My Favorite Top 10 Classic Romances and Love Stories

Old books on table on brown backgroundby Tamera Lynn Kraft

It’s almost Valentine’s Day when our thought turn to romance and love. There’s nothing better on Valentine’s Day than to pull out some of your favorite love stories. Here are my favorite classic romances and love stories.

10. Persuasion by Jane AustinWritten as the Napoleonic Wars were ending, the novel examines how a woman can at once remain faithful to her past and still move forward into the future. Anne Elliot seems to have given up on present happiness and has resigned herself to living off her memories. More than seven years earlier she complied with duty: persuaded to view the match as imprudent and improper, she broke off her engagement to a naval captain with neither fortune, ancestry, nor prospects. However, when peacetime arrives and brings the Navy home, and Anne encounters Captain Wentworth once more, she starts to believe in second chances.

9. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (All right. Technically it’s a play. But it’s still one of the greatest love stories of all times.)

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud.

In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond as if it were about all young lovers.

8. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

5. Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

The year is 1792. The French Revolution, driven to excess by its own triumph, has turned into a reign of terror. Daily, tumbrels bearing new victims to the guillotine roll over the cobbled streets of Paris.… Thus the stage is set for one of the most enthralling novels of historical adventure ever written.

The mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, sworn to rescue helpless men, women, and children from their doom; his implacable foe, the French agent Chauvelin, relentlessly hunting him down; and lovely Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful French exile married to an English lord and caught in a terrible conflict of loyalties—all play their parts in a suspenseful tale that ranges from the squalid slums of Paris to the aristocratic salons of London, from intrigue on a great English country estate to the final denouement on the cliffs of the French coast.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

3. Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte

A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighborhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’

Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities portrays a world on fire, split between Paris and London during the brutal and bloody events of the French Revolution. After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There, two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Next Wednesday I’ll list my favorite contemporary love stories and romances. Which are your favorites? Would you add any? Please comment.

Missing One of these?

by Carole Brown

Want to join the people falling in love with Appleton, WV?

Want to learn who the next protagonist in this series will be?

Want to know what cozy mystery will be in the fourth book?

Then keep up with the this unique group of friends and the small town of Appleton.

Reviewers thoughts:

~~This is a fast paced, enjoyable read. In fact, when my copy ‘vanished’ from my Kindle for some strange reason, I quickly bought another so that I could finish the story!~~

~~Knight In Shining Apron by Carole Brown, is a delightful Christian book set in the beautiful little town of Appleton West Virginia.~~

~~“Undiscovered Treasure” by Carole Brown is a truly remarkable story about how true love never gives up and never dies.~~

Toby’s Troubles is the fourth book,

but in the meantime…

Enjoy:

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OR…

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Happy Reading!

Dan Brown…and Chipper

by Carole Browndan-brown

I’m tickled pink to feature this man (and my love!) here today on this blog. He’s an inspiring, creative author, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this short interview and a peek at all the Chipper books he has published. (More coming…) 

chipper-learns-a-lesson-copy-copyWhat messages in your Chipper books do you want children to learn about? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? 

I want children to learn caring, helping, sharing, and to do the right thing. The spiritual theme is not an overt, in-your-face subject, but in learning right attributes, they are learning characteristics that will encourage them in the things of God. In the back of the books are short scriptures that they can learn or parents and children can discuss. And the discussion questions can help them to think about the themes in the books. Parents can gently guide their children by interacting with their children as they talk about these. 

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What’s next for you? Do you have another book being written now?

I have several short stories about Chipper ready to go, but holding off on these till at least two more of the Adventures of Chipper are ready for publishing. Life interferes (you’ve heard that before I’m sure) but I’m compiling and working on the creatures and plots for the next two books. Hopefully, God wills, these will be ready for my editor soon.

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What or who makes a successful person/author, in your opinion?

As far as an author goes: my personal opinion is a someone who understands the power of the written word and being so intrigued and fascinated  by their own characters that they are there with them in heart and mind. 

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Why do you think this book resonates with readers?

Because the character Chipper helps young people and children to learn, and sometimes–most times, I think–they do not even realize that. It shows them that they are someone and that they can be a better person. They can get caught up in these fun and entertaining books and learn from them without even consciously knowing that.

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What is YOUR favorite part about these books or why do you love this series? Why should children read them?

  • Chipper’s outpouring love and concern, and being willing to give his all for the other characters in the books.
  • Why? For the children? Because Chipper and the other characters are interesting and exciting, enlightening and helpful. And funny!
  • For the parents? They are giving their children the opportunity to learn characteristics that will hopefully improve their children’s actions and attitudes. And it gives them opportunities to spend quiet, devotional times with them.

