Category: Classics

The Foundling, by Georgette Heyer

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Another of Heyer’s lovely tales, this one an adventure. The Duke of Sale is an unassuming 24-year-old who chafes under the strictures of his overbearing guardian and devoted servants, who seem to think he is still the child who caught cold too easily. So when he has the chance to solve a problem on his own, out from under the weight of his title, he jumps at it, leading to an almost madcap journey into the countryside, where Gilly finds out who he is as a man and not just a duke. A delightful read, filled with memorable characters and a hint of romance. Great fun for 14 and up, if they don’t mind the Austenesque prose.

 

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Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen

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First time I’ve returned to this book in a while, and it continues to bring joy with every reread. Hard to read it this time, though, without seeing Emma Thompson’s exceptional film adaptation of it in my mind. The story, for the uninitiated, revolves around sisters Elinor and Marianne, who along with the mother and younger sister, are forced out of their home to a small cottage in rural England. Both of them have, or soon find, young men that interest them, but it is ins and outs of these relationships, and the mutual support and affection the sisters have for each other that make this book a classic. The 200-year-old language is more formal than our own, but careful reading is rewarded with humor and the 19th-century equivalent of eye-rolls at some of the more amusing characters. A delight.

Buddenbrooks, by Thomas Mann

Translation of a classic German novel describing the life of one family from 1835 to 1875. It is a slow beginning for readers used to our jump-cut world, but it eventually pulled me into its tale of marriages, births, deaths, and life as it was lived in a world very foreign to mine. Mann’s depiction of his people rings true, and I found moments to identify with each of the characters. Descriptive and evocative, it is a microcosm of a world gone by.

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Perhaps my favorite of Austen’s novels, this one depicts Anne, still single and past marriageable age at 28, who learns when to honor your duty to your elders and when it’s finally time to choose love for yourself. Wonderful, wonderful. Recommended to all, particularly anyone who wants a second chance with their first love.

Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis

Written back in the 50s, this remains a delightful read, with parts that made me laugh out loud. The book is a fictional account, but was inspired by the author’s real-life aunt. The film with Rosalind Russell is much truer to the book than the later musical, but there are still parts that are new. The narration is done in first person by Patrick, Auntie Mame’s nephew, and his dry tone is great fun and brings a new perspective to those who only know the on-screen versions. Recommended.

So Big, by Edna Ferber

Terrific story of a woman and her son, and how their lives differ due to their outlook on life. Selina seems fit for finer things, yet she embraces the life of a farmer’s wife. Her son, So Big, has access to the finer things yet struggles to find the enjoyment of life that she does. The plot moves well, and the themes are underscored but not over-emphasized. Glad to be assigned this by my classic book club!