Edward P. Roe
As a practical joke at a house party, a young and beautiful socialite tries to make a fool out of a visiting young missionary to amuse her friends. She pretends to be a seeker in order to win his affections, but gets a lot more than she bargained for...
This 2nd volume of the Marie Antoinette Romances continues the intrigues of "Balsamo, The Magician" and adds to them the schemes of philosophers and the stirrings of revolution. Balsamo (based on the real Count Alessandro di Cagliostro) carries on his occult tactics to weaponize the state secrets that he gained in the previous volume. A serious romance and illness takes root in the court of King Louis XV, convincing one of the leading philosophic minds of the era, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that “the breath of heaven will blast an age and a monarchy.”
George Payne Rainsford James
In the backwoods, lives a man and his two teenage children. He has sought the quiet life on the frontier, although he is a friend to all and never turns away a stranger. One evening, one such stranger arrives at his door, asking for shelter for the night and he is not disappointed. But who is this stranger? He does not give his name or his errand, although he has an aristocratic bearing. As they are about to leave the table, a third man, apparently known to both, arrives and lets himself in to claim hospitality. His mission is to hold counsel with the stranger and he invites their host to join them. Little do these parties know the actions of one of these men will bring heartache and destruction to the others assembled in that house. This is a story of friendship, love, danger and honor.
There are references and language some listeners may find offensive. It is Librivox policy to read texts in their original form without censorship.( Lynne Thompson)
Annie Fellows Johnston
When Bethany Hallam travels to Chattanooga for the League Conference, she meets David Herschel, who challenges her thinking and changes her views about her missionary obligations to God's "chosen people." ( Esther ben Simonides)
Clement had unwittingly succeeded where others had failed at mining in the western Colorado mountains. Now he found himself wanting to share his success with some deserving soul, and one day found a young dying woman to whom he seemed inexplicably drawn. However he had a past which his conscience told him must be revealed in order for him to be worthy of a dying woman's love. Should a man of means expend the effort to clear his conscience in order to attempt a relationship destined to last but a short time?
The Unclassed tells the story of two friends who are aspiring authors living in London in the late 19th century. Both of them fall in love. Both believe in social change but do not know how to bring it about. Both are skeptical about the values of their times. Both want respectability more then they would admit. This book, unlike many others of it's time, tells about working women, and includes honest descriptions of the slums of London.
Satirizes the rise of a young novelist (thought to be Richard Harding Davis, but denied as such by Churchill).
Jim Orrington, news reporter, is at the office when the Secretary of War brings in a letter--mostly likely a prank--that demands all the nations of the world to disarm in one year or have all their battleships destroyed. This letter, signed "The man who will stop all war", is ignored by Orrington's fellow reporters and by the U.S. government, but he decides to dig deeper. With the help of Tom and Dorothy Haldane, Jim Orrington embarks on an adventure around the world trying to stop the man who is determined to end all fighting before he catapults the entire world into chaos and war!
Kavanagh's books feature strong young women, like herself, and had much popular appeal among that audience during her lifetime. She lived most of her life in France, caring for her invalid mother, remaining unmarried. 'Rachel Gray' is founded on fact although the author used her imagination to embellish the story. She said that she wished to 'show the intellectual, the educated, the fortunate, that minds which they are apt to slight as narrow, that lives which they pity as moving in the straight and gloomy paths of mediocrity, are often blessed and graced beyond the usual lot, with those lovely aspirations towards better deeds and immortal things, without which life is indeed a thing of little worth; cold and dull as a sunless day.'
We find Rachel a dressmaker in a poor neighborhood in London, living with her step-mother and two apprentices. Unloved and lonely, she loses herself in contemplation of God, charity and the beauty of life; but her day-dreaming has led to the reputation of being "slow" or "dim-witted" and she is despised by all, except Richard Jones, the father of one of the apprentices. Rather than being one of the millions of anonymous poor, Rachel Gray proves herself to be one of those whom heaven smiles upon. ( Lynne Thompson)
Edward L. Wheeler
Fritz to the Front is the story of an Irish tramp who wants to be a detective, and is an expert at ventriloquism. The story opens with a mysterious elopement, which Fritz is asked to be a witness to at the wedding. The next day, Fritz meets the father of the bride and he claimed that his daughter is, at times, in a sense, mad. She falls into trances that can last for days. And while in this state met a young man who convinced her to steal 20,000 pounds and meet him in a small town and marry him. Is this story true? Or is it a fabulous falsehood created by the father for some reason of his own? Join Fritz on his quest to solve this mystery with many adventures along the way.
