By: Henry James (1843-1916)
The Portrait of a Lady
Regarded as one of James’ finest works, The Portrait of a Lady revolves around the life and the development of Isabel Archer as she embarks on a scrupulous journey of self-discovery, forced to choose between her individual freedom and the preset conventions of society. Moreover, the novel explores themes of existentialism, objectification of women, wealth, suffering, and the conflict between individual longing and social conformity. Set in the second half of the 19th century, the novel opens with the introduction of Isabel Archer, a naive young woman from Albany, New York...
First appearing as a serial in Cornhill Magazine in 1880, Washington Square focuses on the strained relationship between father and daughter, which is instigated as a result of opposing personalities, viewpoints, and lack of affection. At the same time, James presents an insidious father, who would rather sacrifice his daughter’s happiness and condemn her to a lifetime of misery, simply to prove the accuracy of his prediction. Essentially a tragicomedy, the novel focuses on themes including family, deception, cruelty, manipulation, and opposed principles...
The Altar of the Dead
A fable of literally life and death significance, the story explores how the protagonist tries to keep the remembrance of his dead friends, to save them from being forgotten entirely in the rush of everyday events. He meets a woman who shares his ideals, only to find that the past places what seems to be an impassable barrier between them. Although James was not religious in any conventional sense, the story shows a deep spirituality in its treatment of mortality and the transcendent power of unselfish love.
The Wings of the Dove
The Wings of the Dove, published in 1902, represents to my memory a very old–if I shouldn’t perhaps rather say a very young–motive; I can scarce remember the time when the situation on which this long-drawn fiction mainly rests was not vividly present to me. The idea, reduced to its essence, is that of a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world; aware moreover of the condemnation and passionately desiring to “put in” before extinction as many of the finer vibrations as possible, and so achieve, however briefly and brokenly, the sense of having lived.
The Aspern Papers
One of James’s favorite short novels, the Aspern Papers tells of the efforts of the nameless narrator to procure the papers of a famous, but now dead, American poet. His attempts to secure them from the poet’s former lover and her niece, now recluses in Venice, are stymied both by them, and by his own mistakes in his quest.
By: Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925)
This is the story of Miriam, an orphan Christian woman living in Rome in the first century. She falls in love with a Roman officer, but knows that her Jewish childhood playmate loves her too and will do anything in order to get her love in return.
By: Herbert George Jenkins (1876-1923)
The Return of Alfred
The hero of the book is at a loose end, weary and bored of his old life after returning from the Great War. After an argument with his uncle and a railway strike he finds himself lost in the county of Norfolk at ten o’clock one night. When he seeks shelter in a country home, the butler immediately recognizes him as “Mr. Alfred”, the missing son of the house. From that point onwards, our hero, who gives his name as “James Smith”, finds himself in for an exciting time.Not only does he inherit the friends of “Mr...
John Dene of Toronto; a Comedy of Whitehall
John Dene comes to England with a great invention, and the intention of gingering-up the Admiralty. His directness and unconventional methods bewilder and embarrass the officials at Whitehall, where, according to him, most of the jobs are held by those "whose great-grandfathers had a pleasant way of saying how-do-you-do to a prince." Suddenly John Dene disappears, and the whole civilised world is amazed at an offer of £20,000 for news of him. Scotland Yard is disorganised by tons of letters and thousands of callers...
By: Herbert Jenkins (1876-1923)
Patricia Brent, spinster
A romantic comedy, written in 1918, but with a modern feel to it. Patricia Brent one day overhears two fellow-boarders pitying her because she “never has a nice young man to take her out”. In a thoughtless moment of anger she announces that the following night she will be dining out with her fiance. When she arrives at the restaurant the next day, she finds some of the fellow-boarders there to watch her, so, rendered reckless by the thought of the humiliation of being found out, she goes up to a young man sitting alone at a table, and asks him to help her by “playing up”. Countless complications and adventures ensue…
By: Hollis Godfrey (1874-1936)
Man Who Ended War
Jim Orrington, news reporter, is at the office when the Secretary of War brings in a letter--mostly likely a prank--that demands all the nations of the world to disarm in one year or have all their battleships destroyed. This letter, signed "The man who will stop all war", is ignored by Orrington's fellow reporters and by the U.S. government, but he decides to dig deeper. With the help of Tom and Dorothy Haldane, Jim Orrington embarks on an adventure around the world trying to stop the man who is determined to end all fighting before he catapults the entire world into chaos and war! - Summary by Adele de Pignerolles
By: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)
Published by Honoré de Balzac in the tempestuous year of 1830, the tale follows the undulating pathways of Sarrasine the sculptor’s shocking journey to his coming of age. As one of the “fathers of realism” Balzac painted with his words a vivid portrait of life in the swirling salons of Europe at the end of the Bourbon monarchy, and we follow Sarrasine from France to Italy in search of both his métier and his muse.However it is also the story of La Zambinella, an Italian singer with whom Sarrasine falls madly and passionately in love. But that passion holds a secret which Sarrasine spies too late.
