Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
| Top Ten… Mother’s Day Special |
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! In celebration of Mother’s Day, and in honour of the single biggest influence for my love of books, this week I’ve brought my own mother on board with her favourite books of all time. Over to you Mamma Proxy!
| 1. |
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I re-read this book several times as a child and thought it magical. ‘The Secret Garden’ began a life long love of gardening – being out in the fresh air and creating something beautiful. Therapeutic!
| 2 |
It was diffiult to choose between ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Persuasion’ but I went with this one as it was the first Austen I read (and re-read many times) from the age of eleven. Witty, clever prose and an engaging story with well-developed characters make this book an all time favourite.
| 3 |
by Thomas Hardy
‘The Return of the Native’ was my first introduction to Hardy as I studied this book for English Literature A-Level and went on to read everything he had written. Set in the wild, brooding landscape of Edgdon Heath, it balances the comic aspect of the local characters with the doomed future of the hero and heroine, and eventually ultimate tragedy.
| 4. |
by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy whilst travelling around the Greek Islands in my early twenties. It is so well-known now that there is no need to describe it. It is an exciting epic; magical, tragic, joyful and moving.
| 5. |
by Elizabeth Gaskell
I read this book long before it was serialised for the television. Gaskell was well aware of the English North/South divide of the mid 19th Century, a division still apparent in many ways today. Conscious of the social and economic problems suffered by the poor, Gaskell weaves them into a story of complex relationships and difficult problems.
| 6. |
by George Eliot
Another social history novel, ‘Middlemarch’ is complex, intelligent and detailed. An epic story full of tragedy, realism, social comedy and a sense of idealism, ‘Middlemarch’ needs reading more than once to fully appreciate its subtle complexities.
‘The Moonstone’ is a 19th Century mystery involving the theft of a priceless diamond which had been brought to England as spoils of war. An enigmatic detective, Sergeant Cuff (based on the famous Inspector Whicher of Scotland Yard) is brought in by the family to ingeniously solve the mystery, and the diamond is eventually returned to its rightful place in India.
| 8. |
It was difficult to choose between this novel and ‘Bleak House’ as Dickens was such a master story-teller. ‘Little Dorrit’ is a great satire on poverty and riches, unravelling as a compelling mystery of fraud, blackmail and a rich inheritance. Great attention to detail and well-developed characters involve the reader in a complex story which greatly criticises the era.
| 9. |
The Warden | Barchester Towers | Doctor Thorne | Framley Parsonage | The Small House at Allington | The Last Chronicle of Barset
by Anthony Trollope
I’m cheating here as there are six books in this series but the stories and characters are so intertwined that it is difficult to just choose one! With a keen eye for intense human observation, Trollope uses wit and perception to portray life in 19th Century England in a series of engaging stories.
| 10. |
by Hannah Rothschild
I thought that I should include a more recent work of fiction so this is it! Fast paced, clever, satirical but humorous and very thoughtful, this novel pokes fun at London’s super-rich and the pretentiousness of the art world. ‘The Improbability of Love’ is almost Dickensian in its portrayal of the many varied characters and of London life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers and assorted inspirational women everywhere! If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!