Pride and prejudice
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
I Capture the Castle
'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink...'
This is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, which tells of her extraordinary family and their crumbling castle home. Cassandra's father was once a famous writer, but now he mainly reads detective novels while his family slide into genteel poverty. Her sister Rose is bored and beautiful, and desperate to marry riches. Their step-mother Topaz has habit of striding through the countryside wearing only her wellington boots. But all their lives will be soon be transformed by the arrival of new neighbours from America, and Cassandra finds herself falling in love...
BACKSTORY: Get to know Dodie Smith, and be inspired to keep your own diary!
Juno and Juliet
A perfect slice of page-turning, intelligent escapism - a romantic comedy with a positively Shakespearean comic ending.
`Juno & Juliet' has twin blonde sisters, eighteen, arriving at university in Galway from their Tipperary home (and going back home for a classic drunken Christmas holiday reunion with their schoolmates), and sets each off on a romantic odyssey...
`Juno & Juliet' is a lovely, cheering entertainment, drenched in goodwill and romance. It has star-cross'd lovers, dire student drama, bad acid trips, amusing musings on the New Ireland, excruciating family dinners, a stalker, poison-pen letters; all sorts. Above all, it's a happy book, with an unashamedly happy ending.
Heidi is the heart-warming tale of a small girl's power for good, and it has remained a firm favourite since it was published over 100 years ago. It has been filmed and televised several times.
It tells of the orphan Heidi and her idyllic existence with her gruff grandfather in the mountains. When she is sent to live in a city, comic chaos ensues, and eventually it is arranged that Heidi should return to the mountains. Together she and her friend Peter, the goat-herd, achieve wondrous changes in the community in which they live.
Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury.
Middlemarch is a complex tale of idealism, disillusion, profligacy, loyalty and frustrated love. This penetrating analysis of the life of an English provincial town during the time of social unrest prior to the Reform Bill of 1832 is told through the lives of Dorothea Brooke and Dr Tertius Lydgate and includes a host of other paradigm characters who illuminate the condition of English life in the mid-nineteenth century.
Henry James described Middlemarch as a `treasurehouse of detail' while Virginia Woolf famously endorsed George Eliot's masterpiece as `one of the few English novels written for grown-up people.