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Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?

I felt a need to instruct children and young people (and yes, there are some young people who’ve read and enjoyed the books!) in things that matter.

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Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?

  • Mainly from God’s creation
  • A mystery! Seriously, through a great imagination. 🙂
  • Perhaps in some ways–I think most authors do. How could we not? 

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Thanks, Dan, for joining us today and sharing a few things with us.

Readers, be sure to check out this link!

Amazon

The Adventures of Chipper!

by Carole Brown

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If you’re old enough, you’ve read/seen about Dennis the Menace. Nowadays there’s all kinds of books with characters that entertain.

But have you read about CHIPPER?

He’s a fairly new “KID” on the block, and the eight books (so far) in this series are filled with tons of adventures for kids. There are quiet lessons for children to identify with and learn from too: 

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  • the results of childish rebellions,
  • facing up to bullies,
  • knowing when to say no to taunts and dares,
  • being brave when you’re scared,  
  • being loyal and helpful to your friends
  • and even a mystery!

Discussion questions and scripture verses for parents and children to enjoy are in the back of the book. 

Check out Dan Brown’s The Adventures of Chipper Books here: Amazon

Oh, yeah, on Thursday (this week) enjoy the interview with Dan Brown and find out why he’s writing these charming books...

Happy Reading!

New Books on the Block

By Carole Brown

One of the best moments in an author’s life is when a book of theirs releases. And probably one of the top pleasures it gives those who love to encourage, is to share the reward of a new book out from a fellow-author-friend. 

Today I want to share with you some new books that recently released and hope you’re intrigued enough to check them out! Here goes…

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Coloring Journal. Author: Sharon A. Lavy.

Why should you buy this book?

  • Throughout history, successful people have kept journals.
  • Writing letters and keeping a diary is an ancient tradition that dates back to 10th century Japan.coloring-journal3

 

  • We now know that journaling has a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being, and modern psychologists contend that regular journaling strengthens the immune cells.
  • Many artistic types swear that three pages a day of free writing by hand boost their creativity.

 

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  • Couple that with the accepted benefits of coloring for calming stress relief and we recognize the usefulness of providing a combination coloring journal.
  • As you fill the following pages with your thoughts and your unique style of expression, please dwell on the goodness of the creator and His great love for us.

Remember, Sharon has a many Adult Coloring Books for your pleasure and relaxation. Do check them out here: 

Sharon A. Lavy’s Amazon Books

 

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Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing (Writing to Publish Book 1)

Why should you buy this book? 

  • Do you see yourself as a writer?
  • Is your dream to publish?

Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing helps you create a map you can follow to make your dream come true. The examples, reflective assignments, and challenges walk each reader through the process of constructing a thoughtful and achievable plan. While the handbook offers examples of structure, it is in no way formulaic. The plan you design to be a published author is customized to fit your personality traits, your specific gifts, and your busy life.

Check it out HERE:

Rebecca W. Water’s Amazon Book

THERE you have it! Some books to catch your attention this month! Enjoy.

Top 10 Classic Christmas Stories of All Time

Stack of books and other presents in basket. Christmas decoratioby Tamera Lynn Kraft

After all the decorations are put up and the cookies are baked and the presents are wrapped than to sit down with a classic Christmas story that you remember from your childhood Christmases. Here are my top 10 favorite classic Christmas stories of all time.

10. Christmas Day In the Morning by Pearl S. Buck: A classic tale about how showing love to the people closet to us is the most important Christmas gift we could ever give. You can read it online at this link.

9. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: This newer classic tells a story about a boy learning the importance of belief. Every year, hundreds of children are taking train rides across the country because of this story. A couple of years ago, I took the same train ride with my grandchildren. The first thing they did when the got home was too hand their bells on the Christmas tree.

8. The Little Match Stick Girl by Hans Christian Anderson: This is such a sad tear jerker about a poor little girl who gets to have the Christmas of her dreams. I remember the first time I read it as a young girl. The story stuck with me. To this day, I believe I am more charitable to those who have nothing partly because of this story. Don’t read it unless you have tissues handy.

7. The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke: The wise man who didn’t make it to birth of Christ in time finds out why Jesus really came to Earth. I remember reading this in Junior High School and how it brought alive the Christmas story in my heart.

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss: Before the movie with Jim Carey and before the cartoon we watched every Christmas season, there was this great story book written by Dr. Seuss. “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” Who could ever forget this line from this classic story?

5. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry: The best Christmas romance ever written. It shows how we sacrifice for the ones we love. I remember thinking when I first read this as a young girl that if I found a romance like this, I had found true love. Now that I’m an adult who has been married for many years, I’d have to say that I have found true love like this.

4. Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore: This original story about Santa Claus was a poem originally called A Visit from Saint Nicholas. It was originally printed in 1823 and has served to establish our modern version of Santa Claus. It also is the first time the eight reindeer were actually named. I doubt those same 8 reindeer are still living, but maybe their descendants were named similarly. Since Rudolf didn’t appear until a story book was written about him in 1939, obviously this happened before Rudolf saved the day.

3. The Tale of Three Trees by Author Unknown: This folklore story tells about three trees who served a great purpose. The first tree wanted to hold the greatest treasure in the world. The second tree wanted to be a strong ship for mighty kings. The third tree wanted to be the tallest tree in the forest. Each tree thought it’s wish didn’t come true, but in reality, each tree ended up fulfilling its purpose in a way it never imagined. Angela Hunt wrote a novel based on this story.

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: This story of repentance set at Christmas times is the best Christmas story other than the real story in the Bible. Scrooge is a mean stingy old man who is visited by three spirits where he learns the true meaning of Christmas. This story has been made into many movie adaptations, but the original novel is far better than any of them because it shows Scrooge’s redemption from the first visit. By the time the ghost of Christmas future visits, Scrooge is a changed man.

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1. The Nativity Story:  This is the story of Christmas. Without Christ being born in Bethlehem, this would be a very dark world.

(Luke 2:1-21)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Nosy Bits of Information About Andy and Caroline…

Undiscovered Treasures
(Book Three of the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series)
By Carole Brown

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Why did I write this book?

Several years ago, my agent urged me to write a romance novel for a certain publishing group. I did, and while I was at it, decided to write about three friends, all living in the made up town of Appleton, WV. Each had their own story, but the romance books didn’t go anywhere (because I’m not a “per se” romance writer. But when a current editor asked me for a new series, I thought about these three books and wondered if I could turn them into light mysteries. Ta da: the Appleton, WV series was born!
How much of myself do I put into my books?

Almost always little dabs of this and that. I love antiques and flea markets, cats, flowers (including Caroline’s favorite: daisies) and coffee. If I drink tea, I’m a Tea Snob (same as Caroline). I’m clumsy and fall over practically nothing (Caroline too!).
What are your main characters like?

In Undiscovered Treasures, Caroline Gibson, is a “home-town” girl. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence in her own looks, is clumsy, and sometimes quite outspoken. But she’s loyal, trustworthy, and soft-hearted, always watching out for the “underdog,” helps her brother run a successful business, writes plays, and oversees the local youth organization at her church. palette2-free

Andy Carrington, on the other hand, is quiet, but confident in his own abilities, friendly, a dedicated Christian, and an up-and-coming famous artist. He’s best friends with Caroline’s brother, and grew up with him and Caroline. Best of all, he’s loved Caroline forever and trusts God to direct his and her life.
Where did I get the title for this book?

When I plotted for the third friend (Caroline), I decided a junk/antique/collectibles store would be fun and unique. It also fit her personality. Having a brother and sister run the store worked well with the plot and giving them both a bit of wittiness added interest to the novel. I also thought this title played into the emotional love story part of the plot. Caroline, always dreaming of a real live prince for her life, doesn’t realize that she already has one. It’s only when she discovers Andy’s virtues that she finally clasps the truth: Andy is her treasure, chosen by God, just for her.
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Why a cat in the story?

It played into Caroline’s personality very well. I can just see her volunteering at the local pet shelter. Angel, the cat, also was a ready (or not) listener when Caroline needed a sounding board.

 
How does the music box play into the plot?music-box-free

It’s a constant reminder–and not a very welcome one–that her life is somewhat unsatisfactory. She thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a “prince” riding up to save her from a mundane existence, but really, it’s more like the proverbial ostrich inserting his head into the sand, and unwilling to accept the will of God for her life.
Why have Caroline travel out of the U.S. when she’s such a homebody?

Having her travel, which she isn’t totally fond of, forces her to climb out of her comfort zone. She knows what she has to do–make an apology–whether everything turns out the way she wants it to or not, and because she has to travel a distance, she has plenty of time to ruminate on her “follies.” Overall, a good disciplinarian action for her.

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Is there a spiritual thread?

Yes. Accepting God’s will for our lives. We can’t make things happen the way we want, and if we force the issue, most times, it turns out to be an unsatisfactory situation. Caroline has to learn that, and once she does, she couldn’t be happier.

 

 

Happy Reading!