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The Vagrant Mood

W. Somerset Maugham (Author)

The Vagrant Mood is a brilliantly varied and colourful collection of essays. From Kant to Raymond Chandler; from the legend of Zurbaran to the art of the detective story; from Burke to Augustus Hare, Somerset Maugham brings his inimitable mastery of the incisive character sketch to the genre of literary criticism

The Awakening

Kate Chopin (Author)

The Pontellier family are spending a hot, lazy holiday on the Gulf of Mexico. No-one expects that Edna Pontellier should be preoccupied with anything more than her husband and children. When an illicit summer romance awakens new ideas and longings in Edna, she can barely understand herself, and cannot hope for aid or acceptance in the stifling attitudes of Louisiana society.

Kate Chopin's compelling, candid portrait of a woman attempting to break free caused an outcry when first published in 1899.

Barchester Towers

Anthony Trollope (Author)

This 1857 sequel to The Warden wryly chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester. It opens with the Bishop of Barchester lying on his death bed; soon a battle begins over who will take over power, with key players including the rather incompetent Dr Proudie, his fiendishly unpleasant wife and his slippery curate, Slope. This is a wonderfully rich novel, in which men and women are too shy to tell each other of their love; misunderstandings abound; and Church of England officials are only too willing to undermine each other in the battle for power.

One of Trollope's best-loved novels, it is a dazzlingly real portrayal of nineteenth-century provincial England peppered with humour, wisdom and extraordinary characters.

Doctor Thorne

Anthony Trollope (Author)

Doctor Thorne was considered by Trollope to be the best of his works – a profound examination of the relationship between money and love, as it shifts away from the city of Barchester to a more rural setting.

Frank Gresham is bankrupt and in love. Unfortunately, the woman he loves, Mary Thorne, is illegitimate and broke. Frank's overbearing mother is against the match, insisting that Frank marry a wealthy heiress. Meanwhile, Doctor Thorne, Mary's uncle, knows a secret that could change everything - Mary is about to inherit a considerable fortune. But he wants the young lovers to make their decision unburdened by the knowledge. Will Frank succumb to family pressure, or go with his heart?

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