Crawford, Francis Marion
In 1880’s Boston, Mass. the good life is lead according to all the Victorian era societal rules of the New World. Political ambitions and the business of making money go hand in hand. A Senate seat suddenly opens up due to the current junior senator’s unexpected death, and the political machinations to fill the seat begin. Senatorial candidate John Harrington is a young idealist who thinks that fighting for truth and justice, regardless of political affiliation, is the way. But he is told he can’t possibly win because he isn’t partisan enough. His opponents in the iron mine, railroad and shipping business sabotage his first bid for office, because he wants to do away with protectionism in trade to open up global competition. He eventually succeeds in winning a Senate seat. He gives a rousing speech to Congress as they gather to elect a President in a race which has ended in a three way tie. His message is that blindly following a party’s positions and principles is not being free and independent, and will not always lead to the best person being elected, or to the best decisions being made for the country as a whole. (Summary written by Maire Rhode)
Sara Jeannette Duncan
The Canadian author Sara Jeannette Duncan (aka Mrs. Everard Cotes) is today best known for her 1904 novel of Ontario life, “The Imperialist” (also available as a LibriVox recording), but in Duncan’s own time readers were impressed more by her other works, including “A Daughter of Today,” published in 1894. “A Daughter of Today” follows the story of Elfrida Bell, a young woman who escapes the American Midwest to pursue first an artistic education in Paris, and then a novice career in journalism in London. As the novel’s title indicates, Elfrida is a product “of today,” i.e., of her day — the 1890s. She is swept up in the heady notions of that period: Aestheticism (“art for art’s sake”), fin-de-siècle Decadence, and ideas about the “New Woman” who breaks free of bourgeois conventions. With the self-absorption of youth, Elfrida sets about constructing herself along these lines. She pursues this project with bracing energy, mixed with pretension and affectation: “In nothing that she said or did, admired or condemned, was there any trace of the commonplace, except, perhaps, the desire to avoid it.” Early reviewers debated whether the character of Elfrida was “fresh and original,” or simply “ill-bred.” This novel explores clashes between convention and originality, cultural differences (American /French /British), and rivalry between friends.
This is the coming of age story of Bessie Fairfax. A story about a girl who learns to see the world is it is and navigate in it. This is a vivid and charming story by Harriet Parr, who wrote under the pseudonym of Holm Lee. She was a best selling author in her days, admired even by Charles Dickens. Her descriptions of the English town, which was fast disappearing due to the industrial revolution, reminds one of novels by Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot.
Maurice Henry Hewlett
My story will take you into times and spaces alike rude and uncivil. Blood will be spilt, virgins suffer distresses; the horn will sound through woodland glades; dogs, wolves, deer, and men, Beauty and the Beasts, will tumble each other, seeking life or death with their proper tools. There should be mad work, not devoid of entertainment. When you read the word Explicit, if you have laboured so far, you will know something of Morgraunt Forest and the Countess Isabel; the Abbot of Holy Thorn will have postured and schemed (with you behind the arras); you will have wandered with Isoult and will know why she was called La Desirous, with Prosper le Gai, and will understand how a man may fall in love with his own wife. Finally, of Galors and his affairs, of the great difference there may be between a Christian and the brutes, of love and hate, grudging and open humour, faith and works, cloisters and thoughts uncloistered—all in the green wood—you will know as much as I do if you have cared to follow the argument.
Margaret O. Oliphant
“The device on his shield was a young oak tree pulled up by the roots, with the Spanish word Desdichado, signifying Disinherited.” The novel opens with Mrs. Murray walking with two of her grandchildren along the banks of Loch Arroch in the Scottish border country. They appear to be well-to-do and distinguished, but all is not well within the family and sacrifices are necessary.
