10 comforting classics to read after you run out of Jane Austen novels

10 comforting classics to read after you run out of Jane Austen novels

Readers have been turning to the comfort of Jane Austen for decades. During the World Wars, Austen sales spiked as soldiers and civilians sought solace in simpler, less terrifying times. Almost a century later and in the midst of uncertainty, readers voted Pride and Prejudice as the most comforting read for The Strand Bookstore’s first Stranded Book Club pick.

For me, the familiarity of Austen’s wit and wisdom is the epitome of comfort reading. Her settings are charming and quaint; her heroines are strong and steady. Reading about women who face challenges and overcome them with kindness and determination is ever so satisfying these days.

Austen novels soothe me during stressful times, and also lend themselves well to rereading again and again. Over the last few years, it’s become my habit to pick up a Jane Austen novel after releasing the Summer Reading Guide (sign up here to receive it in your inbox on May 14th) . When I crave a classic after reading tons of new releases, Austen is my go-to. I love the pleasing familiarity of her novels, but with every reread, I always notice something new.

10 comforting classics to read after you run out of Jane Austen novels

But what’s a girl to do when she’s run out of Austen novels to devour? Don’t worry. There are plenty more absorbing classics with heroines I can root for. Today I’m sharing 10 classic books to read after finishing your latest Austen novel.

These are stories of sisterhood, friendship, and community. The settings are cozy, dreamy, and easy to get lost in. Some are short enough to read in a day, and others are tomes worth reading over the next few months. Whatever your reading style, if you love Austen, you’ll likely enjoy one of these books next.

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

Author:
You simply can’t beat a book that turns on a stolen kiss in the Italian countryside. Read this slim novel about the awakening of sheltered Englishwoman Lucy Honeychurch (who is definitely in the running for Most Adorable Name in Literature) at the hands of an Englishman with little regard for convention, all while her uptight aunt is doing her darnedest to keep Lucy "proper" in society's eyes. (It's worth saying: the movie version is FANTASTIC.) More info →
Middlemarch

Middlemarch

Author:
If you find comfort in Austen's depictions of everyday life, turn to George Eliot next. Eliot’s hefty masterpiece combines her "study of provincial life" with a close look at several young couples who fall (or think they fall) in love. Who will find lasting happiness, and who won't, and why? By focusing on the narrow disappointments and particular joys of this small community, Eliot cuts to the heart of human nature. A novel about love, happiness, and second chances. I personally loved the audiobook version narrated by Juliet Stevenson. More info →
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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Author:
I'll bet you weren’t assigned this breezy Cinderella-ish story set in 1930s Britain back in English class. When a placement agency sends unemployed middle-aged governess Miss Pettigrew to the wrong address, she spends the best day of her life with a glamorous nightclub singer, extricating her hour by hour from one scrape after another. Light, charming and utterly delightful (though FYI, this was first published in 1938 and some conversations and attitudes feel quite dated to modern ears). If you love Austen's wit and need some more humor in your reading life, pick up this classic next. More info →
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The Enchanted April

The Enchanted April

This endearing classic begins when one woman reads an advertisement for a small tumble-down medieval castle addressed to “Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine.” She is suddenly struck by desire on this dreary, dripping day and finds a partner-in-travel to get away for a month. The two friends seek out two strangers to make a party of four women—one young, one old, two somewhere in the middle. As they travel to the Italian castle and spend the month finding out what they have in common, they find they are all unhappy with the life they find themselves leading. It's no spoiler to tell you: they come into their own. More info →
Little Women

Little Women

If you've already spent several rereads with the Bennett sisters, it might be time to hang out with the March sisters next. Alcott's 1869 novel about New England sisters growing up in the Civil War Era is an overwhelming crowd favorite. I only recently learned that Alcott herself didn't want to write Little Women: when a publisher asked her to write a book for girls, she put aside the thrillers she'd been writing and wrote about the only girls she knew— her sisters. The book's unexpected success changed her life and literary career. This backstory is reflected in the new 2019 film version, which would make a great book companion for some comfort-watching. More info →
I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle

