10 Classics I Recently Read: Alcott, du Maurier, Wyndham! (#4)

Instead of writing individual reviews for all of the books I read this year, I thought I’d do some reading wrap-ups throughout the year. I’m loving reading the classics lately and have brought 10 of my most recently read classics here to share with you. Read my thoughts and let me know what you think about these books in the comments!

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

When I had gone on a classics-buying spree, I had to get this modern classic by John Wyndham because it just sounded so good! A whole town wakes up blind, except for one man who wakes up blindfolded in a hospital. All of civilization is in chaos and the story takes off from there. This was a very different horror story and one that I really enjoyed reading. I don’t read a lot of science fiction, let alone classic science fiction, so it was kind of a treat to love yet another one of Wyndham’s works. I can’t wait to pick something else by him!

Mariana by Monica Dickens

Oh my goodness, this book. This was such a quiet beauty of a book written by the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. At the beginning of the story, we meet Mary in the present, and then we go back to her past to see how she grew up. It was such a beautiful coming of age story that I looked forward to reading whenever I picked it up, but it was the end that solidified this story for me. I was already planning to rate it about 4 stars, but then I finished the story and was in tears and it turned into a 5-star favourite. Definitely a must read!

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

I’d been reading the classics for nearly a year before reading this book. At the beginning of my journey I read Little Women and absolutely loved it so when I saw a few of Alcott’s books at a book sale, I picked them up. I had no idea that this was going to be such a fast-paced thriller! This was my first journey into “Victorian sensation” novels and it won’t be my last. The story was definitely crazy at times, but I was hooked and could not stop reading. After that I immediately dove into …

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

Another one I loved! I think I knew within the first few chapters that I needed to read more Louisa May Alcott because I just love her writing so much. This was her very first story written and it was just a lot of fun. I loved all of the characters – Edith, especially – and I absolutely despised Lady Ida. Apparently this was the book that Jo was writing in Little Women so it was interesting to have that in my mind as I read. I also found it funny that the ratings for this book are so low with people saying that it’s nothing like Little Women. I mean, yeah? That’s kind of like people saying J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy is nothing like Harry Potter … obviously! I adored this book and after finishing it I had to find what I could of Alcott’s books for my kindle – I can’t wait to read more!

Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier

I’ve read 5 of du Maurier’s books so far this year, as well as a non-fiction book about her and her sisters, and I have to say that every time I read a story by her I get that craving to read more. Her stories always seem to start off like any other story, but du Maurier has this way of writing that just turns a story just the right way part-way through that you don’t even see it coming. And then it happens and you just know you’re in a du Maurier story. My favourite stories in this collection have to be Don’t Look Now and The Breakthrough.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I was so excited to finally read The Woman in White! I loved the book but I feel like I went into it with other expectations. For some reason, I thought this was going to be a ghost story but the ghost story part is a veeeery little part of the 700-page book and the rest seemed more like a mystery/detective story. I really loved the writing of the story and how Collins had different people continue the story as the book advanced. As far as Victorian sensation novels go, I’m not sure it was my favourite, despite the fact that people say this is the best, but I do think that I might feel that way because it wasn’t what I was expecting AND because I had recently read two of Louisa May Alcott’s sensation novels and loved them. I might have to do a reread of this one next year. I definitely want to try more of Wilkie Collins’s books!

The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield-Fisher

When I started collecting the Persephone classics, this is the one title that really caught my eye, probably because I’m a stay at home mom and do the majority of the household things. I really enjoyed Canfield-Fisher’s characterization and loved the voice of the main character, Evangeline. The story might have been a bit too positive with not a whole lot of conflict and some things coming really easy for the characters, but I still loved reading it. It was interesting to see the reversal of roles in the story and think about what kind of controversy this might have caused when it was published.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Okay, so, reading this I had originally thought that this was a horror novel, or at least some kind of thriller. The thriller part, or creepy part, was extremely brief but well done, though by the end I was confused as to why this was even titled Northanger Abbey since the whole Northanger Abbey part doesn’t even happen until about 50% into the novel or so and even then, it’s not really the main part of the story. Regardless, I still loved this book and felt like it was very Austen-esque with her unforgettable characters and her wit and humour. I do think I might give it some time and then reread the book knowing that it indeed isn’t a horror or thriller because I think that affected my reading of it.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (reread)

Ever since I read this last year for the first time I had been looking forward to rereading it. When winter came and Novellas in November kicked off I knew it was finally time to dive in. And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the reread! It’s funny because I could only picture Liam Neesan as Ethan’s character after seeing that he played him in the 1993 movie (which I haven’t seen – should I? Is it terrible?). It was also fun to read this one again knowing what was going to happen in the end. Even just talking about it makes me want to read it again.

Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power by Louisa May Alcott

I continued on my Louisa May Alcott kick with another one of her thrillers, which was originally published under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard. I thought this one was fun but not quite as fun as A Long Fatal Love Chase. I adore her writing but felt like while this one was enjoyable, it was also quite straightforward and predictable. I can see how it might have been quite the scandalous read back when it was published. Also, I thought it was kind of hilarious how idiotic most of the men in this book were and that might be why it wasn’t one of my favourites – it’s definitely not realistic when every single damn man in a book falls in love with the female lead.

What classics have you read recently? Have you read any of these ones? What did you think of them? What’s on your classics reading list for the end of 2018?

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7 thoughts on “10 Classics I Recently Read: Alcott, du Maurier, Wyndham! (#4)

  1. I’ve just finished Rebecca by Du Maurier and I loved it! I’ll have to take a look at Don’t Look Now- it sounds like it’d be right up my street!

  2. Nice selection. From your list I read only the Woman in White and Northanger Abbey, and liked both. I actually think Northanger Abbey is pretty underrated. I liked it less than Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but more than other Austen novels.

  3. What a lovely group of books! I’m really looking forward to reading Northanger Abbey next year and I agree with you about Mariana, absolutely lovely!

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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