Richard Doddridge Blackmore
Cradock Nowell: a Tale of the New Forest is a three-volume novel by R. D. Blackmore published in 1866. Set in the New Forest and in London, it follows the fortunes of Cradock Nowell who, at the end of Volume 1, is thrown out of his family home by his father following the suspicious death of Cradock's twin brother Clayton. It was Blackmore's second novel, and the novel he wrote prior to his most famous work Lorna Doone. ( Wikipedia)
*Warning: Some listeners may be offended by some of the language. Words that were considered acceptable in the nineteenth century are not always politically correct today. It is LibriVox policy to leave the original wording as the author intended.
Francis Marion Crawford
Katherine Lauderdale would be a New York society belle, if it were not for her miserly father. Her older sister has escaped the unhappy parental home by marrying and Katherine plans to do the same, but her father has already refused to sanction her nuptials with her cousin and childhood sweetheart, Jack Ralston. How will the young couple's defiance of family and society affect their future life together? Will they even be able to have a future together?
Edward P. Roe
Walter Gregory is a gentleman whose health is broken down by the stress of Wall Street and the consequences of his fast lifestyle. Disillusioned in love and betrayed in friendship, he returns to visit his childhood home in the country. Who is this young woman Annie Walton he finds there? Can she truly be as good as she seems? He determines to test her character to the utmost. Deceitful villains, fire, death, and nautical disasters all try our hero and heroine. She has shown him the saving faith that gives life. Can he rescue her from a false fiancé who would ruin hers? (LikeManyWaters)
Memories haunt Elsie Kilner at every turn. Kicked out of her family home, she finds a new abode in which she finds fragments of a diary. It begins with the words: "If I only knew that some one would be kind to Jamie". Finding a kindred spirit in the author of the diary, Elsie goes on a search.
Margaret O. Oliphant
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." So said Abraham Lincoln in 1858. Here we have the irascible Mr. Waring, an elderly English ex-patriot, living in Italy with his charming daughter, Frances. Mr. Waring was there long before the hotels and the tourists, and resents them all, especially the gawkers, of which there were many... and most of them fellow Englishmen. We see that petite Frances is mistress of the house, and carries out her duties in the fashion of a true English lady, although this is more by accident than design, since she barely remembers the land of her birth, nor are there any English ladies to guide her. But, sweet as she seems, there is another side to her character, which makes itself known when an unexpected visitor arrives.( Lynne Thompson)
Francis Marion Crawford
Katharine Lauderdale would be a New York society belle, if it were not for her miserly father. Her older sister has escaped the unhappy parental home by marrying and Katherine plans to do the same, but her father has already refused to sanction her nuptials with her cousin and childhood sweetheart, Jack Ralston. Desperate measures are needed and what role will rich Uncle Robert play in the future of the young people? ( Lynne Thompson)
Francis Marion Crawford
Katharine has married Jack Ralston secretly and hoped to force her rich uncle's hand in assisting him to find a career. After his refusal, she couldn't face her new husband to break the news and a series of mishaps led everyone - Katharine included - to believe Jack had fallen victim to the demon he had been fighting: drink. Realizing that she need not acknowledge the marriage, yet unable to continue on as a single woman, she attends a dinner with some misgivings, knowing she will be seated by him. Meanwhile, he is confused by her cold treatment of him, assuming she had received the letter he sent her. All is explained at the dinner - but what will they do now? Continue as if nothing had happened? Or has the misunderstanding caused too great a rift? Will Jack 'buckle down' and take the boring office job he has already rejected, in order to be able to claim his wife and support her? Does the west hold the promise of a new beginning? Or will they swallow their pride and accept the very generous gift from Uncle Robert, which they have already rejected in order to make their own way? And how does Frank Miner's news that Uncle Robert intended to buy the newspaper affect things? In this sequel to Katharine Lauderdale, we follow the newly married couple as they navigate the treacherous waters of married bliss.