Author:
Full of reflection and romance, this coming-of-age novel definitely belongs on any Austen-lover's shelf. 17-year-old Cassandra is a remarkable narrator, who captures her eccentric family’s daily life—in their ramshackle old English castle—in her diary. The three volumes which comprise this book are full of her funny and poignant stories. Completely charming and replete with love, magic, writer's block, and bear costumes. More info →
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The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle

Author:
This lesser known L.M. Montgomery novel is, in my opinion, a highly underrated classic. Valancy Stirling is a certified spinster; she's 29, unmarried, and living with her overbearing family. She finds her escape in books, dreaming of The Blue Castle, a setting in one of her favorite novels by John Foster. Valancy struggles to speak her mind, until some shocking news causes her to reevaluate everything. She stands up to her family, goes after her dreams, and truly blossoms. Her romantic journey, coupled with gorgeous descriptions of the Canadian setting, make this the perfect classic to read for your own escape. More info →
Cranford

Cranford

This cozy classic centers around an English country town and its residents, exploring everything from the mundane to the surprising. There's not much plot here, just the simple adventures of a group of women, their friendships, gossip, and witty observations. It's a short book, perfect for reading with a cup of afternoon tea. Those who love Austen's biting wit and social commentary will almost certainly enjoy Gaskell as well. More info →
84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road

Author:
A must-read for bibliophiles, and you'll feel compelled to discuss the heartwarming way books bring people together with all your book-loving buddies. This is the story of the twenty-year relationship between a New York writer and a gentlemanly London bookseller, as told through their correspondence. The epistolary nature of this classic is reminiscent of Austen's time. Perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. More info →
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Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

Author:
This sweeping novel set in Britain between the world wars chronicles the Flyte family’s unraveling—along with the rest of Britain’s aristocracy—as viewed through the wistful eyes of lieutenant Charles Ryder. It's haunting and melancholy, wistful and reverent. Themes of love, loss, and grace always capture my attention—I'm entranced by the family and the history and simply adore this book. Recommended reading for Downton Abbey fans. More info →
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Let’s settle this in the comments. What’s your favorite Austen novel? Do you have any other classic book recommendations to add to this list?

PS: If you can’t get enough classic lit, here are 25 must-read classics for women and for a modern flair, 7 favorite Jane Austen retellings.

10 comforting classics to read after you run out of Jane Austen novels

158 comments | Comment

158 comments

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    If you liked The Blue Castle, you will love The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCollough. It has the same premise of an unhappy, ill treated spinster lady who after getting a bad prognosis decides to change her life in a daring way. It is short, sweet, and totally engrossing. It’s in my top five favorite books of all time:)

      • Liz says:

        Yes, I just looked it up and saw there was a controversy, but McCullough denied it. I read The Ladies of Missalonghi first and just recently read The Blue Castle so I may be prejudiced. I noticed similarities in the plot and main characters right away, but to me they are just so distinctly different that I loved both for what they are…great stories.

  2. Great recommendations, Anne! I would also add:
    Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
    The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro – a modern classic, I guess)
    The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton – not exactly a comforting read! but a great book)

  3. Alison says:

    Really enjoyed both “The Blue Castle” and “84 Charing Cross Road!” Will look forward to checking out more on the list!

  4. Sara Kilpatrick says:

    Georgette Heyer belongs on this list! Her regency novels are funny, witty, endearing and completely lovely. I loved The Grand Sophy and I have a copy of Frederica sitting here waiting to be read.

    • Rose McGee says:

      Yes , definitely Georgette Heyer is a great choice. I am currently working my way through her Regency Novels. When I have finished the complete collection, I will start on Georgette Heyerdahl Detective Novels

      • Sherry André says:

        I too am working my way through Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels. Delightful, witty, humorous with nice plot twists.

  5. CRose says:

    Oh I LOVE The Blue Castle- it is so underrated, but in my humble opinion is one LM Montgomery’s best works.
    My comfort reads are basically anything by Austen, Louisa May Alcott or LM Montgomery. Also the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary and The Chronicles of Narnia (can you tell I like children’s literature?).

