Oh, how I love my Victorians. My love affair with them probably started years ago, when I first read Jane Eyre in college. I really hit my stride with the Victorians a few years ago when I became with pretty much obsessed with Dickens. Which led to Gaskell. And Trollope, and Thackeray, and Wilde, and Hardy. . . . I recently checked my Goodreads list, and I've read about 50 Victorians since I started my quest to read more classics in 2005.
So it's time for me to share the love! In honor of Allie's Victorian Celebration (and my birthday), I've decided to host a giveaway. One winner will receive his or her choice of any Victorian novel I've ever reviewed on this blog -- whether I liked it or not! I've gone back and counted, and since I started blogging in 2009 I've reviewed 21 Victorian novels, plus one play. For the purposes of this giveaway, I'm only counting works published in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901.
So here's a recap, year by year, of all my Victorian novel reviews since I started this blog, with links:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
A House to Let by Charles Dickens
The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Lots of great choices, so enter now! Here's how the giveaway is going to work:
1. To enter, simply leave a comment with your choice of any of the above Victorian novels, and tell me why you want to read it. Have you read another work by the same author? Was my review so intriguing that you're now dying to read that book? Do you just like the pretty cover? Normally I choose the winner at random, but this time around, I'm simply going to pick the comment that I like the best, so be creative!
2. The drawing will close on 5 p.m. Sunday, June 17, Central Standard Time (U.S).
3. I'll be shipping the book via The Book Depository, so if you live outside the U.S. or Britain, check here to see if they ship to your country. (I reserve the right to send via another online retailer if the winner lives in the U.S.)
4. You must leave some kind of contact in your comment, if it doesn't automatically link to your blog.
5. I will announce the winner by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 17, the same day as the drawing ends. I'll post it on the blog the same day. I'll also contact the winner, either via his or her blog, or by the email address provided.
6. The winner must contact me within 48 hours, or I'll choose another winner.
7. I'll choose a very nice paperback edition for the winner (probably Penguin or Oxford World's Classics).
So -- please leave your giveaway entries in the comments below. I can't wait to see what everyone chooses! Happy reading!
Great giveaway! I'm going to have to say that if I won, I'd want to read The Warden, after your ringing endorsement of him in the comments on my own Victorian Celebration starter post (and because I didn't see The Way We Live Now in your list above!).ReplyDelete
Additional reasons for this selection: I'm intrigued by any author established as "sadly underrated and underappreciated classic British author" (and I'm not familiar with his works myself, and, let's be honest, I like to be able to say I've read underappreciated authors); he was apparently a contemporary of Dickens (who knew?), and I've been reading a lot about Dickens' life lately; I'm a sucker for books in series; I'm fascinated by anyone who calls Dickens "Mr. Popular Sentiment"; and last (but certainly not least) I love a good satire. I think Trollope and I could be great friends.
I've neglected Trollope, too. I have the Warden coming up on my list as Book #4 for the Victorian Celebration (I'm reading #3 now - Cranford by Elisabeth Gaskell). Looking forward to finally reading something by him!Delete
I'm reading The Warden right now. :)Delete
I LOVE that you made the "Mr. Popular Sentiment" reference!! That cracked me up when I read The Warden.Delete
Karen! This is an awesome (and generous) idea - thank you for the chance at winning a great book! Of course, all of these titles are fantastic and I don't yet own most of 'em. So what to do?ReplyDelete
I narrowed my "most wanted" down to three:
The Making of a Marchioness by Burnett
Villette by Bronte
Lady Audley's Secret by Braddon
Why those? Well, I haven't read anything by the first or third authors, nor do I own any of their works, so it would be great to add something new to my library. As for Bronte, I have read her (and, now, FINALLY, all of the sisters, since I just read & reviewed Anne's Agnes Grey for this Celebration), but I haven't read Villette and everybody talks about it.
I also find myself reading far more male authors than female (somewhat being addressed during this challenge - I've got two women, Anne Bronte & Elizabeth Gaskell, to my one man, Mark Twain, so far!) - so I do want to explore more of the female writers of the period.
Based on your reviews of each.. I think I want to try for Villette. People talk about this one so often (and, as you say, many find it to be Charlotte's best and/or their personal favorites of hers or any of the Bronte sisters' works) - I like the idea of slow character development (as long as they develop!) and I'm glad, for some reason, to see a review that doesn't blindly agree with everyone that this is the best (or better than Jane Eyre, which I loved!).
I'm also interested to read one of Charlotte's works that was written/published AFTER Anne's death. Since Jane Eyre came before and because the three sisters had been writing their novels together, I'm interested to see what -if any- changes in her writing exist, following that sad loss.
So, yes, I think I want to read it and finally be able to make the determination for myself. Please count me in for Villette! :)
I have, however, added Lady Audley's Secret and The Making of a Marchioness to my ever-growing TBR list!
"On the Death of Anne Bronte"
By Charlotte Bronte
"There's little joy in life for me,
And little terror in the grave;
I've lived the parting hour to see
Of one I would have died to save.
Calmly to watch the failing breath,
Wishing each sigh might be the last;
Longing to see the shade of death
O'er those beloved features cast;
The cloud, the stillness that must part
The darling of my life from me;
And then to thank God from my heart,
To thank Him well and fervently;
Although I knew that we had lost
The hope and glory of our life;
And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
Must bear alone the weary strife."
Thanks again for the chance!
Villette is absolutely fabulous. Even though I really liked Jane Eyre, I think Villette is much better...it's deeper, somehow. :)Delete
Yes, I agree! Villete is wrenching and incredible. I love Jane Eyre, but Villette is exquisite.Delete
I still prefer Jane Eyre, but to each his own. Kudos to you for trying to read all the Bronte works!Delete
And I LOVE Lady Audley's Secret, so I do hope you get a chance to read it someday.
What a fantastic and generous giveaway! It's a great chance for all of your readers to think about a whole bunch of great books and authors! Like you, Jane Eyre was the beginning of my love affair with classics and Victorians. Since then, I've been just dying to try Villette, and I'm especially intrigued by your discussion (and the comments' continued musings) about its maturity and comparing it to Jane Eyre. Also, thanks for this great index of all your Victorian reviews!ReplyDelete
samantha dot arten at gmail dot com
Like I told Adam, Villette is FABULOUS. :)Delete
It was so fun to look back at all my Victorian reviews, I had no idea I'd reviewed so many! I did a posting of my Top 10 Victorians a couple of months ago right before the Victorian Celebration was announced. I thought about taking the choices from those but I thought it would be fun to give people more choices.Delete
Thank you for hosting! And I am going to enter. :)ReplyDelete
The book that looks the most intriguing to me is "A House to Let" by Dickens (although-isn't that the title with multiple authors contributing?). I've been slowly coming around to Dickens, so this is one I definitely want to read. And, if I recall, there are pieces by some other Victorians in there...just skimmed your review, and I was right!
Anyway, it seems like something I would enjoy and would help me continue my discovery of Dickens. :)
I think you have my e-mail. :)
I'm planning to read The Haunted House in July, for this Celebration! I was going to wait until Halloween, for obvious reasons, but now's the time!Delete
It's also credited to Dickens, but includes chapters by Collins, Gaskell, Sala, Stretton, and Procter... how much fun would it have been to work on this compilation!? :)
A House to Let is interesting because it has a nice variety of Victorians in one volume. It's like a nice little Victorian appetizer sampler.Delete
Wow, what a fun idea! It's hard to know what to pick, though. I think I'll have to go with a Dickens, for I have neglected him sadly for years now, and am just now in a Dickens mood--I finished OCS and am reading Bleak House. So I pick Our Mutual Friend. Thanks for doing this!ReplyDelete
I'm just coming around to liking Dickens, so good choice! :)Delete
I loved OMF. I'll be checking your blog for your Bleak House review!Delete
This is so kind of you! What a fantastic way to host a giveaway. I would choose David Copperfield, because recently Dickens and I have been repairing our rocky relationship and I am enjoying his work more and more. I've heard many people say that David Copperfield is their favorite Dickens work, so I am definitely hoping to read it soon.ReplyDelete
David Copperfield is definitely my favorite. :)Delete
I loved David Copperfield. Aunt Betsy Trotwood is one of my favorite characters in all of literature, she's such a hoot.Delete
I became a huge fan of the Victorian period after I fell back in love with Dickens. We've had a very complicated relationship. I thought I hated him, then I gave him another chance. After reading Great Expectations and David Copperfield I knew I would always return to him.ReplyDelete
After that I fell for Jane Eyre, Cranford, Middlemarch, Jude the Obscure, The Woman in White and a few others. The Victorian period has such a distinct feel. Things are a bit melodramatic, but women characters were finally getting some great leading parts. Austen had done it earlier, but I loved seeing it become mroe fleshed out in this period.
