introduction by H. Rider Haggard)

Book cover Eric Brighteyes

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes is the title of an epic viking novel by H. Rider Haggard, and concerns the adventures of its eponymous principal character in 10th century Iceland. Eric Thorgrimursson (nicknamed 'Brighteyes' for his most notable trait), strives to win the hand of his beloved, Gudruda the Fair. Her father Asmund, a priest of the old Norse gods, opposes the match, thinking Eric a man without prospects. But deadlier by far are the intrigues of Swanhild, Gudruda's half-sister and a sorceress who desires Eric for herself. She persuades the chieftain Ospakar Blacktooth to woo Gudrida, making the two men enemies. Battles, intrigues, and treachery follow.

By: Stephen Leacock

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Known as the Canadian Mark Twain, Stephen Leacock was a humorist whose gentle parodies and spoofs still evoke a smile and a chuckle more than a hundred years after they were first published. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town was published in 1912. Set in the fictional town of Mariposa in Canada, which is peopled by a delightful assortment of characters, the book has proved to be an enduring classic in the humor genre. Readers around the world continue to enjoy these little stories about the inhabitants of Mariposa because Leacock portrays people whom we have all met at some time or the other in our own lives...

Frenzied Fiction by Stephen Leacock Frenzied Fiction

From the cave man to Santa Claus; spies, know-it-alls, and journalists: all are fair game for Leacock’s special brand of humor. He touches on the changes time has brought about in the city, education, and work habits. Among the other topics in this work are nature, fishing, gardening, success, and spirits–both of the departed and of the variety Prohibition prohibited. Each chapter of this book is a standalone story and if you love a good laugh, these stories are for you. In me, Leacock’s wit produced the full range of laughter: smiles, chuckles, guffaws, and some uncontrollable giggles. Also, occasionally, I found myself shedding a tear or two. (Review by Debra Lynn)

Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich

“Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich” is a work of humorous fiction by Stephen Leacock first published in 1914. It is the follow-up to his 1912 classic “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.” Like that work, it is a sequence of interlocking stories set in one town, but instead of focusing on a small Canadian town in the countryside, it is set in a major American metropolis and its characters are the upper crust of society. Although currently not as well-known as the earlier book, “Arcadian Adventures” was extremely popular in North America at the time of its publication and for a while was considered the greater success...

Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels

Eight silly stories by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.


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