Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe: Classic Breaking Eighteenth-Century Moulds

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Classics
Synopsis:

“I am giving an account of what was, not of what ought or ought not to be.”

If she’s to get on in the world, Moll Flanders must rely only on her own wit, toughness and experience. And, as one misfortune after another is thrown her way, that’s precisely what she intends to do… Continue reading Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe: Classic Breaking Eighteenth-Century Moulds

The Last Man by Mary Shelley Book Cover Image

The Last Man by Mary Shelley: Bleakly Imaginative Dystopian

Rating: 2.5 stars

Category: Classics, Dystopian

Synopsis: In an England of the future, Lionel Verney is a poor shepherd boy when he is befriended by Adrian, Earl of Windsor and Raymond, a favoured candidate for the Lord Protectorship – the pinnacle of political achievement.

Lionel is soon moving in the same circles as the most powerful, wealthy and intellectual men in the world. Yet this Romantic paradise of virtue and conversation is under threat when a plague begins to decimate the world’s population, and Lionel is helpless to protect all that he has come to treasure of life’s riches. Continue reading The Last Man by Mary Shelley: Bleakly Imaginative Dystopian

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Book Cover Image

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: Psychologically Driven Classic

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Classics, Historical Fiction

Synopsis: Hester Prynne’s husband is missing, presumed dead. Most believe he drowned on the voyage from Amsterdam to join her in New England. Yet getting pregnant out of wedlock is still enough to earn Hester a lifelong punishment – wearing the scarlet letter ‘A’ embroidered on her clothing so her shame can never be forgotten.

Cast to the margins of her Puritan village community, Hester lives in solitude and tries to raise her daughter Pearl away from prying eyes. When a newcomer to the village brings old secrets, she is forced to choose between a life of piety and redemption, or following her perilously taboo passions. Continue reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: Psychologically Driven Classic

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Classics Book Cover Image

Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Classic Pastoral Tale with a Hint of Proto-Feminism

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Classics

Synopsis:

When John Durbeyfield learns that he is descended from a grand ancient lineage known as the d’Urbervilles, he sends his daughter Tess to their nearest relations in the hope of claiming kin and improving his family’s prospects. As the family sinks ever-further into poverty, she is only too aware of the keen urgency of her mission.

However, Tess knows nothing of the world outside her village, or the attention she draws by nature of her youth and beauty. Her experiences at the d’Urberville house will leave her torn between preserving secrecy – and her reputation – or risking honesty with the people she loves most. Continue reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Classic Pastoral Tale with a Hint of Proto-Feminism

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne Book Cover Image

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne: Ultimate Survival Guide (+ free chapter summary cheat sheet)

Should you ever be forced to read this book, or feel some masochistic urge to, I’ve included a free chapter-by-chapter summary sheet in solidarity with my fellow sufferers. Also, to lessen the pain slightly, this list of funny 1* Goodreads reviews will remind you that you’re not alone in this epic, frustrating endeavour. May the odds be ever in your favour. Continue reading The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne: Ultimate Survival Guide (+ free chapter summary cheat sheet)

Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare Book Cover Image

Questioning the Canon: William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton

Questioning the Canon is a new feature in which I hope to bring to light lesser-known books about a certain issue, which can be read alongside or instead of infamous ‘classics’.

People are starting to discuss whether the authors we hold up as cultural icons – Shakespeare, Dickens, Wordsworth – should be accompanied by previously marginalised writers. Our idea of what constitutes ‘great literature’ is becoming broader. 

This can only be a good thing, as it means more diversity and social representation in what we read! Continue reading Questioning the Canon: William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton

oscar wilde the picture of dorian gray book cover image

Archive Nostalgia: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

As Halloween creeps ever closer, I have dug up my spookiest book review from the archival crypt…

Dorian Gray is a beautiful, striking young man – the darling of London society. When a friend paints his uncannily lifelike portrait, Dorian is struck by a moment of vanity and fear. In terror of age and degradation, he strikes a bargain that will allow him to remain in youthful beauty forever. Only the cherished portrait will bear the marks of age, excess and sin.  Continue reading Archive Nostalgia: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie Book Cover Image

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: The Mother of All Plot Twists!

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Crime Fiction, Classics, Mystery/Adventure

Synopsis: Shortly after confessing to a close friend that she is being blackmailed, Mrs Ferrars is found dead: the police conclude it was suicide. The case takes a much darker turn when that same friend is found murdered in his own study.

An unassuming newcomer to the village seems the last person the police will call upon for help. He spends his days fondly tending a vegetable patch. However, this newcomer is not your average hobbyist gardener, but a retired detective going by the name of Hercule Poirot… Continue reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: The Mother of All Plot Twists!

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins Book Cover Image

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: Clever, Tightly Plotted Mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Crime Fiction, Classics, Mystery/Adventure

Synopsis: A diamond is stolen from one of the most sacred shrines in India. A young lady receives an extravagant birthday present in the will of her deceased Uncle. A London philanthropist is attacked in what seems to be a case of mistaken identity.

Connecting all of these events is the superstition surrounding the diamond: that it will leave a trail of blood in the lives of all those in possession of it. As inexplicable events plague the family holding the mysterious heirloom, Franklin Blake seeks to record witness testimonies and find a rational cause for the occurrences.

The family and their connections each contribute their version of events, but suspicions are rife and nobody knows who to trust. Not even the reader… Continue reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: Clever, Tightly Plotted Mystery

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle Book Cover Image

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5) by Arthur Conan Doyle: Suspenseful Crime Fiction Classic

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Crime Fiction, Classics, Mystery/Adventure

Synopsis: Sir Charles Baskerville confesses to a close friend that he feels haunted by his family history. According to legend, his cruel ancestor Hugo Baskerville received recompense in the form of a hell-hound set loose on the moors to hunt him down.

A few days later, Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in his garden at the edge of the moor. There is only one detective who can separate fact from folklore in this case: his name is Sherlock Holmes. Continue reading The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5) by Arthur Conan Doyle: Suspenseful Crime Fiction Classic