Beatrice

Beatrice by Henry Rider Haggard

Beatrice by Henry Rider Haggard

Beatrice is a lonely twenty-two year old woman. After saving Geoffrey’s life, they fall in love. However, Geoffrey is married. In addition, a local rich land owner wants to marry the beautiful Beatrice. This is a romance by the author of King Solomon’s Mines, Allen Quatermain, and She.

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Daniel Deronda

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

In this enduring Victorian classic, two stories weave in and out of each other: The first is about Gwendolen, one of Eliot’s finest creations, who grows from a self-centered young beauty to a thoughtful adult with an expanded vision of the world around her. The second is about Daniel Deronda, adopted son of an aristocratic Englishman who becomes fascinated with Jewish traditions when he meets an ailing Jewish philosopher named Mordecai and his sensitive sister, Mirah.

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Sons and Lovers

Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

This intimate portrait of a coal-miner’s family fastens on each member in turn: Walter Morel, the collier; Gertrude, his wife; and the children: William, Annie, Arthur, and Paul. When Mrs. Morel begins to be estranged from her husband because of his poor financial sense and his drinking habits, she comes to inhabit the lives of her children – most particularly, her sons. She is determined that they will grow to be something more than men that come home blackened with coal dust every day and roaring with drink every night. As each grows up and moves away, she must release him. But Paul, she holds; they have a bond that defies time and the attractions of young women.

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Conjuror’s House: A Romance of the Free Forest

Conjuror's House: A Romance of the Free Forest by Stewart Edward White

Conjuror's House: A Romance of the Free Forest by Stewart Edward White

In the northern outreaches of the Canadian wilderness, it was understood that the Hudson Bay Company governed all trading, and one factor named Galen Albret took his position seriously. Free traders, or those who dared try to do their trading outside of the Company, found themselves having to face Galen Albret and his methods of dealing with them. One or two offenses he might tolerate, but for those who repeatedly refuse to acknowledge his warning out, he would send them on “La Longue Traverse” through the wilderness without supplies, and from which they seldom returned.

Ned Trent was one such free trader who defied both the Company and Galen Albret. The defining difference between Ned and the other free traders however, was his youth, energy, and good looks, which the Factor’s daughter did not fail to recognize. What follows the initial confrontations between Ned, Galen Albret, and his daughter Virginia makes for a thrilling tale of adventure, daring, survival, and romance.

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Demian

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Somewhat autobiographical, this “coming of age” novel unfolds an introspective boy’s formative years in pre-World War 1 Germany, from grade school through college. Hesse likens this confusing process to a giant bird struggling to break out of its egg (the protective shell of home, family, social norms), to be reborn as an individuated adult with his own goals, ideas and ideals. Much importance is given to dreams and their interpretation, Fate vs individual choice, Gnosticism (particularly the god Abraxas), opening up to one’s unconsciousness, all showing the influence of Carl Jung’s psychology. One of the book’s major themes is the existence of opposing forces (good vs evil, society vs individualism, God vs Devil, etc.) and the idea that both are natural and necessary parts of the Whole. Adjacent themes are about puberty, sexuality, bullying, loneliness, mentorship, the divine feminine, psychic connections, questioning religious dogma, and the herd mentality. It is also a story of one soldier’s experience on the battlefield of WWI, feeling part of and being willing to die for a cause outside ones own control. Due to its controversial themes, Demian was first published under the pseudonym “Emil Sinclair” (the narrator of the story) but Hesse was later revealed to be the author.

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This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald, taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is a wealthy and attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature and has a series of romances that eventually lead to his disillusionment. In his later novels, Fitzgerald would further develop the book’s theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking.

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The Awakening

The Awakening  by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

“The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers with its forthright treatment of sex and suicide. Departing from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine’s desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class life are the themes of this now-classic novel.” – As Kay Gibbons points out, Chopin “was writing American realism before most Americans could bear to hear that they were living it.”

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The Indiscreet Letter

The Indiscreet Letter by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

The Indiscreet Letter by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

Eleanor Hallowell Abbott’s The Indiscreet Letter finds three fellow travelers on a train who enter into a discussion concerning what they would call an ‘indiscreet letter.’ The discussion produces some rather interesting revelations during the journey and at journey’s end.

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Vixen – Volume 2

Vixen - Volume 2 by M. E. Braddon

Vixen – Volume 2 by M. E. Braddon

This is an exquisite and heartbreaking love story. Violet Tempest and Roderick Vawdrey, otherwise known to each other as Vixen and Rorie, are childhood sweethearts. However, Rorie’s family wants him to marry elsewhere. You may think it is the old story all over again, but nothing in this novel is what it seems. It is far too realistic for that. Many books talk about falling in love. This book starts after that stage, and speaks about the harder stage of a relationship: loving earnestly but understanding that love – even in the truest and purest sense – is not everything in life. There are duties to fulfil, and they might have nothing to do with love. Family life plays a large role in this novel, and it is not always warm and good. Many of the characters are strong and complicated. The novel has some feminist ideas, but they have boundaries, and are presented side by side with the conventional ideas of the times. But the signs of change are there… loud and clear.

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A Lady of Quality

A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Set in late 1600’s England, the story follows the life of a woman living an unconventional life. The loves of her life and all of its ups and downs are included.

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