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Spring Reading: Classic Romance

Some books are just meant to be read in spring. Young lovers, grand sweeping meadows, tea parties… I can’t think of a better way to celebrate such a delightful season!

Some I’ve read, some are on my TBR list. Either way, these novels are rich stories sure to entertain and inspire your next spring outing.

What’s on your Spring Reading List?

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Far From the Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy

Bathsheba Everdene has inherited a farm from her Uncle. Once there, she is bombarded by suitors: a neighbor gentleman-farmer, a dashing young soldier, and the always faithful shepherd, Gabriel Oak. Ah Gabriel. Move over Mr. Darcy, this is the romantic hero we’ve all been dreaming of. No matter how many times Bathsheba rejects his offers, he is always there to help keep the farm afloat and shoulder her tears turn after turn, heartbreak after heartbreak.

Far From the Madding Crowd is my favorite novel by Thomas Hardy, lacking the tragic ending of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, but none of the passion. Bonus: a film version was released last spring staring Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts. This might be one of the few film adaptations that is just as good as the book!

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After Alice
by Gregory Maguire

Alice in Wonderland is my natural go-to in the spring. I can’t think of a novel more perfect for the spring: tea parties in the garden, beautiful flowers, butterflies coming to life…

In After Alice, the classic story is brought back to life as Alice’s naive neighbor and friend, Ada, unexpectedly follows Alice into the rabbit hole. There, Ada meets the expected cast of characters who do their best to perplex her and push her logic to the limits with their unpredictable rules and puns. It’s a delightful read for any Alice fans, and definitely lives up to its predecessor.

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A Room with a View
by E. M. Forster

Set in the Edwardian era in England, A Room with a View follows young Lucy Honeychurch’s travels to Italy as she navigates the constraints of societal pressures. Should she marry Cecil, the epitome of the English gentleman? Or will she break the molds for the crass, but amiable, George Emerson?

Whatever her choice, this novel is sure to please as readers follow Miss Honeychurch from Florence, Italy to the English countryside. Bonus: there’s also a film adaptation staring Helena Bonham Carter!

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The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert

Really? Elizabeth Gilbert? Haven’t we had enough of her pretentiousness in Eat, Pray, Love? Yes! But give this novel a chance. I promise it will change your mind about this author!

In The Signature of All Things Gilbert proves herself as a writer, she is a true story teller and a mastermind of plot twists. The novel follows the life of Alma Whittaker from her enriched childhood to her groundbreaking explorations in botany to her failed relationships, spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and across continents. Though a slow starter, the pages reveal a grand sweeping tale of discovery and raw emotions as Alma travels the world to uncover the secrets of the universe.

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Stardust
by Neil Gaiman

I’m next in line for my library’s copy of Stardust, but I don’t know if I can wait that long! I’ve seen the film many times and only recently discovered it was a book first ( I don’t know how I missed it!). I’ve always wanted to read something by Neil Gaiman, a master storyteller from what I’ve heard, and Stardust is sure to be a favorite for the ages.

From Goodreads: “Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords ships that sail in the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.”

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Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
by Curtis Sittenfield

 Another go-to in the spring is, of course, Pride and Prejudice! After reading the novel several times now, I’m very excited to try out Sittenfield’s modern version. Her two earlier novels, Prep and The Man of My Dreams, were some of my favorite novels in high school, and the fact that they are still memorable to me now, years later, is a testament to her skill. What sets her apart, I believe, is her ability to expose her characters to unnerving circumstances resulting in both insightful and relatable growth in their development and a deep examination of our personal choices and their immediate effect. I can’t wait to see how she incorporates these studies in her modern retelling of the romantic drama. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for its release on April 19th to find out!

From Amazon: “This version of the Bennet family – and Mr. Darcy – is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help – and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray…”

 

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