Autumn leaves, autumn sneeze, fall breeze, and fall trees. As the light starts to dim and the colder nights draw in, it’s the perfect time to curl up indoors with a well-loved book or a book you’ve meant to read for some time now. These classic novels are what cozy autumn days were made for, from eerie manor houses to gothic romances. To select a book (or three) from this list of classic novels to read this fall!
“Last Night I Dreamt I went to Manderley Again…”
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew.
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before. What unfolds is the tale of the intense love between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw.
During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth.
The 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically-charged aspects of Shelley’s original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also emphasizes Shelley’s relationship with her mother—trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who penned A Vindication of the Rights of Woman—and demonstrates her commitment to carrying forward her mother’s ideals, placing her in the context of a feminist legacy rather than the sole female in the company of male poets, including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.
Northanger Abbey tells the story of Catherine Morland, a naive young woman whose perceptions of the world around her are greatly influenced by the romantic gothic novels to which she is addicted. When she moves to Bath she sees mystery and intrigue all around her, not least of all in Northanger Abbey itself, the home of General Tilney and his handsome son Henry, where Catherine suspects a sinister crime has occurred.
In Thomas Hardy’s first major literary success, independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, the soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy, and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community.
Follow a dog named Buck through violence and hardship, loyalty and loss, finally finding himself and his home in the Yukon wilderness. Truly a must-have for London fans, book lovers, and adventurers.
The classic story of a dangerous love triangle is set in an 1890s Paris opera house. Rumored to be haunted, the Palais Garnier opera house in nineteenth-century Paris is the setting for this story of a dangerous love triangle involving a young Swedish soprano, her mysterious “Phantom” tutor, and her childhood friend.
The Headless Horseman faces off with Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a ghost story of enduring popularity that takes place at the time of the American Revolution. Rip Van Winkle, another traditional favorite from the same historic period, tells the tale of man who fell asleep for twenty years and found his small town in the Catskill Mountains much changed by the time he awakened.
The tale of a youth whose features, year after year, retain the same appearance of innocent beauty while the shame of his abhorrent vices becomes mirrored on the features of his portrait.
A book so iconic that its title is synonymous with split personalities, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, was first released in 1886. The story of a virtuous Dr. Jekyll who mistakenly creates an alter ego of unadulterated evil serves as an examination of the duality of human nature and the battle between good and evil.
Have you read any of these classic novels?
Are any of these books on your TBR? Have you read any books from this list? What books would you add to this list?