Richard Doddridge Blackmore
Who is Bardie? Her refined clothes show that she is not an ordinary girl. But why did she have to be saved from the sea by a fisherman? This story is through the eyes of the fisherman, who followed Bardie throughout her childhood and attempted to discover her roots.
Marion Fay (1882) offers a pair of romances, each involving a match between one titled personage and one commoner. The misalliances lead to the typical strains between parental desires and romantic wishes of the young. The novel’s primary characters have such noble dispositions that Trollope was impelled to create several far more interesting minor characters who either threaten mayhem or provide amusing diversions.
Rosa Nouchette Carey
Mr. Ward is a failing artist. His two daughters, Mollie and Waveney, are very close. However when the financial situation becomes insufferable, and Waveney has to enter service, the sisters have to part for the first time. The book tells both stories in a realistic and engaging way. It gives us, the readers, insight into every aspect of the sisters' lives from managing a household to going out with friends to treating servants and, of course, their love for each other.
Rosa Nouchette Carey
Doctor Markus Luttrell and his new wife Olivia, a former governess, are trying to start building their nest. Problems arise when doctor Luttrell cannot find work and Olivia has to take care of the house. The financial problems make their marriage more and more difficult. They make ends meet before their rich neighbor needs doctor Luttrell. Would they be able to come up in the world? Would they be happy?
Indefer Jones struggles to name an heir to his estate. Will he choose his favorite niece, Isabel, or a male heir? The story turns on the trouble that arises when Indefer fails to tell anyone his final decision before passing away.
Craik, Dinah Maria Mulock
This novel, published in 1856, was one of the popular and beloved novels in the Victorian era. It is told in the first person by Phineas Fletcher, an invalid son of a Quaker tanner who is presented to us in the beginning as a lonely youth. John Halifax, the first friend he ever had, is a poor orphan who is taken in by his father to help in the work which his sickly son can't constantly do. Phineas tells us in an unforgettable way how John succeeded in rising from his humble beginning and become a wealthy and successful man. But with the money come horrible troubles... In an unforgettable manner, we learn to know all the characters of the novel as if they really lived.
Most times, especially in the time when this book was written (1895), it is just as nature and society would wish: a man and woman "fall in love" and get married. But it is not so for Herminia Barton and Alan Merrick. They do indeed fall in love, but Herminia has a deeply held belief in freedom for women, and she holds immutable views against what she perceives as the slavery of marriage.
Alan unwillingly agrees to her strong wish to remain unmarried and to live together as "close and dear friends". When the birth of their child is imminent, they go to his beloved Italy to avoid the condemnation of English society.
From this point on, many questions are raised: is marriage indeed so important? Is strong will always good? Is it right to go against society? And if it is, when should we stop and consider the effects on other people? What should a child do when she is raised to be what her mother dreams and develops her own dreams in the process? And, finally, how much should parents sacrifice for their children?
Orphan boy Oliver is forced into child labor at an early age, and after a simple plea for more food, finds himself alone in the streets of London, where ultimately he becomes the center of attention for a gang of pickpockets.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles subtitled, "A Pure Woman," is the story of a young working woman named Tess Durbeyfield who is sent by her father to visit wealthy relatives. Her encounter with Alec d'Urberville changes her life forever, and brings about a doom that no one could have foreseen.
The plot of Là-Bas concerns the novelist Durtal, who is disgusted by the emptiness and vulgarity of the modern world. He seeks relief by turning to the study of the Middle Ages and begins to research the life of the notorious 15th-century child-murderer Gilles de Rais. Through his contacts in Paris (notably Dr. Johannes, modeled after Joseph-Antoine Boullan), Durtal finds out that Satanism is not simply a thing of the past but alive in turn of the century France. He embarks on an investigation of the occult underworld with the help of his lover Madame Chantelouve. The novel culminates with a description of a black mass. (Wikipedia)
Reader's note: This novel certainly reaches to the depths of depravity and blasphemy, and achieved some notoriety for doing so. A redeeming feature, if one is required, is that Durtal begins in this book a pilgrimage; like Dante's hero, he begins this in a horrible and God-forsaken place.
