Category Archives: Victorian

Poverty and money, men and women, limited-options and Victorian-era spinsterhood: The Odd Women is a thought-provoking, character-driven novel that explores what happens when women lack opportunities for independence

The Odd Women by George Gissing is a late Victorian novel that explores the personal and social implications of a surplus of spinsters. It follows the struggles, fortunes and (limited) choices of the three Madden sisters, whose father’s sudden death … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, British, Classic, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Realism, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Inventor of the post box and novel-making machine: Autobiography is the self-told story of one of my favourite Victorian novelists, Anthony Trollope

Autobiography by Anthony Trollope was an easy and amusing read. It focuses on Trollope’s two careers – as post office official and author – with only brief forays into personal life, although Trollope-as-a-person comes through on every page. Part of … Continue reading

Posted in Biography/Autobiography, British, General adult audience, Nonfiction, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our attitudes and experiences of near neighbours haven’t changed all that much in the last 160 years, if Emily Eden’s The Semi-Detached House is any guide

The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden is a social satire written in the mid-19th century. When young Lady Chester moves into a semi-detached house in the suburbs she anticipates being forced into awkward intimacy with vulgar neighbours, whose daughters will … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, British, General adult audience, Novel, Novel of Manners, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Victorian novel about decision paralysis: Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope has a name that is a bit off-putting. It suggests an obnoxious main character who will be hard to sympathise with. I didn’t find this to be the case. The main character, Alice … Continue reading

Posted in Classic, General adult audience, Novel, Novel of Manners, Romance, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Country Gentleman and His Family by Margaret Oliphant

A Country Gentleman and His Family by Margaret Oliphant is surprisingly well written. Mrs Oliphant was a Victorian authoress who wrote novels to support herself and several dependents so was prolific but variable in quality. This book had skillful characterisation … Continue reading

Posted in British, Classic, Family Drama, General adult audience, Novel of Manners, Pastoral novel, Romance, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Esther Waters by George Moore

Esther Waters by George Moore strives for realism as it portrays the choices and struggles of Esther, a house servant, as she seeks to provide for her illegitimate son. Esther herself is a strong character but by no means flawless. … Continue reading

Posted in Classic, General adult audience, Novel, Realism, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

Mary Barton is a story that looks at the difficulties of lower class people in manufacturing towns during the Industrial Revolution. It has some really engaging characters and charming story-telling. My enjoyment was up there with North and South and … Continue reading

Posted in British, General adult audience, Romance, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas is a tale of two tulip-fanciers – Dutchmen obsessed with growing (or stealing) a 100 000 guilder-winning black tulip. Set against the backdrop of post-Reformation Holland, the story is a mix of historical novel, … Continue reading

Posted in Classic, French, General adult audience, Historical Fiction, Melodrama, Romance, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miserable, Not Romantic: The Happy Ever After of Marrying a Scoundrel Explored in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë is a book about what happens if you actually marry Mr Rochester or Mr Willoughby. Helen marries a careless but charismatic man and finds that her influence quickly wanes after their marriage. … Continue reading

Posted in British, Classic, Diarial, General adult audience, Novel, Pastoral novel, Realism, Romance, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

The Warden by Anthony Trollope is the first of the Barchester Novels and is Amusing, Character-Driven and Short. Characters have names like Septimus Harding and Sir Abraham Haphazard! Clergyman, Mr Harding is accused of being Paid Too Much for his … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, Classic, Comedy, General adult audience, Novel, Novel of Manners, Pastoral novel, Serial Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment