And I think they are relevant here, on a contemporary blog, because most of these were not written as historical fiction (not that we don’t love historical fiction), but were cutting-edge works that often pushed the boundaries of both storytelling, setting and character. In fact, Jane Eyre is accredited for single-handedly ushering in the more emotional, character-focused novel. Today we’d call it “literary fiction.”
Here are some I’ve been reading lately:
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. This is an absolute favorite of mine and I’m using for research for the my next novel.
Jane is a fascinating character – full of change, passion and vulnerability. But it’s Bronte’s secondary characters, such as Rochester and St. John, who keep me coming back again and again.
Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Yes, I know I make some allusions to this one in Lizzy & Jane so you’d think I would have had enough of it; but Austen is brilliant at laying out a huge character struggle within a single line. There is such pressure on Anne Elliot, the main character, that I keep revisiting her story to find out how Austen made me feel all the tension without spoon-feeding it to me.
What are some of your favorites?
Or do you read Classics at all?
I’d love to know what you think and what’s on your bedside table these days…