  6. Melissa says:

    Thanks for these recommendations! I have added them to my Goodreads TBR list and hope to get to them soon. Actually started Little Women yesterday and enjoying it!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I would add D.E. Stevenson’s Miss Buncle’s Book or Mrs Tim of the Regiment. I recommend them all the time as comfort reads.

    • Patricia says:

      Yes to both of these!
      Also want to add a book I just finished: a combination of Georgette Heyer Regency novels and Jane Austen’s lesser read “Lady Susan”. Also add in a heavy dose of magic…
      Sorcery and Cecelia, Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
      Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country
      by Wrede, Patricia C.

      • Barbara Somervaille says:

        Engrossed in Villett at the moment and so surprised that I haven’t heard much about this novel before. It’s wonderful writing – so descriptive and perceptive.

  8. Wendy says:

    I’d add Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. One of my favorites. Favorite Jane Austin? Tough one, but I do like Persuasion, so today I’ll go with that. 🙂

  9. Darlene says:

    For a retired 60 something teacher it’s children’s literature. Winnie The Pooh- I received it from a friend in second grade. I recently read Pennypacker’s – Pax, and Here In The Real World. There are some exceptional titles if being childlike feels comforting.

    • amber says:

      I just heard about Pax and am thinking about reading it with my boys. I am just wondering–Is it too awfully heart wrenching? I have a very sensitive one and don’t feel like right now is the time to read a tear jerker. But I have heard that it’s a good book, and one son in particular loves foxes. 🙂

  10. Delaney says:

    What an absolutely lovely list of some of my favorites! I also recommend The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. I just reread it, it’s eerily relevant (humans connecting and forging friendships without meeting in person for the first half of the book) and so comforting. Perfect for fans of 84, Charing Cross Road.

    I am currently reading Sense & Sensibility to my 12-year-old sister and it’s a little like getting to experience it for the first time again!

    • Guest says:

      Oh, Guernsey is a fabulous recommendation for right now! My favorite Austen is Pride and Prejudice which is tied with the Anne of Green Gable series as my favorite books of all time and also the most comforting to me.

  11. Barbara S Atkins says:

    I have read them all except “The Blue Castle”. FYI the links to Blue Castle are not working. It is on amazon. All of the others are on my list of favorite books but I think Miss Pettigrew might be really good for many people during our quarantine time as it does have humor.

  12. Sarah S says:

    I’m reading Little Women right now and it’s the perfect book for me in these times. I also read 84, Charing Cross Road last month as a comfort read. Happy to see both of these on your list. I’m always stuck on the question of favorite Austen. Anne Elliot is my favorite of her heroines, but I think P&P is overall at the top. Emma is a very strong third.

  13. Anne says:

    Thank you for this list! One I can also suggest is The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. It is comforting like a receiving a hug from old friends.

    • Barbara Somervaille says:

      Yay! A Rosamund Picher fan. I LOVE her books and actually got to meet her in Cornwall. Check out out two books full of comforting short stories – Flowers in the Rain + The Blue Bedroom. Delicious.

  14. Ann says:

    For some comfort that involves animals and those who love them, I recommend any of the “Creatures Great and Small” series by James Herriot.

  15. Tess says:

    Angela Thirkell, a 20th century writer whose novels are set in 19th century writer Anthony Trollope’s imaginary Barsetshire, is delightful. Yes, she can sometimes jar with the occasional racial and ethnic insensitivity, a common flaw in British literature written between the wars and earlier, but otherwise her books are so much fun! A couple of them have been reissued with introductions by Alexander McCall Smith, another comfort read writer. And then there is Miss Read who began writing gentle novels set in English villages in 1955. For those of you who have yet to be introduced to these authors, you are in for a real treat!

    • KT says:

      So many great suggestions in your post and in the comments. I love The Ordinary Princess by M M Kaye. If you can find the original illustrations they are just gorgeous! I will also second anything by Georgette Heyer as well as Mary Stewart’s novels. (They are a little dated but she does such a great job with the setting it really feels like an escape!) I also enjoy Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, and Anne of the Island, Little Women, Sorcery and Cecilia (only a recent discovery for me and a MUST for Georgette Heyer fans. It’s like a Heyer/Harry Potter mash up!), And I also enjoy D.E. Stevenson. Great suggestions!

