As those of you who follow my Instagram now know, I’m in London for the next week! I’m so excited to be going back to the homeland – my mother’s family is from Scotland and northern England. London is one of my favourite cities in the world, and I’m super excited to spend the next week wandering through my favourite museums and buying way too much at Primark. Due to the fact that I’m away, I’ve lined up my blog posts so you should get a new post once every couple of days. I’ll be back in August to do my London book haul and to tell you what I’ve read since I’ve left!
You’re probably wondering by now what I mean titling this post “My Favourite Books – England.” Simply put, because I’m in England for the next week, I thought I’d share my favourite books that take place around England or were written by an English author. You’ll see the book cover, the description and then a wee blurb about why I love the book so much.
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.’
Pride and Prejudice has been one of my favourite books for years. My introduction to the book was through the 1995 BBC mini-series, which my parents showed me when I was 10. The story of Elizabeth Bennet, an intelligent and headstrong young woman who loves to read, and her sisters is one of the best representations of Victorian life in England. The book deals fantastically with social standing, class structure, having to make an advantageous marriage, and societies view on independent and free thinking women.
2. Harry Potter, series by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason … HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!
If you haven’t read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, you are severely missing out. Also, you may have been living under a rock. This entire series affected my view on life, and how someone should live it. These books teach empathy, understanding, and hope. And the idea that one person can change the world. I love these books and the quirky characters, Luna Lovegood being my favourite. This is a must read series.
3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Only read this book if you want your heart destroyed, The Fault in Our Stars style. I loved this book so much, and then seeing it as a movie afterward destroyed me. Between me and my friend, we went through a whole box of tissues in the theatre. This book is a beautiful love story, and once again features a young woman who doesn’t care to fit in with the rest. I absolutely loved it.
4. The Infernal Devices, series by Cassandra Clare
Prequel series to The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
Sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother. Her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
This book series is one of my absolute favourites. Originally, I had only read The Mortal Instruments, but holy moly is this fantastic. Reading about Tessa, Will and Jem; seeing their stories continue… I’m obsessed. These are fantastic. If you’d like to read my review for Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, or Clockwork Princess, click the title!
5. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
“I would be content, ay, glad, to live with you as your servant, if I may not as your wife; so that I could only be near you, and get glimpses of you, and think of you as mine … I long for only one thing in heaven or earth or under the earth, to meet you, my own dear! Come to me – come to me, and save me from what threatens me!”
When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D’Urbervilles is one of the most moving and poetic of Hardy’s novels.
This book is one of my favourite “classic” novels. It tells the story of a wonderful young girl who is caught in the worst sort of situation, dealing with sexual assault and the outcome of the horror’s she experienced. The book is beautiful and heartbreaking; the mini series is even more so. This is a must read.
6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family’s meager income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favorite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.
With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge’s eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warmhearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England’s greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.
I know, I know. Super cheesy and it’s the end of July but I love this story. A story about how when reaching the end of their days, people could look back on how they’ve treated others. I think it’s a beautiful story that should re-instill faith in humanity. It’s worth reading, any time of the year.
7. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
I’m still in the process of reading this book and I LOVE IT. I’m so ready for book two and I’m not even done reading book one. This is going to be one of my favourites, I can feel it!