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By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett The Old Wives' Tale

The Old Wives’ Tale is a novel by Arnold Bennett, first published in 1908. It deals with the lives of two very different sisters, Constance and Sophia Baines, following their stories from their youth, working in their mother’s draper’s shop, into old age. It is generally regarded as one of Bennett’s finest works. It covers a period of about 70 years from roughly 1840 to 1905, and is set in Burslem and Paris.

Literary Taste: How to Form It by Arnold Bennett Literary Taste: How to Form It

Arnold Bennett describes a method for enjoying literature, and suggests the contents of a comprehensive library. Chapters 1-10 and 14 describe his method for learning to enjoy literature. Chapters 11, 12, and 13 contain detailed lists of the 337 volumes required to complete a comprehensive library of English works. This reading is from the 1913 version at Project Gutenberg, and so does not contain the revisions made by Swinnerton for the 1939 edition, which included authors of the early Twentieth Century. Swinnerton’s revisions are available from Wikipedia.

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...

Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing by Arnold Bennett Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing

Bennett's essays always provide food for thought and bring a wry smile to the lips. Human nature, it appears, changes little over the ages, and Bennett's writing stands the test of time, though in the case of some of the essays in this eclectic collection, it is well to remember that they were written at the time of the First World War and the fight for women's suffrage.

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 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 Roll-Call

"The Roll-Call" is the sequel to the Clayhanger trilogy. This book concerns the young life of Clayhanger's stepson, George. George Edwin Cannon (he quickly dropped the surname Clayhanger), is an architect, in many ways representing the ambitions held by his stepfather, Edwin. However, he possesses an arrogance endowed by family wealth and Bennett examines with some aplomb the difficulty of bringing up children without spoiling them. George eventually joins the army and this is a fitting finale to this fine series.

Book cover These Twain

Hilda is saved from destitution by Edwin Clayhanger who marries her. The two, with Hilda's son by her disastrous 'marriage' to George Cannon, are living in Bursley. Edwin does not enjoy an entirely happy marriage with Hilda because of her outspokenness. Hilda has strong opinions on matters which at the time were considered to be a male preserve – for example, on Edwin’s business. She also does things without telling him. As a consequence, Edwin has his doubts about their marriage and is angered by his wife just as he had been by his father...

By: Arnold Kennedy (1853-1938)

Book cover Merry Clappum Junction

This is a jolly little book about a little boy, a dog, a train and a house. But not an ordinary train, oh no, and not an ordinary house either! And there are songs, too. The Preface is short, dull and only for the grown-ups.

By: Arthur Applin (1883-1949)

Book cover Blackthorn Farm

But he was afraid. He had failed twice already. He could not afford to fail a third time. If he failed ruin faced him, and disgrace. His father had warned him that the money he had saved for his education had come to an end. Ruin for his father and his little sister! He had no idea how deeply Rupert was in debt. Rupert himself had only just realised it. And in desperation he had gambled to save himself. (Excerpt from 1st chapter by Arthur Applin)

By: Arthur B. Reeve

The Film Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve The Film Mystery

The Film Mystery is one of eighteen detective novels by Arthur B. Reeve starring his best known character Professor Craig Kennedy and his trusty sidekick Walter Jameson, a newspaper reporter. The pair bears an unmistakable resemblance to the more famous British master sleuth and his doctor friend. The setting of this mystery is the early days of movie making, and the murder victim is Stella Lamar, “the beautiful idol of the screen, beloved of millions”, who collapses and dies during the filming of a scene for her latest movie.

The Master Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve The Master Mystery

While Harry Houdini didn’t rise to fame as a screen actor, silent film makers of the day sought to capitalize on his fame. The Master Mystery was Houdini’s first such attempt, and it was embraced by the viewing public, leading to other screen roles following. The hero (or superhero) is Quentin Locke, scientist, agent of the U.S. Justice Department, and not surprisingly, an escape artist extraordinaire. The Master Mystery follows agent Locke through many pitfalls, in true serial fashion, as he...

The Exploits Of Elaine by Arthur B. Reeve The Exploits Of Elaine

The Exploits of Elaine It tells the story of a young woman named Elaine who, with the help of a detective, tries to find the man, known only as “The Clutching Hand”, who murdered her father. (Wikipedia)

The Silent Bullet by Arthur B. Reeve The Silent Bullet

The many adventures of Professor Craig Kennedy were chronicled by Arthur B. Reeve (October 15, 1880 - August 9, 1936). Reeve was an American mystery writer who created 82 Craig Kennedy mystery stories. The stories have a very Sherlock Holmes type feel, In fact Kennedy has been referred to as the "American Shelock Holmes". Along with his reporter friend, Walter Jameson, Kennedy solves many crimes and unveils mysteries using science. Each story features a facinating look at life in the early 20th century, and even includes some action along the way.

Book cover Poisoned Pen

The many adventures of Professor Craig Kennedy were chronicled by Arthur B. Reeve (October 15, 1880 - August 9, 1936). Reeve was an American mystery writer who created 82 Craig Kennedy mystery stories. The stories have a very Sherlock Holmes type feel, In fact Kennedy has been referred to as the "American Sherlock Holmes". Along with his reporter friend, Walter Jameson, Kennedy solves many crimes and unveils mysteries using science. This book contains twelve of Professor Kennedy's adventures. The interesting thing about these stories is Kennedy uses newly discovered science from his time period, which we take for granted today...

