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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Well, my dear, take heart. Some day, I will kiss you and you will like it. But not now, so I beg you not to be too impatient.

Margaret Mitchell’s page-turning, sweeping American epic has been a classic for over eighty years. The lovers at the novel’s centre – the selfish, privileged Scarlett O’Hara and rakish Rhett Butler – are magnetic: pulling readers into the tangled narrative of a struggle to survive that cannot be forgotten.

Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions against the tense historical background of the American Civil War. A superb piece of storytelling that may break your heart several times, but it will be worth it. 

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernesty Hemingway

Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already?

Paris in the twenties: Pernod, parties and expatriate Americans, loose-living on money from home. Jake is wildly in love with Brett Ashley, aristocratic and irresistibly beautiful, and as they travel from the wild Parisian nightlife to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates, their affair is strained by new passions and new jealousies. 

The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, FiestaThe Sun Also Rises is a poignant love story and true masterpiece. 

Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence

They looked at each other and laughed, then looked away, filled with darkness and secrecy. Then they kissed and remembered the magnificence of the night. 

Women in Love begins one blossoming spring day in England and ends in the biting snow of the Alps. Ursula and Gudrun are very different sisters who become entangled with two friends, Rupert and Gerald, who live in their hometown. The bonds between the couples quickly become intense and passionate, as they struggle in a world that is increasingly violent and destructive

Dark, but filled with bright genius, Women in Love is a prophetic masterpiece, filled with perceptions about sexual power and obsession. Widely regarded as D. H. Lawrence's greatest novel, it is both a lucid account of English society before the First World War, and a brilliant evocation of the inexorable power of human desire. 

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.

Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is a classic tale of love and adultery. Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.

The sweeping love story explores the lives of two people who defy the conventions of their age to follow the dictates of their hearts, but can they live by love alone? In this novel Leo Tolstoy, the great master of Russian literature, charts the course of the human heart. 

 

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it.

What fuels jealousy and forgiveness? How does passion change one’s course of life? In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, has been cheating on his wife, Violet.  Jazz begins with a love affair and its fatal consequences, and as this story unfolds Toni Morrison brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.

This passionate, profound story of love and obsession isn't a typical romance, but with raw power and incredible empathy Toni Morrison illuminates the darker aspects of human nature.

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

I say 'her', but the pronoun is one of the most terrifying masks man has invented; what came to Charles was not a pronoun, but eyes, looks, the line of the hair over a temple, a nimble step, a sleeping face.

Charles Smithson, a respectable engaged man, meets Sarah Woodruff as she stands on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, staring out to sea. Charles falls in love with the mysterious woman, but is already engaged to another. What follows is a love triangle defies all conventions.

Compulsively readable, The French Lieutenant's Woman is a feat of seductive storytelling that effectively invents anew the Victorian novel. The novel inspired the hugely successful 1981 film starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons and is today universally regarded as a modern classic.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.

On its first publication in 1925, The Great Gatsby was largely dismissed as a light satire on Jazz Age follies. Today, it is acknowledged as a masterpiece: a love story, an exploration of the American dream and arguably the greatest American novel of the 20th century

Narrator Nick Carraway tells the story of his neighbour Jay Gatsby, whose parties at his Long Island mansion are as lavish as his past is mysterious. Yet Gatsby cares only for one of his guests: Daisy Buchanan, now married and living across the bay.  

Arguably the greatest American novel of the 20th century, Fitzgerald's simple story of lost love has captivated readers, film-makers and fellow writers for generations.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.

Two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, are like chalk and cheese when it comes to romance: Marianne wears her heart on her sleeve and her older sister Elinor is rational and cautious. When Marianne falls for the charming but unsuitable John Willoughby, Elinor warns her that her impulsive behaviour could become the centre of gossip and scandal. At the same time, Elinor struggles to keep her own lonely experience of heartbreak private.

 In a world governed by the codes of polite society, money, and patriarchal concerns, the two sisters learn from each other that in their world, a mixture of sense and sensibility is required to find a lasting romance. Published anonymously by ‘A lady’ in 1811, Sense & Sensibility is of the best-loved novels by Jane Austen.

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