I would pick North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell because it has been on my list for so long! After enjoying Cranford during Allie's readalong a couple years ago I wanted to read more of her work but I haven't yet. Thank you again for the great giveaway and woo hoo for the Victorians!
I loved North and South (and the BBC adaptation that stars Richard Armitage!). Have you read Wives & Daughters? Just wonderful!Delete
North and South is so good. :) I love the BBC adaptation-it makes for great rainy day viewing.Delete
Great giveaway! I would pick: Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon because I love female authors! Despite my classes in English lit (BA and MA), I haven't read Braddon, and it's a shame!ReplyDelete
This is definitely going on my to be read list.
Lady Audley is really fun. It's not great literature, but it's a real page-turner. I wonder if anyone actually studies M. E. Braddon for English lit? I'd love a class on Victorian sensation novels!Delete
I just bought a copy of Lady Audley the other day, so I am anxious to get to it as well!Delete
Thanks so much for the giveaway. It was fun looking through your reviews of Victorian books--especially the ones I've also read. I'm one of those strange people that liked Villette more than Jane Eyre. I don't know if I would say it's her finest, I guess I just personal preferred it.ReplyDelete
I would love a copy of Lady Audley's secret, were I to win. I have seen so many glowing reviews of it in the past few months, and I've never read anything by Braddon. I'm trying to branch out and try more new-to-me authors. For the Victorian celebration, I'm going to read some Trollope, Hardy, and Stevenson as I haven't read any books by them.
klmickelsen at gmail dot com
I'm trying to read some of the less well known Victorians also. I want to read both George Gissing and Margaret Oliphant in the next couple of months.Delete
You guys are making me want to get to Lady Audley...I might have to bump it up.Delete
I'm not as familiar with the lesser-knowns either...I need to fix that!
Wow, what a great giveaway!ReplyDelete
I've read a LOT of these, so it's hard to choose from what you've read that I haven't (because I want them all), but if I had to pick one, I would absolutely go for Martin Chuzzlewit. I mean, I would take anything by Dickens (Bleak House is one of my favorite works of all time), but I know absolutely NOTHING about Martin Chuzzlewit, so it has piqued my interest. Hm, a Dickens that I don't already know the plot line for...
I was pleasantly surprised by Martin Chuzzlewit. It took awhile to get going, but I ended up really enjoying it. I didn't know anything about it either. I'll probably tackle Barnaby Rudge for my next Dickens novel, though I'm taking a break from him at the moment.Delete
I don't know anything about that title either...eventually... ;)Delete
First of all, thank you so much!ReplyDelete
I would love to read Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon since, although I am a huge fan of thrillers and crime novels, I had never heard of this work. However, I find female characters in these works captivating and far more complex than in others.
This will link to my blog but you can contact me at:
booksandreviewsblog [at] gmail [dot] com
Lady Audley is really fun, I couldn't stop reading it! I really want to read another of Braddon's books.Delete
I love,love, love the Victorians as well! I especially love my bearded Victorians: Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, and Wilkie Collins!!! I find them quite satisfying and love the attention to detail. I have read many from your list already, and loved them!!!ReplyDelete
My choice would probably be The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett. While I've read A Little Princess and Secret Garden, I've not read any of her other works, I didn't even know she wrote adult novels! So it would be fun to read this one.
She actually wrote quite a few adult novels! There's another published by Persephone called The Shuttle. Earlier editions are pretty widely available as used copies or in libraries.Delete
Although your review was enlightening, I have wanted to read North and South for some time now. I refuse to read it on an eReader, primarily because I like to highlight and write in the margins so I can read it again and see if different things stand out the second time around. It is interesting that you mentioned the comparison to Pride and Prejudice. I have heard that before.ReplyDelete
I never write in my books but I haven't made the leap to e-readers. I'm old fashioned and I like to turn pages.Delete
I really loved North and South, excellent choice!
Hello, I've been lurking here for a while, and I'd like to put in something. My choice among your list of Victorian novels is ... Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Why?ReplyDelete
-I haven't read Dickens yet.
