(by guest blogger Cassie)
Summertime is a beautiful season and what better way to spend it than sitting back in the sunshine with a good book. There are hundreds of summer reading lists out there, but for fans of Jane Austen and classic literature, we’ve compiled five incredible stories that are bound to tickle your fancy.
They are all easily purchasable for Amazon's Kindle, making them perfect to take away with you. However, particularly if you're buying while abroad, it's wise to make sure you're using the right tools to keep your details. Check out this post by Secure Thoughts on Kindle security for more information.
Ready for some recommendations?
1. North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell
This fantastic social commentary uses the British North/South divide as a catalyst to explore differences of opinion between the working poor and the wealthy mill owners. Set in a fictional version of industrialized Manchester—named Milton—in the nineteenth century, it follows Margaret Hale as she is forced to leave her tranquil, rural southern home for the din and drama of city life.
Truly depicted as the heroine of the novel, Margaret forms an allegiance with the downtrodden workers and comes to heated blows with the factory owners. It uses her naïve perspective to discuss the social situation of the time and, as her understanding develops, addresses the ethics of life during the industrial revolution.
2. The Tenant Of Windfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Anne was the youngest and least well-known of the Brontë sisters, only releasing two novels before her death at just 29 years of age. However her final book, “The Tenant of Windfell Hall” is largely considered to be of the first true feminist pieces of literature ever written.
The story is told through a series of letters passed between a man named Gilbert Markham and his brother-in-law. In the writing, he discusses how a mysterious young woman arrived in his village, along with son and servant, and had immediately been vilified by local people. Befriending the girl, he gains access to her diaries and discovers she has fled from an abusive husband. As this act broke both the social convention of the time and the law, this book is hailed as the most controversial work from the Brontë sisters and is a truly historical read.
3. Belinda, by Maria Edgeworth
This novel by Irish author Maria Edgeworth was wonderfully ahead of its time when it was released in 1801. Exploring the idea of interracial marriage, it was so controversial that it had to be heavily edited for the third edition in 1810.
The story follows the title's namesake, Belinda, and is centered around her relationship with Lady Delacour, whom she is sent to live with by her impatient aunt. Struggling with bad health and fighting with suspicions around Belinda’s romantic interest in her husband, Lady Delacour struggles to hide her distress under wit and charm. The early versions see Belinda almost marry a West Indian man, and a minor English character betrothed to a plantation worker. However, these sections are reduced in the later editions.
4. Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope
Often referred to as the male Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope was a prolific nineteenth-century writer, whose best work—“The Chronicles of Barsetshire”—focuses on the relationship between the aristocracy and the church in a fictional county of the same name. Barchester Towers is the second in the series but by far the most well-known.
It follows the disruption of the quiet diocese of Barchester when an evangelist bishop and team arrive with the hopes of gaining control. Tempers flare as the genetic successor of the last bishop also declares his bid for the see. The latter has the backing of the people, however, owing to the new political landscape, the law might not lean in his favor. This truly gripping tale can be enjoyed with reading its prequel; however, if you want to read the Warden first, then it can be purchased here.
5. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentlemen, by Pamela Aidan
Depending on your opinion of sequels to classic novels, you will either love or hate this trilogy by modern author Pamela Aidan. The basic premise of the series looks at re-telling large parts of Jane Austen’s famed novel “Pride & Prejudice" from the perspective of Mr. Darcy instead.
Separated into three installments, it puts particular focus on looking at the male perspective of his flourishing relationship with Elizabeth Bennet, from whose perspective the original story was told. Book one covers his first visit to Herefordshire; the second looks at the period in which he was absent during Austen's original version, and the final covers the last chapters of the original novel. There’s so much great content here that it will keep even the most avid reader busy.
These beautiful works of literature are some of our favorite for whiling away the summer days, but we'd love to hear yours. Leave a comment below if you have any ideas to share!
Cassie is an entertainment blogger for Culture Coverage and a lifelong reader. Raised on the classics, she loves to share her favorite reads with people and is always scouring the internet to find something new.