Friday, January 6, 2017

Challenge Link-Up Post: Romance Classic

Please link your reviews for your Romance Classic here.  This is only for the Romance Classic category.  It can have a happy or sad ending, but their must be a strong romantic element to the story.

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Gone with the Wind)." 


  1. Loved reading Anna Karenina for my Romance Classic

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  3. Very interesting reading The Price of Salt, a lesbian romance from 1952 by Patricia Highsmith, and the book the movie, Carol, was based on.

  4. Just finished Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell. I didn't love it as much as I loved Wives and Daughters, but still a very good read. At the core of the story is the love triangle between Sylvia Robson, her cousin (I know, different times, ugh) Philip Hepburn, and sailor and alleged rogue Charley Kinraid. Sylvia is a compelling female protagonist: Within giving away spoilers, she begins the novel as a teenager who is stubborn, opinionated, and kind, but also somewhat impetuous and a spoiled only child. Horrible, unfair things that happen to people she loves and that are beyond her control render her more subdued and passive. But, unlike other novels of the late 18th/early 19th centuries, Gaskell's narrative casts this transformation as a reaction to injustice, not as a "goal" for a "good" domestic Christian woman to achieve. By the novel's end, which I did not totally love, Sylvia has at least become unafraid to assert herself and rightfully call out people who have wronged her, even if she is also more worn down by what she has suffered in her life. Most importantly, she declares to her female friends whom she knows have been judging her for her actions: "It's for noane to say whether I'm vixen or not, as doesn't know th' past things as is buried in my heart."

    The other two members of the love triangle also are treated with relative nuance. Philip makes a choice central to the novel's plot that is portrayed as morally complex, and, while in some cases he behaves downright priggishly, in others he is sympathetic as a person who idolizes another who does not love him back, and blinds himself to reality in the service of getting what he thinks he wants -- which is a character flaw, but one with which I think many modern readers could still empathize. We don't get as much of Kinraid's perspective, but Gaskell leaves equally ambiguous whether he is simply the prototypical "rogue" so common to novels of that period or whether he genuinely loves Sylvia.

    Finally, what really makes the novel an engaging read are the secondary characters, including the town of Monkshaven (apparently based on Whitby, England). For example, Sylvia's father is an irascible blowhard who provides a fair amount of comic relief, as does Alice Rose, Philip's Quaker landlady. Also, given the number of real-life places Gaskell apparently references in the book, I'm definitely putting a book-related tour through Whitby on my bucket list.

    1. And with apologies for replying to my comment, but I meant to add and think it is important to do so, that Philip truly is a flawed character, and not simply the longsuffering but virtuous male who is there to "save" Sylvia from the rogue (a trope common in many late 18th century/early 19th century novels that were preoccupied with the morals of women). For anyone who has read (and, if you're like me, rolled your eyes while reading) novels of that period with male characters who fell into that trope, I wanted to be sure to note that I think Philip at times fancies himself as being in that role, but the novel is set up in a way that it ultimately undermines his self-perception in that regard.

  5. Added a link for Doctor Zhivago.

  6. Re Pride and Prejudice: I'm with Amber - Jane is too perfect. I think Austen gets rather fed up with Jane, too.

  7. Done! I read Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. She could write a great romance.