Book cover Poisoned Pen

The many adventures of Professor Craig Kennedy were chronicled by Arthur B. Reeve (October 15, 1880 - August 9, 1936). Reeve was an American mystery writer who created 82 Craig Kennedy mystery stories. The stories have a very Sherlock Holmes type feel, In fact Kennedy has been referred to as the "American Sherlock Holmes". Along with his reporter friend, Walter Jameson, Kennedy solves many crimes and unveils mysteries using science. This book contains twelve of Professor Kennedy's adventures. The interesting thing about these stories is Kennedy uses newly discovered science from his time period, which we take for granted today...

By: Arthur Griffiths (1838-1908)

The Rome Express by Arthur Griffiths The Rome Express

The passengers in the sleeping car of the Rome Express were just woken and informed that they will reach Paris soon, and a general bustle fills the train. Only one passenger cannot be awoken by the porter, no matter how loudly he knocks on the compartment door. At last, when the door is forced open, the occupant of the compartment is found dead - stabbed to the heart! The murderer must be found among the passengers...

By: Arthur J. Rees (1872-1942)

The Shrieking Pit by Arthur J. Rees The Shrieking Pit

The Shrieking Pit is one of Arthur Rees's earlier works, and is a good old fashioned murder mystery story. Grant Colwyn, a private detective, is holidaying in East Anglia when he notices a young man at a nearby table behaving peculiarly. The young man later leaves the hotel without paying his bill, and turns up in a nearby hamlet in the Norfolk marshes where he takes lodgings at the village inn. The next day, another guest at the inn is found dead, and the young man is missing. Can Colwyn sort out the mystery and prove the young man's innocence one way or the the other?

By: Arthur M. Winfield (1862-1930)

The Rover Boys at School by Arthur M. Winfield The Rover Boys at School

First of the famous Rover Boys books by future Hardy Boys creator Edward Stratemeyer (under the pseudonym Arthur M Winfield), this is an introduction to the fun-loving teenage Rover Brothers -- Dick, Tom & Sam. Virtual orphans, they are sent by their prudish Uncle Randolph to a military boarding school and their adventures soon begin!

Book cover Rover Boys in the Jungle

Third entry in the then-popular boys' adventure series has the Rover brothers (Tom, Dick, & Sam) heading to Africa to search for their long-missing father, after a few more adventures at their upstate New York boarding school, Putnam Hall.

Book cover Rover Boys Out West

Despite the title, the Rover Brothers spend several chapters -- over half the book -- back East, against arch-nemeses Josiah Crabtree and the Baxter family. Formulaic fun was dated even by the 1940's when Orson Welles satirized it on the radio.

Book cover Rover Boys on the Great Lakes

The continuing saga of those rambunctious Rover Boys, brothers Dick, Tom, and Sam, takes them to the Great Lakes region of the northern U.S.. Expect the usual adventure and ultimately heroic encounters with bad apples, like arch-enemies the Baxter clan and simpering Josiah Crabtree.

By: Arthur Machen (1863-1947)

The White People by Arthur Machen The White People

Literary critics see Arthur Machen’s works as a significant part of the late Victorian revival of the gothic novel and the decadent movement of the 1890s, bearing direct comparison to the themes found in contemporary works like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The White People is a highly influential horror story of a young girl’s discovery of ancient magic. It was written in the late 1890s as part of a longer unfinished novel, some sketches from which went into his book Ornaments in Jade. Fans of supernatural fiction often cite this story as a classic in the genre.

Book cover The Great God Pan

"The Great God Pan" is a novella written by Arthur Machen. A version of the story was published in the magazine Whirlwind in 1890, and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication (together with another story, "The Inmost Light") in 1894. On publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Machen’s story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism...

Book cover The Angels of Mons

The Angels of Mons is a popular legend about a group of angels who supposedly protected members of the British army in the Battle of Mons at the outset of World War I. The story is fictitious, developed through a combination of a patriotic short story by Arthur Machen, rumours, mass hysteria and urban legend, claimed visions after the battle and also possibly deliberately seeded propaganda.

Book cover Three Impostors

Three friends in a large old dilapidated house are laughing. They seem as giddy as an acting troupe at closing night. But their laughter is callous, cruel; you might say, evil. One of them, a young woman described as piquant rather than beautiful with eyes of a shining hazel, carries a neatly wrapped parcel. She says it is for the doctor's museum. It is dripping. Do you want to know why? Then, listen! There's more than one tale told, but what is the truth? My dears, are you sure you want to know?

By: Arthur Morrison (1863-1945)

A Child of the Jago by Arthur Morrison A Child of the Jago

Arthur George Morrison (1 November 1863, Poplar, London - 4 December 1945, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire) was an English author and journalist known for his realistic novels about London's East End and for his detective stories. Morrison's most famous novel is A Child of the Jago, published in 1896, The novel described in graphic detail living conditions in the East End, including the permeation of violence into everyday life (it was a barely fictionalized account of life in the Old Nichol Street Rookery). (Introduction by Wikipedia and Algy Pug)


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