Books shelved under “Victorian Fiction”

22 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Middlemarch

    Middlemarch

    by George Eliot

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I first read and reviewed Middlemarch in 2009, so you can read my first review if you like. This review will reiterate some of the points of my earlier review, but enough time has passed and I have changed enough that I definitely took different things from this book this time. Nevertheless, still a classic and a masterpiece.

    Middlemarch is a sublime example of Victorian authors recognizing and attempting to chronicle a disappearing lifestyle. Eliot…

  2. Book cover for Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    by Emily Brontë

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I previously read Wuthering Heights over 10 years ago, and I might not ever have revisited it until my pal Julie roped me into a re-read. You can read her review here. Our reactions are quite different, although I think we share many observations about the nature of the story and its legacy.

    First, as always, a quick plot summary: the year is 1801 and a dandy gentleman named Mr. Lockwood shows up…

  3. Book cover for A Laodicean

    A Laodicean

    by Thomas Hardy

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There’s a particular pleasure that comes with having read so much of an author’s oeuvre that you find yourself reaching deep into the back catalogue for new experiences. I love reading the less-celebrated or more obscure works by a famous author. Sometimes they are less-celebrated and more obscure for good reason! Sometimes, though, as with A Laodicean, they turn out to be undiscovered treasures!

    I picked up this used copy at the same time…

  4. Book cover for Jude the Obscure

    Jude the Obscure

    by Thomas Hardy

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Nine years ago I listened to Jude the Obscure as a free LibriVox audiobook (I love LibriVox!), mostly while cycling to and from my summer job at an art gallery. This was not my first Hardy (I had read The Mayor of Casterbridge for my first year of university), but obviously as his last novel, Jude the Obscure has a special place in Hardy’s canon.

    I quite like my original review, if I do say…

  5. Book cover for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    by Anne Brontë

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I went into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall conjecturing that Anne Brontë would prove to be the underrated sister, and my conjecture was right. Although I love and appreciate Jane Eyre, and I can see why others love and appreciate Wuthering Heights, where is the love for Anne? Charlotte and Emily get to become household names, more or less, their most famous works easily recognizable even by people who will never read them.…

  6. Book cover for The Return Of The Native

    The Return Of The Native

    by Thomas Hardy

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m not sure Thomas Hardy knows what love is. Or maybe I don’t know what love is. Does anyone know what love is? Haddaway has been zero help, by the way.

    If I was worried I’ve been ploughing through Hardy’s novels too fast, I shouldn’t be: my last review was over a year ago! Time to rectify that! It’s also a nice break from the YA/SF-heavy binge I’ve been on (and to which I…

  7. Book cover for Felix Holt

    Felix Holt: The Radical

    by George Eliot

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I make no secret of the fact that I think George Eliot is a literary badass, and Felix Holt: The Radical is just the latest example of these well-deserved credentials. This is essentially a political and legal thriller set in 1832 England on the cusp of the passage of the First Reform Act. (Among other things, the Reform Acts of the 1800s redefined the electoral districts for the English Parliament and expanded the franchise ever…

  8. Book cover for Far from the Madding Crowd

    Far from the Madding Crowd

    by Thomas Hardy

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I learned I’d prefer to save my Hardy reading for the summer. There is nothing better than being able to read Hardy outside in summer, when the warmth and greenery makes it easier to imagine the bucolic setting of the Wessex novels. Plus, having the day available for reading allows me to sink my teeth into novels like Far from the Madding Crowd, which are meant to be read in big gulps rather than…

  9. Book cover for Daniel Deronda

    Daniel Deronda

    by George Eliot

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Last year around this time, I read Adam Bede, George Eliot’s first novel. It’s fitting that when I was rummaging around my to-read box, I found Daniel Deronda, Eliot’s last novel. I wanted a meaty, socially-conscious novel with a diverse cast of well-realized characters. Eliot does not disappoint, and Daniel Deronda captivated me to the point that I began scribbling some notes in the margins of my lovely used copy.

    I love George…

  10. Book cover for Under the Greenwood Tree

    Under the Greenwood Tree: Or the Mellstock Quire: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School

    by Thomas Hardy

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Another somewhat well-preserved Penguin Classics paperback of Hardy, this time acquired not in a used bookstore abroad but taken abroad after receiving it as a gift from someone who went to a used bookstore. The very slimness that signals its brevity also makes it quite attractive as a travel book. Since it’s Hardy, I knew I would be in for a treat, for prose that is both readable and poetic, for characters who are truly…

  11. Book cover for Dracula

    Dracula

    by Bram Stoker

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I enjoyed NBC’s new Dracula series an inordinate amount. It was a fun, thrilling experience of storytelling and characterization. And it got me thinking that, despite happily watching various adaptations over the years, I’ve never actually read the original novel. What with it being public domain and all, I put the Project Gutenberg edition on my tablet and sat back to see how the original stacks up to its adaptations.

