Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Elizabeth Bennet, the playful and feisty protagonist, meets and is immediately insulted by the aloof and unfriendly Mr. Darcy. The two trade witty repartee on multiple occasions, and Darcy eventually falls for Lizzie’s intelligence and wit. Lizzie continues to be prejudiced against him and rejects his affections. After a series of events that display Darcy’s kind and compassionate nature, however, Lizzie realizes that she’s been too proud and prejudiced herself, and she and Darcy are happily united. This novel is sure to warm your heart and tickle your wit. 🙂
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre is a classic gothic romance, so it has many dark and creepy elements, but it’s also deeply rooted in love and faith. Jane is an abused orphan-turned-governess working at Thornfield Hall. While there, she meets and falls in love with the moody master of the house, Mr. Rochester. Their relationship isn’t easy, and mysterious circumstances occur — fires, a secret wife, lunacy, oh my! — that force Jane to leave Thornfield, despite her love for Rochester. After some seriously traumatic experiences, the two are happily married. Hooray for true love!
North and South is like a version Pride and Prejudice that takes place during the industrial revolution in England. Margaret Hale, a minister’s daughter from the South, moves to Milton, in the North of England. While there, she meets John Thornton, a cotton mill manufacturer, and befriends several workers in his factory. She dislikes Thornton, thinking he’s cruel and cold, while he thinks she is indifferent. The two clash about the working conditions in Thornton’s factory, but ultimately overcome their differences and fall in love.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Set in Georgia during the American Civil War, Gone with the Wind is one of the most iconic American romances. It follows Scarlett O’Hara, an impulsive, spoiled, and selfish Southern belle as she tries to scheme her way into Ashley Wilkes’ heart. She pursues him for years, but he never returns her affections and she ends up marrying three different guys. The last of those is Rhett Butler, an older, wealthy, semi-disgraced bachelor who accepts and encourages Scarlett’s tempestuous nature. The two have a roller coaster relationship, and Rhett ends up leaving Scarlett when he believes she can’t love him (and ironically when she realizes she actually does love him). The novel ends with her vowing to win him back. Talk about a dysfunctional relationship, huh?
Emma by Jane Austen
Emma, the titular character, is a meddlesome, but well intended matchmaker whose attempts at matchmaking create both trouble for her friends and for herself. She is unfortunately narrow-minded, and firmly believes that one must marry within one’s own station. Most of the novel is focused on her meddling and several failed romances, but she finally finds romance with her best friend, Mr. Knightly. (My favorite line is when Mr. Knightly confesses his secret love: “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” Um, romantic, am I right?)
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