-I heard some people say that it's his best novel.
-Your review seems in sync with what those people say.
-The narrative structure is interesting.
-It is a must read for those interested to learn the history of the English court system.
Bleak House is just brilliant. However, it is a big, huge, sprawling novel, with about 50 principal characters and a lot of subplots. But it is really the best of his novels, though I don't claim to be any sort of Dickens scholar. I didn't tackle it right away, and I had seen the BBC adaptation so I knew the story, which helped.Delete
What a great giveaway! I would love to read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I saw the first half of the BBC adaptation and loved sexy Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton. I didn't get to finish the movie, but I decided I might like to read the book beforehand (the book is always better).ReplyDelete
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Armitage is wonderful as Mr. Thornton. I wasn't as crazy about the female lead, whose name I've completely forgotten. Still a good adaptation though.Delete
Definitely 'A House to Let' - an all-star cast of writers will make for interesting reading ;)ReplyDelete
tonysreadinglist at y7mail dot com
It is fun to compare all the different styles, though there's a section of poetry which was not my favorite.Delete
So many wonderful Trollopes on your list :) and it's great to see The Making of a Marchioness on there as well, which I loved.ReplyDelete
This is a generous give-away, thank you. I would choose Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, because I've never read Hardy - because I've been intimidated by his reputation, particularly after reading a print article whose author said she became deeply depressed & lost the will to live after reading one of his books - but then I've also been curious to read one of his books, and certainly the blog reviews I've been seeing don't make him sound like a dangerous author :)
Now I'm really intrigued -- Hardy's kind of bleak but seriously, losing the will to live? Which book was it?Delete
I've only read two by Hardy so far and I was underwhelmed, but I haven't given up on him yet.
I would choose Framely Parsonage--I am currently in the midst of a new found love of Trollope and haven't read this one. Thanks for the chance to win.ReplyDelete
I LOVE Trollope. I have about a dozen unread on the shelves and hope to read The Small House at Allington next, though my library just got Dr. Wortle's School. I really liked Framley Parsonage too.Delete
Thanks for the giveaway! I'd love to win Three Men in a Boat. I've heard of the book before, but I have yet to find a copy to read. I've always thought, in my pipe dream in which my mom, aunt, and I open up a bookstore/herbal tea room, that a cool name would be a variation on the title: "Three Women and a Book, to Say Nothing of the Cat." In the case that this dream ever comes true, I should probably have read the book giving inspiration to the name...ReplyDelete
bookwormsusanna AT gmail DOT com
I would go to your bookstore for the name alone, even though at heart I'm a dog person. It's a hilarious book.Delete
Hi Karen! Thank you so much for this giveaway! It's incredibly generaous! :-)ReplyDelete
I'd love to try for Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, because I know absolutely nothing about it, yet I've heard it's really, really good.
So many people are choosing Lady Audley! I'm amazed. I loved it last year when I read for the RIP readalong. I'll have to read another of her books for the next one.Delete
Thank you for hosting this generous giveaway and thank you doubly for making it international!ReplyDelete
Although the choice is really hard (obviously since they are Victorians!), I'd choose North and South if I won. There's a whole story behind that decision: I'm an A-student and never had any problems at school, until last year. My beloved old German teacher retired and I got a new one, a young man straight from University. He was probably insecure because we were his first class ever, so he demanded absolute discipline: while we had before discussed literature and current affairs in German, our teacher now only dictated us facts about the history of literature. We had no influence at all on his lessons and whenever someone chatted or said something "disrespectful" he made an entry in the class-register. Usually I'm a diplomatic person, but I'm proud and cannot stand teachers who look down on me, so within two weeks we had had so many arguments that he asked to see my parents. Our hate for eachother was mutual. One day before his lesson I was sitting in the classroom and reading Great Expectations and he came over stating that he hadn't thought I would read such "old, boring" books. I got really angry and defended Dickens feverishly when he suddenly said that he knew how wonderful Great Expectations was, he just had not expected me to like it too. A student who read the classics voluntarily was obviously beyond his imagination. My teacher also said that his favourite book ever was North and South and then half-jokingly that maybe we could become like Margaret Hale and John Thornton who also started their relationship by hating eachother. Of course I was stupefied after that remark!
