“Whatever my powers–feminine or the contrary–God had given them, and I felt resolute to be ashamed of no faculty of his bestowal.”
I’m not a big romance reader (SFF does not lend itself easily to the genre) so this list might be a bit tricky. But let’s see where it goes.
- The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger. OK, I know I just said SFF and romance don’t gel as genres, but this is an excellent SFF romance. Possibly the best thing about the book is how right everything seems – the entire plot feels inevitable right from the very beginning. This is not meant to be a derogatory comment; the narrative is just constructed so well that it seems like nothing else could ever have happened.
- Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens. The whole book is just so fluffy and lovely and Lizzie and Eugene. Enough said.
- Perdido Street Station – China Mieville. Not an obvious choice, but Isaac and Lin still have me traumatised (and I read it about four or five months ago, so that’s no small feat). China Mieville, you are mean.
- The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell. I know Hugo Lamb was a psychopath, but I’m still shipping him and Holly. Move over, Ed Brubeck. Nobody likes you.
- Persuasion – Jane Austen. I would be a Bad English Student if there were no Austen on this list, and Persuasion is probably my favourite: a novel of second chances and sudden spring.
- The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman. The last pages routinely make me weep, even if Pullman is a bit heavy-handed with his moral. Oh dear gods, I just remembered the bench. THE BENCH.
- Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier. Its author considered it more a study in jealousy than a love story, and certainly Maxim is possibly the least romantic character ever written, but as a novel it is hypnotically compelling. It’s probably the book I’d be most likely to recommend on this list (apart from maybe Perdido Street Station); if you haven’t read it yet, do.
- Villette – Charlotte Bronte. Such an intense novel, deeply felt and deeply disturbing. It tends to be overshadowed by Bronte’s other novel, Jane Eyre, but I feel like Villette is a greater artistic achievement.
- The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe. Much like Rebecca, the charm of this novel lies in its hypnotic, claustrophobic atmosphere.
- The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton. I absolutely love the last chapter of this, it feels so perfect. Well worth wading through the eight hundred-plus pages.
(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)