Classic Novels to Read in Spring
Depending on where you live, many of us look forward to the first signs of spring after the long winter. It’s not only the warmer weather, but spring is also a magical time, and there are signs of new life everywhere. It’s a time for a new start, renewal, and rebirth, a time for second chances and making things new.
So no matter where you are this season and what the weather is like, select a book (or three) from this list for your springtime reading!
Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
A discreet advertisement in ‘The Times’, addressed to ‘Those who Apppreciate Wisteria and Sunshine…’ is the impetus for a revelatory month for four very different women. High above the bay on the Italian Riviera stands San Salvatore, a mediaeval castle. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs Arbuthnot, Mrs Fisher and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly craving a respite. Lulled by the Mediterranean spirit, they gradually shed their skins and discover a harmony each of them has longed for but never known.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Visiting Florence with her prim and proper cousin Charlotte as a chaperone, Lucy Honeychurch meets the unconventional, lower-class Mr. Emerson and his son, George. Upon her return to England, Lucy becomes engaged to the supercilious Cecil Vyse, but she finds herself increasingly torn between the expectations of the world in which she moves and the passionate yearnings of her heart. More than a love story, A Room with a View(1908) is a penetrating social comedy and a brilliant study of contrasts – in values, social class, and cultural perspectives – and the ingenuity of fate.
Flush by Virginia Woolf
Flush was an English cocker spaniel who belonged to the nineteenth-century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Virginia Woolf learned of him from the love letters Elizabeth wrote to her future husband, fellow poet Robert Browning, and found ‘the figure of their dog made me laugh so, I couldn’t resist making him a Life.’ The resulting ‘biography’ combines sensuous imaginative description with sharp social comment, and brings Woolf’s unsentimental humour and insight to the fore.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The classic Anne of Green Gables; inspiration for the Netflix original series Anne With an E Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
George Eliot’s most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past.
Absent in The Spring by Agatha Christie
Returning from a visit to her daughter in Iraq, Joan Scudamore finds herself unexpectedly alone and stranded in an isolated rest house by flooding of the railway tracks. Looking back over the years, Joan painfully re-examines her attitudes, relationships and actions and becomes increasingly uneasy about the person who is revealed to her…
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying echoing down one of the long corridors. The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. One day, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in–and becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
Constance Chatterley feels trapped in her sexless marriage to the invalid Sir Clifford. Unable to fulfil his wife emotionally or physically, Clifford encourages her to have a liaison with a man of their own class. But Connie is attracted instead to her husband’s gamekeeper and embarks on a passionate affair that brings new life to her stifled existence.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows us the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is an enduring classic of children’s literature, and has been beloved by readers of all ages since its publication in 1908. A timeless collection of stories told with a focus on children’s perspectives.
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?