I've got another German teacher now and although my old one and I never became great friends we had some strange kind of respect for eachother after this conversation. We did not love eachother, but we got along without further problems. I still greet him respectfully whenever I see him. However, somehow I never got around to actually reading this book which brought me so much peace, so here's my chance to see if I'm of the same opinion as my former nemesis after all.
Great story -- I'm glad you ended up getting along with your teacher after that. I really liked North and South and the BBC TV adaptation was good also. If you haven't read any Gaskell I highly recommend her.Delete
And I love hearing about other Dickens fans!
If I won I would definitely choose Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. I've read the book before and loved it very much. I would be ecstatic to add a copy to my personal library.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the giveaway!
Oliver Twist is one of my favorites by Dickens too!Delete
As I’m a great fan of Dickens, and now collecting all his works, I’d choose one of Dickens’ if I won. Our Mutual Friend to be exact!ReplyDelete
Actually Our Mutual Friend hasn’t been on my top Dickens’ list, not after I found an interesting fact behind the writing of this book. From ‘Charles Dickens: Dickens’ Bicentenary 1812-2012’ I learned that Dickens had written Our Mutual Friend during one of his hardest times. Not long after he started writing, he got news about the death of his son, Walter, in India. Although he had been dead two months before, Dickens only received the news right on his 52nd birthday, on 7 February 1864. What a terrible shock it must have been for him! Not only that, few months later the grief continued on when a good friend of Dickens had an unexpected death. After both tragedies, Dickens’ health was decreasing; he suffered from a severe foot pain that often prevented him for taking a walk.
On top of that, Dickens was one of the survivors on The Staplehurst railway crash in Kent on 1855. The nearly death experience and the terrible scene (Dickens reported to have helped saving lives at the scene) had given Dickens a kind of trauma, from which he had never completely relieved from. All that tragedies and shocks took place during the writing of OMF, that it left me wondering how all of those would affect his writing. Plus, OMF is the last novel that Dickens ever completed, because after that he wrote The Mystery of Edwin Drood, that he had never finished.
To know the personal background of the author, always give me a certain feeling when I read a book. So, I’m really curious with OMF, and sincerely hope I can win. *fingers crossed* :)
my e-mail: joviemaria[at]yahoo[dot]com
I bought the new Dickens biography by Claire Tomalin and I'm hoping to start it this year (and I hope there won't be too many spoilers about the novels I haven't read yet!).Delete
His life sounds fascinating, it's always so interesting to read about how their experiences shape the books that authors write. Our Mutual Friend was wonderful, almost as good as Bleak House. I have three more of his novels to read (plus Edwin Drood) and I really hope they won't disappoint after OMF.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood was great!Delete
It's interesting.. I wish it would have been finished, but at the same time - considering that it was a mystery novel and the last of Dickens's works, and that it was written after (and in large part because of) that horrible train accident Dickens was in, well, that kind of makes it interesting and almost romantic that the book was never finished.
So, I don't know! I wish it had been finished, but I'm kind of enamored with the fact that it wasn't? Either way, I don't think you'll be disappoinetd.
There were a couple big spoilers/reveals in Claire Tomalin's Dickens biography. If you haven't read "The Old Curiosity Shop" or "Dombey and Son"...you might want to wait. There were probably others, but I had read those novels already.Delete
Thanks for the warning. I haven't read OCS but I know a bit about the plot. Maybe I'll wait until I've finished all the novels.Delete
Adam, I feel the same way too. I think the fact that Drood had never been finished intrigued me more to read it. Right now I can't make a decision whether I will read it soon (I can't wait to do it) or I should wait till I read all other books, to finally finish Dickens with Drood (but that would be years... argghhh!)Delete
Karen, actually there are few spoilers too in the Dickens Bicentenary, especially the ending of OCS (and a bit of Great Expectations' ending). But I think, the ending isn't everything, the writing is what I love from Dickens.
I would choose Oliver Twist, simply because for years I thought I'd read it, then realised I hadn't, it's just that the story is so familiar it felt like I had. So I would like to read it.ReplyDelete
I know the feeling -- sometimes a story becomes such a part of popular culture that you feel you know it by heart. I felt the same way about the Wizard of Oz and went ahead and read the entire series without ever reading the first book! When I finally read it to my children I was so surprised, it's quite different than the movie. The book is nearly always better than the movie version, isn't it?Delete