Modeste Mignon, a young provincial woman of romantic temperament, imagines herself to be in love with the famous Parisian poet Melchior de Canalis. However, he is not moved by her attentions. He invites his secretary Ernest de la Brière to "deal with the matter". Ernest answers Modeste's letters in his name and acts as her lover, disguised as Canalis. The scene changes dramatically when Ernest discoveres that Modest is, in fact, a rich heiress. Would he be able to win her heart despite his lie?
By: Isabella Alden (1841-1930)
Authored by Isabella M. Alden under the pen name “Pansy.” Ester Ried’s life is a dull monotony of toiling at her family’s boardinghouse. She’s overworked, jealous and cranky, a poor example of a Christian to her family and associates. She awakens to a new attitude and commitment due to an extended visit with her cousin.
Authored by Isabella M. Alden under the pen name “Pansy.” Sequel to “Ester Ried.” Julia Ried must take a job as a bookkeeper in a factory to earn a living. The mistress of her boardinghouse influences her in a negative way, drawing her into a life and attitude displeasing to God. Will her family and friends be able to convince her stand up for what’s right?
Ruth Erskine's Crosses
Third book in the Chautauqua Girls series. Written by Isabella Alden under the pseudonym “Pansy.” Ruth’s father brings home a wife and daughter, after 18 years, that Ruth had never known about. Suddenly she is no longer the queen of her home. And what’s worse, the new mother and sister are rude and antagonistic. How will Ruth bear this cross?
By: J. M. Barrie (1860-1937)
A ghost story and a haunting story of ageless love. Identified by The Guardian as number 10 on its list of the "Forgotten Plays" that it hoped would be revived. Supposedly looked at by Hitchcock as potential movie material. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Mrs. Otery: mleigh Harry: Greg Giordano Mr. Amy : Michael Jarvis Mr. Amy : redrun Mr. Moreland: ToddHW Mrs. Moreland: Sonia Mary Rose: Jenn Broda Simon: Tomas Peter Cameron: Alan Mapstone Stage Directions: MichaelMaggs Editing: ToddHW
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: Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
Paul and Virginia
Paul and Virginia was first published in 1787. The novel's title characters are very good friends since birth who fall in love, but sadly die when the ship Le Saint-Geran is wrecked. The story is set in the island of Mauritius under French rule, then named Île de France, which the author had visited. Written on the eve of the French Revolution, the novel is hailed as Bernardin's finest work. It records the fate of a child of nature corrupted by the false, artificial sentimentality that prevailed at the time among the upper classes of France.
By: James Allen (1864-1912)
The Divine Companion
James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.In the introduction Lily Allen writes: "It cannot be said of this book that James Allen wrote it at any particular time or in any one year, for he was engaged in it over many years and those who have eyes to see and hearts to understand will find in its pages the spiritual history of his life. It was his own wish that The Divine Companion should be the last manuscript of his to be published. 'It is the story of my soul,' he said, 'and should be read last of all my books, so that the student may understand and find my message in its pages.'"
By: James Oliver Curwood (1878-1927)
The Flaming Forest
A tale of mystery, romance, and honor, as David Carrigan must choose between his duty as an officer of the law and a girl who holds him captive; a girl who Carrigan thinks he may have fallen in love with no less! Who is this strange girl Jean-Marie, and why won’t she give him his freedom? And who are the people that she surrounds herself with along the great Canadian rivers and wilderness barrens and forests of the northwest?
Flower of the North
Flower of the North finds Philip Whittemore on an adventure which takes him up the Churchill River of northern Canada to a land which he thought he knew. However, tucked in among the rocks and hills lies an unfamiliar outpost which he’s been told is called Fort o’ God whose inhabitants and history are shrouded in mystery. It is Jeanne D’Arcambal and her protector Pierre who have told him of this place, but there is so much which they haven’t told him, including who they really are, where they come from, and their clouded past.
