By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Two on a Tower
The plot concerns two – literally starcrossed – lovers: Swithin St. Cleeve, a very young amateur astronomer, and Viviette Constantine, an unhappily married and abandoned woman 8 or 9 years his senior. Each night Swithin climbs the old tower of the title, in the grounds of the Constantine estate. Lady Constantine, whose husband has been absent some years on an extended hunting and exploring journey to Africa, joins the young man in his stargazing, and supports his astronomical ambitions by buying him equipment, though his dreams of scientific renown are disappointed.Their relationship then deepens and takes several twists and turns.
Cytherea Graye is poor, but accepts a post as lady's maid to the eccentric Miss Aldclyffe, the woman whom her father had loved but had not been able to marry. Cytherea in turn loves a young architect, Edward Springrove; but will Miss Adclyffe's machinations, the knowledge that Edward is already engaged to a woman whom he does not love, and the urgent need to support her sick brother drive Cytherea to accept the hand of Aeneas Manston? Will true love triumph in the end or will she be forced to live a life of misery with a man she doesn't love? ( Michele Eaton )
Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid
A milkmaid, Margery, encounters a mysterious foreigner and perhaps prevents him from committing suicide. In gratitude, the man offers her any reward she can name. She tells him she wants to go to a ball. He takes her, admittedly a bit reluctantly, to a yeoman's ball in a neighboring county. From there the story continues because of course, a lot happens after the ball. She happens to already have an engagement to a local lad but his hold over her seems to grow of its own accord. This Hardy story may not end the way you wish, but that is often true of stories by this master writer.
|A Laodicean: a Story of To-day
By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
Ann Veronica was a controversial book detailing the development of a naive school girl into a “New Woman”. When it was published, the Spectator described it as a “poisonous book … capable of poisoning the minds of those who read it.” Although it is unlikely to offend modern listeners in this way, this novel addresses many feminist issues that are still relevant today.
By: Jack London (1876-1916)
The Sea Wolf
A maritime classic acclaimed for its exciting adventure, The Sea Wolf offers a thrilling tale of life at sea, while exploring the many difficulties that may erupt on board a ship captained by a brutally hedonistic and controlling individual. Additionally, the psychological adventure novel covers several themes including mutiny, existentialism, individualism, brutality, and the intrinsic will to survive. The novel sets into motion when its protagonist, the soft and cultivated scholar Humphrey van Weyden, is witness to a precarious collision between his ferry and another ship...
The Mutiny of the Elsinore
This is the story of a voyage of a sailing ship from Baltimore to Seattle, east-to-west around Cape Horn in the winter. It is set in 1913 and the glory days of “wooden ships and iron men” are long over. The Elsinore is a four-masted iron sailing vessel carrying a cargo of 5000 tons of coal. She has a “bughouse” crew of misfits and incompetents. This book was published in 1915 and some actions of some of the characters seem odd to us today. There is romance, but it is strangely platonic. Two important characters disappear with no real explanation...
By: Rudyard Kipling
The Light that Failed
This novel, first published in 1890, follows the life of Dick Heldar, a painter. Most of the novel is set in London, but many important events throughout the story occur in Sudan or India. It was made into a 1916 film with Jose Collins and a 1939 film by Paramount starring Ronald Colman.
The Brushwood Boy
The experiences in public school, Sandhurst and military life in India of Major George Cottar together with his adventures in the dream world he discovers and frequents.
By: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)
This is volume 1 of 2. One of the most quirky, eccentric and endearing heroes to ever be depicted in fiction, the chivalrous Don Quixote is sure to capture hearts while bringing tears of laughter to your eyes. If you've never encountered the Knight from La Mancha before, get set for a delightful sojourn through the Spanish countryside, across the fertile countryside of Central Spain. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was an immediate success when it was first published in 1605 and won huge financial and literary success for its creator, an impoverished writer and poet...
By: Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
The Count of Monte Cristo
Written by French author Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo follows the life of Edmond Dantes as he embarks on a journey of revenge after being wrongly imprisoned and set up by none other than his so-called friends. Set during the years after the fall of Napoleon’s empire, the story unwinds in several locations including Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Monte Cristo and Constantinople. A handsome young sailor and soon to be ship captain Edmond Dantes seems to have it all in life, as he returns to Marseilles to wed the love of his life and fiancée, the beautiful Mercedes...