    • Elisabeth says:

      Oh my goodness. These are all lovely (and I would go with earlier Thirkell as she writes with a lighter hand and doesn’t have as many offensive moments) — I also love Wives & Daughters (Recommended by Wendy above) and North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and Villette recommended by Byron above. I just reread (listened to) Northanger Abby and enjoyed it so much — so I would add that to the bunch.

  16. AnneHH says:

    Let me second the recommendation for Georgette Heyer…… She is a brilliant writer, I love her historical fiction and have just been devouring her mysteries, except for Penhallow which I won’t read again. (Not a comfort read.) Heyer should be on everyone’s list of comfort reads. She is the master!

  17. Loni says:

    I go back to Francesca Lia Block books. Weetzie Bat/Dangerous Angels- the comfort reads that helped me through hard times of my youth.

  18. Michelle says:

    This is EXACTLY the book list I need now – thank you, Anne!! I’m currently reading “The Enchanted April” and love it so much! So witty and fresh. I’m going to read “Emma” next or “Anne of Green Gables.” Or maybe I’ll give “Blue Castle” a try!!

    I was feeling tired of reading all the new releases that kept coming into my library holds, and not making any progress on the books I wanted to read the spring, so I decided to just read what I want and figured the library would be there for me when I was ready!! I finished “The Wind in the Willows” this weekend and it was so charming and comforting and such lovely descriptions of wild nature and pastoral British picnics. 😍

  19. Heretic here–I prefer to watch Jane Austen! I’ve read them all and enjoyed them a ton, but I prefer watching them! I love so many of the books on this list–you can’t go wrong with any of these.

  20. Cady says:

    Forget The Enchanted April, follow up Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day with the book by Elizabeth von Arnim that really deserves to be a classic and hunt down The Caravaners. A deeply funny, proto-feminist book with the least self-aware narrator in literature witnessing romance and not recognising it, written with a beautifully light touch. And for anyone who hasn’t read Mrs Tim of the Regiment by DL Stevenson, march straight there and read a truly lovely book about a harried young regimental wife trying to sort out family life.

  21. Saffron Garey says:

    My comforting re-reads are usually Robertson Davies’s Salterton Trilogy; like Austen, the more times I read them, the more I find.

  22. Candice Hope says:

    Pride and Prejudice is my yearly comfort read as well. I usually read it after Christmas. I return to many Austen novels and love to watch the BBC productions of them afterward. I look forward to adding your recommendations to my TBR list. Have you read any of the modern novels surrounding P&P such as The Trouble with Mr. Darcy? Wondering if any of those are notable reads.

  23. Gwen says:

    What a wonderful list of comfort reads, and so timely now! I’m making a list. Thanks for this great post and expanding my TBR.

  24. tanya says:

    HI! I would add “The Secret Garden” as a classic and as for comfort reading the Harry Potter series is one me and my kids like to re read.

  25. Heidi says:

    Another plug for Georgette Heyer here! Funny, well-written, and low stakes – at least her Regency romances. I haven’t read her other work.
    I’d also recommend Parnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley for bookish restfulness.

  26. It might be a bit outside of the genre, but Agatha Christie is comfort reading for me. Give me all the Poirot, Tommy & Tuppence, even the occasional smattering of Miss Marple..and I am a happy girl.

    • Megan says:

      Same here! And Dorothy Sayers, listening to one of hers on audio now. I think an old fashioned murder mystery can be very comforting, there is a rhythm and certain resolution to it.

      • Penelope says:

        Yes, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers are both wonderful comfort reads although Sayers has much more depth and emotion, of course.

    • Katie says:

      I just read two Agathas to help me get out of a reading slump! I usually turn to mystery when I don’t know what to read.

    • Lindsay says:

      Agreed! I love Agatha Christie. I’m reading Death on the Nile right now (since Kenneth Branagh’s remake is coming to theaters this fall), and it’s excellent.

  27. Glen says:

    I love 84 Charing Cross Road, but would also recommend her “Duchess of Bloomsbury Street” about when she finally managed to make the trip to London.