God's Country—And the Woman
James Curwood wrote many adventures of the far north. By 1909 he had saved enough money to travel to the Canadian northwest, a trip that provided the inspiration for his wilderness adventure stories. The success of his novels afforded him the opportunity to return to the Yukon and Alaska for several months each year that allowed him to write more than thirty such books. The Canadian North is often referred to as “God’s Country” God’s Country is a tale of adventure, mystery and romance!
The Country Beyond
The Country Beyond, subtitled A Romance In the Wilderness, is a story of “Jolly” Roger McKay, an outcast on the run from the law; Nada, the girl he falls in love with; and Peter, the devoted mixed-breed dog who links the two together as no human could, as action, adventure, and romance take them through the Northwest Canadian wilderness in search of The Country Beyond. (Summary by Roger Melin)
The Valley of Silent Men
Subtitled: A Story of the Three River Country. James Kent has learned that he is terminally ill with perhaps only days to live, and so decides to confess to a murder and thus save an innocent man. Nobody believes his confession, particularly Marette, a mysterious girl who had shown up at Athabasca Landing only weeks before. Kent’s illness takes a turn and his death is postponed, and he sets about to find out more about the girl, who he ends up falling in love with, although she’ll not reveal her past to him, nor what she knows about the murder...
The Honor of the Big Snows
What unseen force may have brought young Jan Thoreau and his music from out of the barren lands into the remote camp of Lac Bain, forever changing the lives of those few who lived there? What brought him to the home of John and Melisse Cummins as the latter lay on her death bed? Moreover, what was the great sorrow and overpowering sadness which permeated the life of the young man in the months and years following his arrival, and by what means was he to struggle with The Honor of the Big Snows?
Nomads of the North
An unlikely pair were Neewa, the black bear cub who had been orphaned at a young age, and Miki, part Mackenzie hound, part Airedale and Spitz who had become separated from his master in the frozen reaches of northern Canada. But the two befriended one another, and these nomads fended for themselves until they too became separated in an unfortunate way. While Neewa searched for his friend, Miki was taken by northern trappers who felt he could be trained to become a good fighting dog, a valuable asset in the north. What follows is Miki's attempts to flee from his captors and search for his master, and Neewa's search for his canine friend.
By: Jane Austen (1775-1817)
Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a book about the life of Catherine Morland and her romantic relationships. The novel is divided into two parts; the first part begins with Catherine’s visit to Bath and her relationship with Henry Tilney and the other people she met there, and the second part starts with the arrival of Frederick Tilney and her visit to Northanger Abbey. This book alongside Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility is considered one of the major works of Jane Austen. The novel had undergone many revisions before its publication and it was even originally titled “Catherine...
Love and Friendship
Begun when she was just eleven years old, Love and Friendship is one of Jane Austen's stories that very few readers may have encountered before. Austen experts feel that this story was written, like many others, only for the pleasure of her family and friends. It is scribbled across three notebooks, in childish handwriting, and the complete work is thought to have been written over a period of six or seven years. It is dedicated to one of her cousins, whom she was very close to, Eliza de Feuillide...
An epistolary novel, Lady Susan is an early work by Austen that was posthumously published in 1871. The short novel focuses on the self-serving eponymous anti-heroine, as she cunningly maneuvers her way through society in search of a wealthy husband for both her daughter and herself. Disregarding anything but her own selfish goals, Susan employs her charms to lure men and draw them into her web of deceit, no matter their age or status. Exploring issues including morals, manners, self-indulgence, malevolence, and social machinations, the relatively short novel is sure to fascinate with its atypical form...
Persuasion (version 7)
Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of 27 years, whose family is moving to get out of debt, rents their home to an Admiral. The brother of the Admiral's wife, Captain Frederick Wentworth, had been engaged to Anne years earlier and now they meet again. Both are still single and unattached. This sets the scene for a second chance at love for the two of them.
By: Jane Porter (1776-1850)
The Scottish Chiefs
An adventure novel about William Wallace, one of the most popular books ever written by Jane Porter. The French version was even banned by Napoleon, and the book has remained very popular with Scottish children, but is equally enjoyable for adults.