Ros, Amanda McKittrick
Amanda McKittrick Ros, a Northern Irish writer, did for the novel what William McGonagall did for poetry and Florence Foster Jenkins for the coloratura voice. She published a number of novels (all at her own expense) and in addition to being a novelist was a poet, her best known being 'Visiting Westminster Abbey' which begins
Take a look!
Flesh decayed in every nook!
Some rare bits of brain lie here,
Mortal loads of beef and beer.
Louisa May Alcott
Eight Cousins, or The Aunt-Hill was published in 1875 by American novelist Louisa May Alcott. It is the story of Rose Campbell, a lonely and sickly girl who has been recently orphaned and must now reside with her maiden great aunts, who are the matriarchs of her wealthy Boston family. When Rose's guardian, Uncle Alec, returns from abroad, he takes over her care. She is suddenly confronted with a male guardian and seven male cousins, none of whom she knows well.
Here are some classic, short Christmas stories from Charles Dickens, who, one may easily argue, was the greatest Christmas storyteller to date. In this season, may we do as Dickens' asked: "Welcome, everything! Welcome, alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your places round the Christmas fire, where what is sits open-hearted!" Happy Holidays!
The Cossacks (1863) is an unfinished novel which describes the Cossack life and people through a story of Dmitri Olenin, a Russian aristocrat in love with a Cossack girl. This text was acclaimed by Ivan Bunin as one of the finest in the language.
Additional proof-listening was done by mim@can & katzes.
A coming-of-age story about Edwin Clayhanger, who leaves school, has his ambition to become an architect thwarted by his tyrannical father, Darius, and so works in the family printing business. Edwin eventually takes over the business successfully. The story follows Edwin’s relationships with his family and the mysterious Hilda Lessways.It is the first book of four in the Clayhanger series, following Edwin’s life.
Joseph Conrad was born in former Poland, spent part of his childhood exiled in Russia because of his father's Polish nationalist political activities, learned and read French early, and did not speak a word of English until his late teens. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that when Conrad came to write this, his first novel, it centred on the pain of having a contested sense of identity, the experience of having to choose, in the midst of argument and derision, whether one was really 'this or that'. The Almayer of the story is a morose and hapless trader of Dutch extraction, settled in shambolic poverty on a river in Borneo. He dreams of finding gold inland and taking his mixed-race daughter Nina triumphantly to the Netherlands, where neither of them has ever been. Nina and her strong-willed Filipina mother, however, prove to have quite different loyalties and a quite different plan — though this plan, in turn, soon appears to come unstuck.
The author: "This little tale was begun at first merely for my own amusement. It is published that I may reconcile my conscience to the time which it has employed, by making it in some degree useful. Let not the term so implied provoke a smile! If my book is read, its uses to the author are obvious. Nor is a work of fiction necessarily unprofitable to the readers."Jane Austen comments about this novel in a letter to her sister: “I am looking over Self Control again, & my opinion is confirmed of its’ being an excellently-meant, elegantly-written Work…”
William Henry Hudson
In W.H. Hudson’s first novel, an Englishman wandering on horseback across the pampas finds adventure and romance in Uruguay. The full title became: “The Purple Land: Being the Narrative of One Richard Lamb's Adventures in The Banda Oriental, in South America, as Told By Himself”. In the preface to "The Sun Also Rises", President Teddy Roosevelt said that everyone should read "The Purple Land."
Published in 1812, “The Absentee” by Maria Edgeworth examines social injustice in 19th-century Britain. At that time, the management of many Irish estates suffered from the absenteeism of their Anglo-Irish landlords.
We meet Lord and Lady Clonbrony. Lord Clonbrony struggles with debt, while Lady Clonbrony tries to shed her Irish connections and earn status in London’s high society (known as “the ton.”) Meanwhile, their son, Lord Colambre, is wary of the entanglements of that society and escapes to the family estate in Ireland, where he discovers the abuses that have arisen in the family’s absence.
Maria Edgeworth was a pioneer of realism in fiction, and one of the most successful and popular novelists of her time. She offered satirical portraits of society manners and sympathetic treatment of regional life. Her work won admiration from authors such as Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott. “The Absentee” is named in the reference list “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.”