    • Judith in Bethesda says:

      Me,too! I was scrolling the comments for these. My favorite is The Long Winter but the most comforting is Little House in the Big Woods.

  28. Mary says:

    I strongly recommend the Jalna books by Mazo de la Roche. Have loved them ever since I was a teenager. Also, they take place in Canada and recount the stories of generations of one family.

  29. Sarah Schneider says:

    I regularly reread the entire Anne of Green Gables series as a comfort read. I would also recommend any of the books by James Herriot he tells stories about being a Veterinarian in Yorkshire before and after WW2, he is such an excellent storyteller and the chapters go from laugh out loud hilarious to touching and back again so well. I would second other recomendations for the Chronicles of Narnia, and I love anything by Madeline L’Engle for comfort reading.

  30. Marie says:

    I too am a huge Austen fan. I loved Cranford. My all time favorite book that has stayed with me is, A Gentleman In Moscow.

  31. Amapola says:

    I would add “Agnes Grey”a lesser known book from Anne Bronte. PBS rebrocasted recently a wonderful adaptation of “Howard’s End” by E. M. Foster. I’ve been reading “Miss Buncle’s Book”, just a light read to end the day also set in the 1920’s.

  32. Stacie says:

    I reread Beauty by Robin McKinley at least once a year. It’s my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. I find fairy tale retelling a to be so comforting. I also find myself relistening to the audiobook of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman each year. It’s a bit dark and a bit of a fairy tale.

    Historically my favorite Austen novel has been Persuasion but then I’ll reread P&P or Emma and change my mind. Lol Maybe I have a 3 way favorite but I love them all.

  33. Tara Nichols says:

    I’ll add my vote for Georgette Heyer. And if you love Jane Austen then go for Heyer’s regency romances. Heyer wrote in the early 20th century but she did so much research about the regency era that she was considered an undisputed expert. I just finished The Grand Sophy and really enjoyed it. And then for other comforting classics I’ll also recommend Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, and the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery (though if you haven’t read The Blue Castle read that first because it is SO WONDERFUL and doesn’t have Dean Priest in it 😆.)

  34. Jenni says:

    If I had to pick a favorite non-JA book it would always be A ROOM WITH A VIEW! I try to read it every year or two. Thanks for the Blue Castle recommendation. I put that one straight into my cart. James Herriot books are comforting and funny. Georgette Heyer novels, including her excellent mysteries are comforting escapes. Someone mentioned Anthony Trollope, but I would add that Joanna Trollope (his 5th-generation niece) is also a “curl up with a cup of tea” kind of book, but with modern day settings. Thanks for the list Anne!

  35. Paula Shreckhise says:

    Lots of good suggestions. I would add Eugenia Price. And Gilbert Morris, The Last Cavaliers trilogy. How about Goodbye Mister Chips.?

      • Suzanne says:

        So few people mention Eugenia Price. I just loved her! (Maybe not the last couple of books; I think old age had affected her mind at that point.) The Savannah books were so good.

        The Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters are old, comforting friends, if not exactly classics, lol.

  36. Janna says:

    Since my husband took me to PEI on our honeymoon, I can say I am a certified LM Montgomery fan. So I am delighted that “The Blue Castle” is included on this list! It is my favorite LM book after Green Gables and Anne of the Island. LM Montgomery fans should definitely check this one out.

    • Mandy says:

      I am currently reading the new The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadley about the middle Bennet sister, Mary. I am really enjoying it! And what about reading Jane Eyre during this time as a comfort read? I also loved the new film adaptation of Emma, which is available now to rent. I think Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel, but they are all delightful.

  37. Estella Houston says:

    I have read many of these wonderful books and look forward to finding some new favorites! I was particularly happy to see The Blue Castle amongst the “Comforting Classics”. As a longtime (and I DO mean loooooongtime) devotee of the Anne of Green Gables series, I went for years without realizing that L.M. Montgomery wrote many other amazing books. When I discovered them, I blitzed through them all, and continue to re-read them to this day! I highly recommend The Blue Castle to all who have not read it…you are in for a TREAT! I also recommend other, perhaps lesser known, L.M. Montgomery treasures such as A Tangled Web, Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, Kilmeny of the Orchard, and ALL of the compilations of her short stories!

