A Classic Roundup: Some of my favourites

Hello lovely book lovers,

So by now you’ll have heard the news that our all singing, all dancing Book Box Club website will go live in one week (yes, one week!) Get ready to sign up folks! We only have a limited number of boxes available. Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement so far. The online book community is such a lovely welcoming one and we feel so happy to be a part of it.

Now that we have all the ‘exciting announcement’ stuff out of the way, lets talk about books. Classics, to be exact.

Now, I’m a sucker for any kind of period drama. My long suffering boyfriend will testify to this. Whenever a new series comes on Netflix or there is the faint whiff of a silk skirt on the BBC I get a little over excited and tend to record everything! I have loved history since I was a bookish child requesting history tomes for my sixth birthday and I still do but now it comes in the form of Aiden Turner, with his scythe. Poldark lovers will know what I mean!

In between six year old history me and twenty-something historical romp me, I have read a whole lot of classics, searching for the perfect blend of atmosphere, character and beautiful writing that so many have in varying degrees. So here are some of my favourites…

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Tess of the D’Urbervilles

This one seems to be controversial. I didn’t read this during an English class, which is one reason why I think that I loved it so much. It was one of the first Classics I read just for the sheer enjoyment of it. I must have been seventeen and dreaming of a life of romantic adventure! I have since read lots more Thomas Hardy but Tess will always have a place in my heart. Those scenes on the dairy farm where she stumbles awake in the pre-dawn light and goes to milk the cows, kneeling in the dew. It’s all so romantic and beautiful. Angel is a heart throb too…until it all goes so horribly wrong.

I’ve spoken to many people who have an issue with the character of Tess, saying she is weak and wimpy. I beg to differ; she is very much of her time (1892 to be exact), when women had very little sexual freedom and she reacts realistically to the constantly horrible events in her life. I love her. I love the descriptions of the countryside and rural life and I love the conclusion. Even if lots of people will disagree with me there too!

If any of you out there haven’t read any Thomas Hardy, I urge you to. Take a copy of Tess with you on holiday to the country. Read it with grass between your toes, wind in your hair and the sun warm on your face.

 

Jane Eyre

Is to call Jane Eyre one of my favourite classics a cliché? Maybe. Do I care? No. The reason why book lovers always have a battered copy of Jane Eyre of their favourite shelf is because it’s just that good! It’s the perfect coming of age story and Jane makes for a brilliant heroine. She’s plain but witty and wilful; definitely someone my teenage self identified with.

I never did get on board with any Jane Austen books; I tried with them quite a few times but found them a bit…prissy? I’m sorry if that offends you all. Please do let me know if you have a favourite Jane Austen book that will change my mind. I am very open to having my mind changed on this topic. One of the things I love most about Jane Eyre is that it’s so much more than a romance. Mr Rochester, although, one of the best romantic heroes, is definitely not charming or handsome or sparkly vampire. The characters in this book are well-rounded and real. Plus the dark atmosphere and spooky noises in the night make for great gothic fireside reading.

 

Daphne Du Maurier

People who know me may have heard me harp on about Daphne Du Maurier before. I do. A lot. Whether her books count as classics as they weren’t written until much later than the Victorian canon (Du Mau was writing prolifically in the 1930s, 40s and 50s). To me they will always be favourites! I love Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, The Parasites and My Cousin Rachel; they have so much atmosphere and adventure. I think my mum gave me an old battered copy of Jamaica Inn on a family holiday to Cornwall and after devouring the story of smugglers hiding out over the weather beaten moors  I went on to read anything else I could get my hands on.  I love how her novels have a dark edge, you know from the beginning that there is certain to be something sinister going on behind the scenes. Daphne Du Maurier is a master of mysterious beginnings and shock twist endings. Who remembers the final scene in Rebecca? It must be one of the most memorable book moments of my life! And I’ve had loads! Please read any of the above books and let me know what you think. I’m thinking about doing a mass Du Maurier reread on my holiday!

I hope you guys enjoyed my mini list of favourites. Does anyone out there have any favourite classics? Do you disagree with my list completely? Do my comments about Jane Austen offend you so much that we can no longer be friends? Do you know when season two of Poldark will be back on our screens? All very important questions can be answered in the comments below or via our social media places; Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I’m very serious about that last one!

I hope your weekend is filled with as much romance and adventure as the books mentioned above.

Lots of love,

Libby

xx

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