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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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Paul and Virginia

Paul and Virginia by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre

Paul and Virginia by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre

Paul and Virginia 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.(Summary by Wikipedia)

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The Manxman

The Manxman by Sir Hall Caine

The Manxman by Sir Hall Caine

The Manxman tells the story of two childhood friends, a poor fisherman, Pete Quilliam, and a lawyer, Philip Christian. Pete is in love with Kate but when her father, Old Caesar refuses to consent to their marriage, Pete sets off for Africa to make his fortune, asking Philip to take care of Kate until he returns.

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Sylvia’s Lovers

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

The novel begins in the 1790s in the coastal town of Monkshaven. Sylvia Robson lives with her parents on a farm, and is loved by her rather dull Quaker cousin Philip. She, however, meets and falls in love with Charlie Kinraid, a sailor on a whaling vessel, and they become engaged, although few people know of the engagement. But Charlie gets press-ganged and has to leave without a word. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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The Glimpses of the Moon

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

“The Glimpses of the Moon” is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an “open” relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.

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The Brethren

The Brethren by Henry Rider Haggard

The Brethren by Henry Rider Haggard

Set in the days of the Crusaders, this books tells of a young maiden named Rosamund, and her twin cousins. Godwin is the grey eyed thoughtful man, and Wulf is the blue eyed warrior. They are both knights of England and they are both in love with their fair cousin. But the riddle of the story is which does Rosamund love?

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Fenton’s Quest

Fenton's Quest by M. E. Braddon

Fenton's Quest by M. E. Braddon

This story revolves around Gilbert Fenton, a very talented middle class businessman from London, who falls in love with a beautiful country woman far below his station. He decides to marry her anyway. But is she all that she seems?

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Dr. Wortle’s School

Dr. Wortle's School by Anthony Trollope

Dr. Wortle's School by Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope’s fortieth novel, concerns a respectable Christian boys’ school whose proprietor unknowingly hires a woman who apparently has two husbands: A devoted English scholar and an abusive drunkard from the American south. The book interweaves a sensitive and realistic exploration of Dr. Wortle’s moral dilemma with a humorous look at small-town gossip and–of course–a romance involving the doctor’s beautiful young daughter.

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Rudin

Rudin by Ivan Turgenev

Rudin by Ivan Turgenev

Rudin is the first and perhaps least known novel by Ivan Turgenev, a famous Russian writer best known for his short stories and the novel Fathers and Sons. The story focuses on a romantic involvement between Rudin and Natalya, a serious, intelligent young woman. The topic of the “superfluous man” and his inability to act, which was a major theme of Turgenev’s literary work, is explored.

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Can You Forgive Her?

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

“Can You Forgive Her?” is the first in a series of six Trollope novels dealing broadly with 19th Century English political scene. It introduces the reader to Plantagenet and Glencora Palliser, as they court, marry, and as Plantagenet sets out on his political career, which is carried on in the foreground or background throughout the series. Each novel has a focus on other particular characters, as well. In this one, it is the dilemma of Alice Vavasor, who is a young woman choosing between two suitors: one who has all the best qualities, but who prefers a retiring private life, and another, whose qualities are doubtful, but who is ambitious for public office. There is also a comic subplot involving a widowed aunt, who also must choose between two suitors: Mr. Cheeseacre, a dull but stable farmer, and Capt. Bellfield, a charming but somewhat erratic retired military man.

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