    • Sue says:

      Yes, I would love to own A Scent of Water! I’ve enjoyed her other books, too. I’m delighted to see someone mentioned Miss Read and Mrs. Tim. Sadly,the library seems to have rid their shelves of them. Just rewatched The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel movie which is fun, but I prefer the book. Anne Elliot is my favourite Austen heroine.

  38. Melisa says:

    Oh, yes, anything by Elizabeth Goudge is beautiful and comforting. I especially enjoyed Green Dolphin St.
    Anything by Willa Cather is also a joy to read (esp. My Antonia and O! Pioneers).
    A more obscure – but no less enjoyable – title is Mrs. ‘arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico. It’s about a delightful British charwoman who fulfills a dream, and in doing so, inadvertently connects others. It’s lovely.
    Happy reading!

  39. Elaine says:

    I love JA but my favorite Austen book is probably Sense and Sensibility. Absolutely brilliant! My comfort reads have been mostly noted above: Little Women, Secret Garden, Ann of Green Gables, Gilead, Jayber Crow and Hannah Coulter (both by William Berry). I also love “The Grand Sophy” and anything by Barbara Kingsolver or Elizabeth Berg but my favorite book (maybe of all time) is “A Gentleman in Moscow”–perfect for a time like this with a whole different look at creating community in isolation.

    • Georgie Pillson says:

      When I think of comforting classics, I immediately think of the Mapp and Lucia series. Such witty dialogue and delightfully shallow characters, you can’t help but love them

  40. Stephany says:

    I haven’t read Cranford but did watch the BBC show/miniseries with Judie Dench last year. It was wonderful and I highly recommend it! I also want to give some love to Georgette Heyer. Her regency romances are delightful. Richard Armitage narrates some of her audiobooks, too, which makes them an extra special treat. I would like to suggest The Hobbit as a comfort classic. It is much lighter and more humorous than The Lord of the Rings trilogy but still contains lots of adventure and fairy tale characters. I read it almost every year. Thank you, Anne, for this great list!

  41. Sherry Johnson says:

    I love all of Helene Hanff’s books! Also anything by D.E. Stevenson. Many of her out of print novels are now being reprinted in paperback format. Delightful period romances.

  42. Mary says:

    Persuasion is such a beautiful novel with characters who mature and grow beyond the first love perspective of love.
    And Emma is probably my favorite friends-to-lovers novel.

  43. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for this I have only read Little Women from the list and have 2 on my tbr list. But I think the one I am going to read will be The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery. I have read the Anne series but this is my first time hearing about this book and it seems nice.

  44. Adriana Campos says:

    I was pleasantly surprised to read The Blue Castle after reading Anne of the Green Gables. This is a beautiful list. Thank you!

  45. Judy says:

    What a great list! It has some of my best-loved books on it. The Blue Castle has been one of my favourite books to reread since I was a teenager. Another great stand alone L.M. Montgomery book is A Tangled Web. The Jane Austen work I revisit most often is Persuasion. I am also a big fan of Georgette Heyer.

  46. Ruth O says:

    I am a heretic here, having no attraction to Jane Austen books (yes, I have tried, struggled through P&P) but like the movies. I dearly love Blue Castle! I also liked L.M Montgomery’s other family stories, Pat of Silver Bush and also the 3 Emily books. Cozy reading is so desirable right now! I was so relieved to read that I was not the only one with “quarantine brain”, and withdrawal from libraries.

  47. I remember *years ago* your recommendation of reading Elizabeth Gaskell after finishing all of Jane Austen’s works. Now I am at that point and cannot wait to start Cranford! (The North and South movie was really good too; I saw it just before it came off Netflix last month.)

  48. Tara says:

    I loved The Blue Castle too! It felt like I had found a lost treasure when I read it! My first book to pick up when quarantine started was Little Women… what a wonderful, comforting distraction! Still so relevant today and such a joy to read!

