Agnes Grey is Anne Bronte's story about a governess, similar to her sister's work Jane Eyre in that both novels explore the social issues that a Victorian governess not only observes but becomes involved with. Agnes Grey was Anne's first novel.
In Beyond the City, the desire for money and romance drives the characters beyond the typical boundaries of their middle class Victorian lives. Lust, deceit, and financial scandals rock their placid world.
The Blithedale Romance is the third of the major novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Much of the action of the novel is set at Blithedale, a utopian socialist community that is founded upon anti-capitalist ideals, yet is destroyed by the self-interested behavior of its members.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a novel by Victor Hugo published in 1831. The title refers to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, around which the story is centered.
Jane Eyre is a classic novel by Charlotte Brontë which was published in 1847. Jane Eyre, an orphan, must find her own way in the world while learning about friendship, family, love, trust, societal roles--and how to deal with dark secrets.
Little Women concerns the lives and loves of four sisters growing up during the American Civil War. It was based on Alcott's own experiences as a child in Germantown, Pennsylvania with her three sisters, Anna, May, and Elizabeth.
The Professor was Charlotte Brontë's first novel, written before Jane Eyre but rejected by publishers until after her death. The book tells the story of a young man named William Crimsworth, from his formative years to his appointment as a teacher at an all-girls school. The story is based upon Brontë’s experiences in school.
Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw. It tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette.
The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850, is set in Puritan New England in the 17th century. Exploring the issues of grace, legalism, and guilt, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman who commits adultry then struggles to create a new life.
The Secret Garden (1909) is one of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s most popular novels. The book tells the story of Mary Lennox, a spoiled, contrary, solitary child raised in India but sent to live in her uncle’s manor in Yorkshire after her parents' death. She is left to herself by her uncle, Mr. Craven, who travels often to escape the memory of his deceased wife. The only person who has time for Mary is her chambermaid, Martha. It is Martha who tells Mary about Mrs. Craven's walled garden, which has been closed and locked since her death. Mary becomes intrigued by the prospect of the forgotten garden, and her quest to find out the garden's secrets leads her to discover other secrets hidden in the manor. These discoveries combined with the unlikely friendships she makes along the way help Mary come out of her shell and find new fascination with the world around her.
Sense and Sensibility is a novel of manners and societal expectations. The story concerns two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood (Elinor representing “sense” and Marianne “sensibility”). Along with their mother and younger sister Margaret, they are left impoverished after the death of their father. The family is forced to move to a country cottage, offered to them by a generous relative. Before the move, Elinor forms an attachment to Edward Ferrars, and after the move, Marianne forms one for John Willoughby. These attachments lead to problems both personally and socially, and they must learn important lessons about themselves before resolutions can occur.
The novel was published in 1811 and was the first of Austen's works to be published, although it was originally printed under the pseudonym "A Lady."
Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel. The story is told in layers, a format that has earned the novel much praise despite initial mixed reviews. It is the story of Catherine and Heathcliff and how their unresolved passion eventually destroys them both.