The Egoist is a tragi-comical novel by George Meredith published in 1879. The novel recounts the story of self-absorbed Sir Willoughby Patterne and his attempts at marriage; jilted by his first bride-to-be, he vacillates between the sentimental Laetitia Dale and the strong-willed Clara Middleton. More importantly, the novel follows Clara's attempts to escape from her engagement to Sir Willoughby, who desires women to serve as a mirror for him and consequently cannot understand why she would not want to marry him. Thus, The Egoist dramatizes the difficulty contingent upon being a woman in Victorian society, when women's bodies and minds are trafficked between fathers and husbands to cement male bonds.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Love, murder and class commentary in Mrs Gaskell's usual brilliant style! This novel was originally serialised and published by Charles Dickens, with whom Mrs Gaskell had several disagreements. She chose to avoid melodrama and concentrate on psychological realism to produce a moving story of people meeting and parting across class divides.
This is the first book of a trilogy (A Child of the Jago, To London Town) set in the harsh world of London's East End. Violence and poverty are everywhere, but the universal human emotions prevail despite the rawness of life. We come to love the characters and suffer with them in their misery, yet share in their joys and minor triumphs.
Alice Ilgenfritz Jones
In this work of utopian science fiction from the Victorian era written by Two Women of the West, a moniker for Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Marchant. A man travels to Mars to discover an Utopian world which is parallel to the Earth in some ways, but strikingly different in some. The freedom of women is not of this world. It is especially intriguing coming from the imagination of these two American women in the 19th Century
Rosa Nouchette Carey
Mildred wants to start her full life at the age of 28. She is looking forward to it until her brother asks her to come help in his home and care for his children. She has to take the role of "Aunt Milly," the almost happy and contented care taker. She meets Heriot, a woman doctor, who has her own ward. It remains for you to see how these women would influence each other. The book examines the role of a woman in society, and asks who is the strong woman? Is she the feminist or the ordinary? Would she be happy?
Best described as a fictional autobiography, Clark Johnson authored the following adventure to promote the sale of his brand of Homeopathic elixir or commonly known as "Snake Oil".
Using the fictitious hero's, Edwin Eastman and his wife, Mr. Johnson penned the hair raising tale of a pioneer family wandering off the wagon trail and straight into the heart of hostile Indian country. All but he and his wife were struck down in the ensuing battle. Captured, Edwin and Mrs. Eastman survived only to be imprisoned by the Comanche Nation with Mrs. Eastman eventually being sold to the Apache's. Edwin, lives among the Comanches for seven long and torturous years.
Demonstrating courage and tenacity, Edwin was taken in by the great medicine Chief Watkometkla. Allowed to live, Mr. Eastman gained valuable knowledge in the art of Homeopathic medicine and the Comanche way of life.
Through the adventure of his captivity, Mr. Johnson describes Edwin's life in detail. The Native American culture. The rise of new leaders. The preparation for war. Scenes of great battles. Habits, lifestyle and so on.
Mr. Johnson's knowledge of these various traits were unfortunately 'borrowed' from a previous novel published in 1854 and written by T.D. Bonner. The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth.
Pitou lost his mother when he was small. He was raised by a stern aunt who did not really love him. He starts knowing the world by going to service. How can this man, Pitou the Peasant (as the subtitle of the novel suggests) go on to influence the whole state? How can he go on and take a part in the French revolution? Can his motivation, coming from what he did not have, be enough?
Margaret O. Oliphant
Elinor has decided to marry. But who is the man she has chosen? No one seems to know. Is he of good character? Does he have a "past"? Or even a wife?
Considered an early masterpiece, "Madame de Mauves" is the first of Henry James's 'international contrasts'. It recounts the story of an American girl, Euphemia Cleve, through the eyes of her fellow countryman Longmore. Euphemia marries an impoverished French aristocrat, the Baron de Mauves, in the belief that he is the ideal of all her girlhood fancies. Longmore is the admiring spectator of her disillusionment. Is she really so unhappy as he imagines? What is, if any, the essential difference between an American idealist and a French man of the world?