The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers follows the adventures of the young Gascon nobleman, D’Artagnan and his three trusted friends who served as musketeers in the king’s regiment – Athos, Porthos & Aramis. Written by Alexandre Dumas, the book was a bestseller during the time of its publication and it remains so even today. It follows the timeless theme of friendship and bravery. The main protagonist of the story is D’Artagnan who travels to Paris to realize his dreams of becoming one of the musketeers for the king...
The Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas is part of the novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years After, published in serial form between 1857-50. It is also the last of the D'Artagnan stories written by Dumas and the three musketeers are the real heroes of the story, though the title is given to the man in the iron mask. The story opens with Aramis (one of the musketeers who is now a priest) taking the last confession of a prisoner who is condemned to be executed soon. His confession comes as a thunderbolt to the former musketeer...
Twenty Years After
First serialized from January to August, 1845, Twenty Years After is the second book in The D’Artagnan Romances, and follows the gallant adventures of the musketeers, as they are once again summoned to alleviate the various threats that lurk in the political scene of France, as the country is threatened by a possible uprising. Enriched with exciting and well-developed characters, the novel adds more detail to its familiar characters, as the musketeers have matured and are portrayed in a more introspective light...
The Vicomte De Bragelonne
After The Three Muskateers and Twenty Years After the adventurous story of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan continues!The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (French: Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard) is the last of the Musketeer novels. It is usually divided into four volumes and this first volume contains chapters 1-75.
Louise de la Valliere
After The Three Muskateers and Twenty Years After the adventurous story of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan continues! The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (French: Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard) is the last of the Musketeer novels. It is usually divided into four volumes and this third volume contains chapters 141-208.
Chicot the Jester
This sequel to Dumas' “Marguerite de Valois” begins four years after the sudden death of King Charles IX and succession of his brother Henry III. The reign of King Henry III was plagued with rebellion and political intrigue due to the War of the Three Henries, where his regency was challenged by King Henry of Navarre (leader of the Huguenots) and Henry I, Duke of Guise (leader of the Catholic League). Dumas weaves two main storylines through this turbulent backdrop: one of the love ignited between le Comte de Bussy and la Dame de Monsoreau, and another of the friendship between King Henry III and his truly unique jester, Chicot (Jean-Antoine d'Anglerais).
By: Daniel Defoe (1659/1661-1731)
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders
A woman in prison awaiting a death sentence is given a reprieve because she is pregnant. She migrates to America abandoning the baby to the care of a foster mother. The child, a girl, grows up and begins working as a servant in a wealthy household. Here she is pursued by the two sons of the house and ultimately marries the younger one. When he dies, leaving her with two young children to look after, she begins a life of deception and confidence trickery which ends in great tragedy and disgrace. In her old age, events take a less tragic turn and her redemption comes from sources she least expects...
By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
The Duchess of Padua
Guido Ferranti, a young man, travels to Padua with his friend Ascanio after receiving a mysterious letter from a stranger, claiming to know the true secret of Guido's birth. His plan of revenge goes awry, however, when he falls in love with his enemy's beautiful wife, the Duchess of Padua.
By: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Set in nineteenth century New England, Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters-Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. The novel is a classic rites of passage story, that has often split literature critics but has been adored by many over the years. Intended as a book for young girls, the book is too sentimental for some but plenty of adults and young men have Little Women firmly featured in their best books of all time. The pace of the novel can be slow at times and the language almost too perfect but the overall sympathetic tone of Alcott wins over the reader...
The Abbots Ghost or Maurice Treherne Temptation
Louisa May Alcott enthusiasts would be delighted to read this short novel published in 1867, just a year before the grand debut of her most famous Little Women trilogy. This is one of three books she wrote under the pseudonym AM Barnard. She used this name to pen tales that were meant more for adult readers, though younger people will find them quite interesting too. The Abbot's Ghost or Maurice Treherne's Temptation is a romance, mystery, ghost-story and novel of manners all rolled into one...
Jo’s Boys is the third book in the Little Women trilogy by Louisa May Alcott, published in 1886. In it, Jo’s “children”, now grown, are caught up in real world troubles. All three books – although fiction – are highly autobiographical and describe characters that were really in Alcott’s life. This book contains romance as the childhood playmates become flirtatious young men and women. The characters are growing up, going out into the world and deciding their futures.