    (If you haven’t already, you…

  12. Book cover for Adam Bede

    Adam Bede

    by George Eliot

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So far I’ve been reading George Eliot’s work in a reverse-chronological order. For my third experience I’ve chosen Adam Bede, her first novel. I didn’t realize this until I read the introduction after finishing the book. In hindsight, I can see how her style is less polished than her later works; however, at the time, I was captivated by all the hallmarks of Eliot’s writing that make her my favourite Victorian novelist.

    The plot…

  13. Book cover for The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror

    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This one of those tales that have percolated down through culture but that most of us have never actually read. I assigned it as a short reading assignment for my sixth form English class, something we could cut our teeth on while we start looking at the possibilities for texts to study this year. They were all familiar with the general idea, though I was surprised to find out that one of them was surprised…

  14. Book cover for The Woodlanders

    The Woodlanders

    by Thomas Hardy

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My mad love affair with the work of Thomas Hardy deepens and continues with The Woodlanders, the latest of his novels to grace my shelves. I found this well-preserved Penguin Classics paperback in a used book shop in Edinburgh for £2. I bought it (and a few other books) more so I could say I bought some books from a used bookstore in Scotland than for any other reason. But Hardy is one of…

  15. Book cover for A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    by Charles Dickens

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Some stories are so popular they have permeated culture to the point where almost everyone knows them, even if they haven’t so much as glanced at the source material. Such is the case with A Christmas Carol, which has inspired numerous adaptations in every medium imaginable. As a result, Ebeneezer Scrooge is a household name, and the basic plot of A Christmas Carol is a familiar one. The source material, however, is well worth…

  16. Book cover for Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    by Charlotte Brontë

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m sharing an AS Level (sixth form) literature class this year, and the other teacher wanted to use Jane Eyre as the core prose text. (This whole teaching professionally thing is also why I haven’t reviewed much lately! Working on it!) So I’m re-reading this after several years—and it has been several years too many! My opinion of Jane Eyre has improved—and it was pretty high to begin with. While I’m not quite ready to…

  17. Book cover for Tess of the D'Urbervilles

    Tess of the D'Urbervilles

    by Thomas Hardy

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Thomas Hardy knows where it’s at. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is not only one of the best books I’ve read this year but one of the best books I’ve ever read. My previous outings with Hardy convinced me of his skill as a writer; this book cements him as truly deserving classic status. Hardy is one of those writers whose pointed social commentary dovetails precisely with his plot and characterization. He doesn’t have to sacrifice…

  18. Book cover for Bleak House

    Bleak House

    by Charles Dickens

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Second review: October 2019

    It has been many a year since I first read Bleak House! So much has happened. I moved, then came back, from the very country whence Dickens hails. I bought a house, which I still have. I did not get involved in protracted Chancery suits.

    For the past year I've had The Pickwick Papers on my shelf, and I keep picking it up and then putting it down after a…

  19. Book cover for The Mill on the Floss

    The Mill on the Floss

    by George Eliot

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    (Psst, hey, you. Yeah, you, reading this review. I re-read this in January 2018. The below review still stands, but you might want to check out my new thoughts too! OK, that’s it. Back to reading this review.)

    It has been over two years since I read Middlemarch, a novel that propelled George Eliot to near the top of my list of favourite authors. With a keen wit and a deft pen, Eliot…

  20. Book cover for Middlemarch

    Middlemarch

    by George Eliot

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book blew me away. Forget Jane Austen or any of the Brontë sisters. I found Pride and Prejudice tolerable and liked Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, but they are nothing compared to the scope and genius of Middlemarch. George Eliot has given Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens a run for their money, and I think Middlemarch has won the title of My Favourite Victorian Novel. (Editor's note: Since writing this…

  21. Book cover for Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    by Charlotte Brontë

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A thoroughly enjoyable book. It's easy to become disenchanted with Victorian literature, mostly because that culture is so far removed from our own. Jane Eyre is more refined than Pride and Prejudice (which I found only tolerable). Fortunately, Charlotte Brontë is a superior writer to Jane Austen, and Jane Eyre is a great novel in its own right.

    The eponymous heroine is likable. She tends toward the melodramatic when speaking of her struggles, and at…

  22. Book cover for Two on a Tower

    Two on a Tower

    by Thomas Hardy

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As with most romances and much Victorian fiction, I felt a considerable burden lifted from me after I finished Two on a Tower. Yet I can't help but feel regret that it's over so quickly. Although not my favourite genre, Thomas Hardy is skilled enough to draw me into the lives of these two people and make me sympathize with their plight.

    Even as I struggled with my distaste for the idiosyncrasies of Victorian…