My Ántonia (1918) by American author, Willa Cather (1873 — 1947), was considered Cather’s first masterpiece. My Ántonia is the last book of her “prairie trilogy” of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark.
The novel takes place in 19th-century Nebraska and tells the stories of an orphan boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the eldest daughter in an immigrant family from Bohemia, Ántonia Shimerda, who were each brought to be pioneers. There in the lifeless prairie, Ántonia makes friends and improves the condition of the land.
The first year in the prairie leaves lifelong impressions in both children, a theme that’s explored throughout the novel. Cather was highly praised for My Ántonia, giving life to the American West and making it fascinating to readers.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1874 – 1942) has been a classic children’s novel almost from the time it was first published in 1908. It’s the first of a series of novels detailing the adventures of an orphan girl named Anne Shirley from the age of eleven through adulthood.
Anne is mistakenly sent to two siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert interested in adopting a boy to help them on their farm. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island and follows Anne as she makes her way through life with the Cuthbert siblings, school friends, and townspeople. Read More→
Angela Carter (1940 – 1992), born Angela Olive Stalker, was an English novelist, short story writer, and journalist. Known as one of Britain’s most original writers, she was best known for her eclectic range of themes and influences. Her work breaks taboo, often being labeled provocative.
Carter was a strong believer in women having control over their own narrative. Most famous for her 1979 collection, The Bloody Chamber, a re-envisioned version of the classic European fairy tales, she went on to publish dozens of books. Here are memorable quotes by Angela Carter from her novels and other literary works:
The Age of Innocence (1920) by Edith Wharton (1862 – 1937) is considered one of this classic American author’s finest works. In 1921, it earned Wharton the distinction as the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
The story is set in the 1870s and centers on Newland Archer, an upper-class New Yorker. Archer’s conflicted desires between duty to his staid but loving wife and his passion for scandal-plagued divorcée Countess Ellen Olenska are central to the narrative. The overarching conflict explored by the novel is the extent to which an individual should allow the rules of society to overrule what the heart desires. Read More→
Persuasion (1817) is the last novel that beloved British author Jane Austen completed. It was published six months after her death. It may well be Austen’s most romantic story, and yet, as with her other works, it’s far from frivolous, exploring themes of lost love, missed opportunity, heartbreak, and becoming one’s own person.
Anne Elliot, who is twenty-seven when the story begins, is a member of a family who suffers the indignity of having to lower their status as a way to get out of debt. At twenty-seven, a woman of that time would have been considered far from the bloom of youth. Read More→