5 Irresistible Classic Reads to Make You Swoon
by Brynn Kelly, author of Deception Island
Did you know that the original ending of Great Expectations left Pip and Estella vowing to remain only friends?
After Charles Dickens sent his famous novel to the printer in 1861, he hurriedly rewrote it with a more optimistic romantic conclusion. “On the whole, I think it is for the better,” he declared.
Not all literary types agreed.
George Bernard Shaw later complained that the beginning and middle of the novel was unhappy, thus “the conventional happy ending is an outrage.” And George Orwell was scathing of Dickens’s fondness for the Victorian happy ending with a loving family crammed into one house, living a soft, idle and sheltered life, “constantly multiplying, like a bed of oysters.”
I say give me that bed of oysters. Here are my favorite romantic classics from ye olden days. What are yours?
Anything by Jane Austen and most things Brontë
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 1859
If you’ve read this sweeping saga about the French Revolution, you’ll know that it’s not a happy ending for all (and if you haven’t, I’m going to sit here and wait until you do). But it’s a perfectly layered conclusion to an epic journey of love and upheaval and betrayal and sacrifice.
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster, 1908
A beautifully written and witty tale about a young woman who must decide where she fits in a changing society and where her heart lies.
Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery, 1918
It wasn’t until I reread this novel as an adult that I appreciated it as a classic romance, where the heroine from Anne of Green Gables must figure out the real meaning of love to earn her HEA.
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, 1936
Oh, and Rebecca, published two years later. Heck, anything by Daphne du Maurier. Not all of her novels have an HEA but they taught me long ago that the best love stories are those served with suspense and adventure.
What classic novels make you swoon?
About Deception Island:
Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the French Foreign Legionnaire soon finds himself trapped with a woman who’s nothing he expects, and everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he’s made a critical mistake. As scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they’re double-crossed, they’ll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it’s their lives—and hearts—on the line.