The Pretty Lady

The Pretty Lady by Arnold Bennett

The Pretty Lady by Arnold Bennett

The Pretty Lady’ is considered to be one of Bennett’s most revealing and under-rated works. It is the story of a French prostitute, Christine, who has escaped from wartime Ostend, and set herself up in business in London. Though a refugee, she demands no pity; she is self-sufficient, practical and realistic. Christine is not a harpy preying on innocent soldiers, but a canny businesswoman, doing the best she can with the opportunities life has given her. Her main relationship is with G.J. Hoape, a wealthy man above the military age. Bennett in this novel presents a disturbing image of wartime society, fragmented, uneasy and divided. There are references to industrial unrest and to social injustices, and hints that the British press is less than frank about the war.

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An International Episode

An International Episode by Henry James

An International Episode by Henry James

Two men visiting the US from London meet a pair of charming women who return the visit the following year in London. Romantic intrigues, miscommunication and cultural faux pas abound in this short but delightful novel.

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The Hawk of Egypt

The Hawk of Egypt by Joan Conquest

The Hawk of Egypt by Joan Conquest

A tragic love triangle between a beautiful English girl, an English gentleman, and a half-English, half-Egyptian plays out among the ruins and under the desert stars of 1920s era Egypt. The saga ends, as all love triangles must, in tragedy upon the desert sands.

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The Mountain Girl

The Mountain Girl by Payne Erskine

The Mountain Girl by Payne Erskine

A delightful love-story, genuinely American in feeling and treatment. The story is stirring, the heroine is ideal.

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The Shuttle

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Rosalie Vanderpoel, the daughter of an American multimillionaire marries an impoverished English baronet and goes to live in England. She all but loses contact with her family in America. Years later her younger sister Bettina, beautiful, intelligent and extremely rich, goes to England to find what has happened to her sister. She finds Rosalie shabby and dispirited, cowed by her husband’s ill treatment. Bettina sets about to rectify matters. She meets Lord Mount Dunstan, an impoverished earl, who lives nearby and they fall in love, but he cannot speak because it would look as if he were after her money…

This is a romance but it is also about the rejuvenating effects of Americans and American money on a somewhat decadent English aristocracy

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Love and Intrigue

Love and Intrigue by Friedrich Schiller

Love and Intrigue by Friedrich Schiller

Ferdinand is an army major and son of President von Walter, a high-ranking noble in a German duke’s court, while Luise Miller is the daughter of a middle-class musician. The couple fall in love with each other, but both their fathers tell them to end their affair. The President instead wants to expand his own influence by marrying Ferdinand to Lady Milford, the duke’s mistress, but Ferdinand rebels against his father’s plan and tries to persuade Luise to elope with him. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Lady Anna

Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope

Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope

This tightly constructed and passionate study of enforced marriage in the world of Radical politics and social inequality, records the lifelong attempt of Countess Lovel to justify her claim to her title, and her daughter Anna’s legitimacy, after her husband announces that he already has a wife. However, mother and daughter are driven apart when Anna defies her mother’s wish that she marry her cousin, heir to her father’s title, and falls in love with journeyman tailor and young Radical Daniel Thwaite. The outcome is never in doubt, but Trollope’s ambivalence on the question is profound, and the novel both intense and powerful.

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The Two Destinies

The Two Destinies by Wilkie Collins

The Two Destinies by Wilkie Collins

Mary Dermody is destined to be together with George Germaine one day, or so at least her grandmother prophesizes. Destiny at first doesn’t seem to adhere to this plan, and the pair is separated and lose sight of each other. But when George saves a young woman from drowning, a strong connection seems to develop between them, which seems to be almost supernatural.

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The Ten-foot Chain

The Ten-foot Chain by Achmed Abdullah and others

The Ten-foot Chain by Achmed Abdullah and others

True love is so powerful it can survive anything. Or can it? Four popular authors were lunching with an editor and the question came up: “What mental and emotional reaction would a man and a woman undergo, linked together by a ten-foot chain, for three days and nights?” The 4 very popular authors each had strong but divergent opinions of what would happen to such a couple chained together for 3 days and nights. The result was these fascinating stories. Does true love scoff at the small difficulty of constant proximity? Does being ‘too close’ become an acid that eats away even the bonds of love? What do YOU think would happen if you were to write such a story? Read and find out what these divergent authors think.

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The Tales of the Heptameron – Volume 4

The Tales of the Heptameron - Volume 4 by Marguerite of Navarre

The Tales of the Heptameron – Volume 4 by Marguerite of Navarre

THE HEPTAMERON (here Volume 4 of 5), first published posthumously in 1558, is divided into seven complete days containing 10 stories each, and an eighth day containing only 2 stories. The stories, many of which deal with love and infidelity, resulted in “accusations of looseness” by critics of the day. The author, Margaret of Navarre (also known as Margaret of Angoulême) became an influential woman in the intellectual and cultural circles of the French Renaissance.

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