The Abbot’s Ghost

The Abbot's Ghost by Louisa May Alcott

The Abbot's Ghost by Louisa May Alcott

Written by Louisa May Alcott under her pseudonym, A. M. Barnard, this Christmas story deals with the themes of love and defending one’s honor. Although he is disinherited and poor, Maurice Traherne tries to win the hand of his love, Octavia.

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The Tragic Bride

The Tragic Bride by Francis Brett Young

The Tragic Bride by Francis Brett Young

The story centers on Gabrielle Hewish, only and lonely child of Sir Jocelyn Hewish, a loveable lush and owner of the peaceful Roscarna estate nestled in the Irish countryside. In due course, young Gabrielle falls in love with a Navy man whose untimely demise sends her into a depression, and the consequences of which alter her future, culminating in a fascinating and quite unpredictable relationship with Mrs. Payne and her troubled son Arthur. A story of understanding in it’s finest sense and aptly titled, The Tragic Bride is both interesting as a story and telling as a character study.

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The Doctor’s Wife

The Doctor's Wife by M. E. Braddon

The Doctor's Wife by M. E. Braddon

The heroine, Isabel Sleaford, was driven early in her childhood to bury herself in, and develop her sense of self through, romantic novels and poetry. She is thus ill-adapted to the conventional, provincial structures and strictures laid upon her when she marries the very good and adoring, but also boring and unimaginative, Dr. George Gilbert. Isabel forms friendships with men (including her husband’s best friend) who are more amenable to her romantic inclinations, and inevitably encounters social condemnation as a result. The book shows how life’s tragedies and the world’s cruel judgments shape Isabel, as she grows more mature, somewhat embittered, but also – true to her nature – beautifully resilient.

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History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding

History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding

Tom Jones is a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind, wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbor’s daughter, Sophia Western. However, Tom’s status as a bastard causes Sophia’s father and Allworthy to oppose their love. The book sizzles with prostitution and plenty of sexual promiscuity.

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Clarimonde

Clarimonde by Théophile Gautier

Clarimonde by Théophile Gautier

This is the story of a priest named Romauld, and his all-consuming love for the beautiful courtesan, Clarimonde.

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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë’s only novel, published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.

Now considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, with many horrified by the stark depictions of mental and physical cruelty. Though Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was originally considered the best of the Brontë sisters’ works, many subsequent critics of Wuthering Heights argued that its originality and achievement made it superior.

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The Adventures of Sally

The Adventures of Sally by P. G. Wodehouse

The Adventures of Sally by P. G. Wodehouse

This romantic comedy stars a young American girl named Sally, who inherits a considerable fortune and finds her life turned upside down. The typically Wodehouseian cast includes Sally’s ambitious brother, an assortment of theater people, a pair of English cousins, and, of course, an Uncle. It’s jolly good fun!

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Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park features Austen’s frailest and perhaps most scrupulous heroine, Fannie Price. As the eldest daughter in a poor family, Fannie is sent to rich relatives when she’s just old enough to fully appreciate the shame of her circumstances. Without pride or prejudice, Fanny sticks to principles in all matters. And matters certainly put her to the test.

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Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Of Human Bondage is considered to be W. Somerset Maugham’s best work. Many believe the novel to be one of the world’s literary masterpieces. The story follows Phillip Carey from early childhood through his 30’s. Orphaned at 9, Phillip spends his early years raised by his childless aunt and uncle. His aunt tries to be a mother to Philip, but she is unsure how to behave whereas his uncle, a vicar, takes a cold disposition towards him. Philip is sent to a boarding school but his shyness and his club foot make it difficult for him to fit in. The novel follows this theme throughout as Phillip travels to Germany, France, and England, makes new acquaintances, searches for his life’s calling, and experiences romantic episodes. Mildred in particular, will leave you wondering about Phillip’s obsession and passion for such a woman. More than a few of us have had “our Mildred”. The characters in Of Human Bondage are real-life with faults, qualities, and feelings that Maugham describes so vividly. It would not be unusual that we have encountered individuals with traits similar to the characters in this book. At times the emotions in this novel, so simply but purely written, will leave you either sad or happy and even perhaps, teary-eyed as the enthusiasm of youth is met with reality as Phillip tries to discover the meaning of HIS life through the dreams of others.

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Memoirs Of Fanny Hill

Memoirs Of Fanny Hill by John Cleland

Memoirs Of Fanny Hill by John Cleland

Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is a widely-read English novel in the genre “Erotica.” The novel has been repeatedly banned by authorities, assuring its preeminent role in the history of the ongoing struggle against censorship of free expression.

The protagonist of Fanny Hill, never repented a single moment of her sexual exploits … quite the contrary! And with Fanny, the devil is in the details, realistically described.

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