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Miss Mackenzie

Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope

Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope

The thirty-five year-old (hence utterly over-the-hill) Miss Margaret Mackenzie, having devoted her life to others, suddenly finds herself with no one to care for, and in possession of a moderate fortune. Having money, she is now much sought-after and no longer universally deemed too old to marry. Partly because she has spent her life taking care of the brother whose money she has now inherited, she has no experience of wealth or popularity. Miss Mackenzie is the definition of “other-oriented. These circumstances are the perfect set-up for classic Trollopian swipes and snipes at various fortune-hunters and other obsequies, and more broadly at society’s sexism, classism, and Mammonism. She comes into her own and begins to try to enjoy life, at first juggling, but ultimately rejecting, three serious suitors. As the story unfolds, the particulars of her deceased brother’s life and death reveal themselves, Miss Mackenzie becomes increasingly able to know who she is and what she wants, and both she and the reader are better able to discern the true colors of those around her. The question is: Will her self-knowledge overcome both her personal history and various social prejudices, so as to allow her to fall in love with – and say “yes” to – a really good man?

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Carmilla

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla is a Gothic novel by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu. It tells the story of a young woman’s susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Carmilla predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by over twenty years, had a strong influence on Stoker’s famous novel.

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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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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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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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Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd is an 2015 romantic drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, and Juno Temple.

Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel and offers Hardy’s growing taste for tragedy. The book features an independent woman with the courage to defy convention. Although Bathsheba’s passionate nature leads her into serious errors of judgment, Hardy endows her with sufficient resilience, intelligence, and good luck to overcome her youthful folly.

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Bel Ami

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Though firmly set in 1880s Paris, Maupassant’s gripping story of an amoral journalist on the make could, with only slight modifications of detail, be updated to the 1960s, to the Reagan-Thatcher years, or maybe to the present day. Anti-hero Georges Duroy is a down-at-heel ex-soldier of no particular talent. Good-looking but somewhat lacking in self-confidence, he discovers an ability to control and exploit women – whereupon his career in journalism takes off, fuelled by the corruption of colleagues and government arrivistes. He may be a provincial Don Juan, but he is neither accident-prone nor heading for a fall.

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Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts

Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts by Henry James

Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts by Henry James

Daisy Miller is a novella by Henry James. It portrays the confused courtship of the eponymous American girl by Winterbourne, a compatriot of hers with much more sophistication. His pursuit of her is hampered by her own flirtatiousness, which is frowned upon by the other expatriates they meet in Switzerland and Italy. Her lack of understanding of the social mores of the society she so desperately wishes to enter ultimately leads to tragedy.

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Hints for Lovers

Hints for Lovers by T. Arnold Haultain

Hints for Lovers by T. Arnold Haultain

“Hints for Lovers” is a thorough analysis of relationships between men and women, about everything that lovers should know, and delves deep into the psychology of men and women, and the philosophy of courtship, engagement, kissing, making love, marriage, etc, in a light-hearted tone, with refreshing humor.

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