Rose in Bloom
Opening several years after the close of "Eight Cousins", we find Rose coming home fresh from a voyage overseas, to find much changed about her. Now of a marriageable age and heiress to a fortune, Rose finds joy,sorrow, and finally love await her -- as the Rose is finally ready to bloom into a good, strong, sweet and true woman.This sequel to Eight Cousins was written by Louisa May Alcott, the author of many well beloved children's books including Little Women, An Old Fashioned Girl, Under the Lilacs and more.
Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power
Fans of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women will remember that her heroine Jo wrote racy novels before turning her hand to more "serious" literature. Alcott, writing under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard, often did the same, and Behind a Mask (1866) is one of her sensation novels. It focuses on Jean Muir, who enters the home of the wealthy Coventry family as governess to their sixteen-year-old daughter. But is the beguiling Miss Muir all that she seems to be? (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)
Pauline's Passion and Punishment
Before she wrote Little Women and Little Men, Louisa, writing under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, had this `blood and thunder' thriller (as she called them) published in 1863 by a weekly pulp magazine. This was during the period when Louisa worked a nurse during the American Civil war. The rigid and unfair roles of men and women of this period, their expectations and desires, plays a large in this story of betrayed love, anger, petulance, and ultimately, vengeance. The story is well written and plotted of course, being an Alcott story, so listeners can expect to enjoy a captivating and satisfying story read to them by one of the best and most highly polished readers around.
By: Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is a novel which tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean, his struggles and eventual redemption. It's hailed by many critics as not just Victor Hugo's finest work but also one of the best French novels of all time. Like most epic novels written in the 19th century, the storyline of Les Misérables spans through several decades beginning in the early 1800s and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris. The events related to the lives of the central characters in the novel are also tied to the great historical events of the time from the French Revolution to the June Rebellion...
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
One of the great literary tragedies of all time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame features some of the most well-known characters in all of fiction - Quasimodo, the hideously deformed bellringer of Notre-Dame de Paris, his master the evil priest Claude Frollo, and Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy condemned for a crime she did not commit.
Toilers of the Sea
This is the story of a man’s monumental struggle against nature, to win the hand of the woman he loves, and surmount every difficulty that Nature puts in his path
By: P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)
A Damsel in Distress
A Damsel in Distress is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the U.S. on October 4, 1919 by George H. Doran, New York, and in the U.K. by Herbert Jenkins, London, on October 17 1919. It had previously been serialised in The Saturday Evening Post, between May and June that year.Golf-loving American composer George Bevan falls in love with a mysterious young lady who takes refuge in his taxicab one day; when he tracks her down to a romantic rural manor, mistaken identity leads to all manner of brouhaha.
Three Men and a Maid
This book with two titles, Three Men and a Maid in the USA and The Girl on the Boat in the UK is a typical P.G. Wodehouse romantic comedy, involving, at various times: a disastrous talent quest, a lawyer with a revolver, a bulldog with a mind of his own and a suit of armour! The maid, or marriageable young woman, of the American title is red-haired, dog-loving Wilhelmina “Billie” Bennet. The three men are Bream Mortimer, a long-time friend and admirer of Billie, Eustace Hignett, a poet of sensitive disposition who is engaged to Billie at the opening of the tale, and Sam Marlowe, Eustace’s would-be-dashing cousin, who falls for Billie at first sight...
Uneasy Money is a romantic comedy by P.G. Wodehouse, published during the First World War, it offers light escapism. More romantic but only a little less humorous that his mature works, it tells of the vicissitudes of poor Lord Dawlish, who inherits five million dollars, but becomes a serially disappointed groom. When the story opens Bill (Lord Dawlish, a thoroughly pleasant man) is engaged to a demanding actress. His first thought when hearing of his massive legacy from a stranger whose tendency to slice he once cured on a West Country golf course is of the disappointed relatives...
By: Elizabeth Gaskell
Mary Barton is the first novel by English author Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1848. The story is set in the English city of Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s and deals heavily with the difficulties faced by the Victorian lower class. The novel begins in Manchester, where we are introduced to the Bartons and the Wilsons, two working class families. John Barton reveals himself to be a great questioner of the distribution of wealth and the relation between the rich and the poor. He also relates how his sister-in-law Esther has disappeared after she ran away from home...