  49. Joy in Alabama says:

    I have read and loved some many of the books on Anne’s list and in the comments but I got embarrassed to add too many comments after every one saying, “Yes, yes, yes!” Lol. This is my favorite category of books. I have a lot of stress in my life, it seems, and I love comfort books that end well and I love to reread my favorites. So many books, so little time!

  50. Melissa says:

    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell fits perfectly on this list. It has a Pride and Prejudice feel. I just love it.

  51. Joan says:

    When I want to read a book that I can devour I reach for a Victoria Holt or Phyllis Whitney book. D.E Stevensen is a good choice too. Gladys Tabor and any Amish books are a comfort to me. Nancy Drew,Judy Bolton and Beverly Gray are long time favorites of mine.
    Joan

    • Meghan says:

      I love the Judy Bolton books! My mom has a complete set that I enjoyed growing up, but I have never heard of anyone else loving her!

  52. I’m not a fan, in general, of romance novels. But years ago, I read several LaVyrle Spencer novels and loved them so much that I collected as many as I could find. And now, I’ve started re-reading them. Though they are classified as romance novels, the stories are about the stresses and strains and love in family relationships. LaVyrle Spencer has been retired for quite sometime. But I think you can still get her books from third party sellers on Amazon. I started with The Fulfillment, and am now reading Family Blessings.

    • Susan V says:

      Lucinda, I read LaVyrle Spencer MANY years ago, but I can’t think of any titles. I’ll go look on Amazon. I never would’ve thought about her if you hadn’t mentioned her! Even longer ago, I read books by Victoria Holt – they were mysteries, very atmospheric. I think I read most of her books in my early adulthood. I found “Mistress of Mellyn” for the Kindle for cheap awhile back, so I bought it. Haven’t read it yet, but it will be fun to see what used to really appeal to me!! 🙂

  53. COMama says:

    I read through all of Austen the first couple weeks of quarantine. Then I started in on Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries. This week I have been too sick to read with my eyes, so I’m taking a detour through all the Anne of Green Gables audiobooks. I don’t think I’ve read my way through those since I was a teen, and they have been perfectly delightful comfort reading!

  54. Jennifer says:

    S&S is favorite Austen novel. Working through Willa Cather (fits with this genre) and John Steinbeck (doesn’t fit) during home confinement.

  55. Chris Styles says:

    What a wonderful resource for new reading! I adored 84 Charing Cross Road and need to read that one again. I would add The Shell Seekers, September, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and The Giver of Stars. I guess that last one might not be described as comforting, but the friendships among the women and the emphasis on what it means to be truly at home in a place certainly warmed my heart and made it a must-read.

  56. kay mitchell says:

    my suggestion is also Howard’s End. I loved the PBS version…reviewed the film with Emma Thompson and then read the book again…loved the whole experience.

  57. Katie says:

    Pride and Prejudice is my favorite! My son is named Fitzwilliam 🙂 Though I do think Northanger Abbey is an underrated gem. From your list above, I’d love to read The Blue Castle, 84 Charing Cross Road, and Miss Pettigrew!

  58. Lilyane Soltz says:

    Thank you for including “84, Charing Cross Road” – it is often overlooked, and it shouldn’t be. Another book that is so lovely is “The Shell Seekers” by Rosamund Pilcher – one of my all time favorites.

    As to my favorite Austen, some days it is “Persuasion” and others it is “Pride and Prejudice”. They both mean so much to me.

  59. Marion Jordan says:

    What fabulous book suggestions. I have read many of them and go back to them from time to time.
    I adored Rebecca. Any Du Maurier novel actually. A Tale of Two Cities sad and romantic. All of Rosamunde Piltchers Books and Barbara Erskine. We are all so lucky as readers to be able to escape into books. I feel sorry for people who don’t read. Have enjoyed everyone’s comments.

  60. Marion says:

    I recently have read “Emma’. Comfort books for me are “Pat Of Silver Bush” my favorite L.M Montgomery series,”Anne Of Green Gables’, “The Bobbsey Twins”,Honey Bunch” series,The “Pollyanna” series,’Jane Eyre”,”An Old Fashioned Girl:,”A Tree Grows In Brooklyn”,Irish History books, any historical books,”Black Beauty” and all horse series.
    Marion

  61. Heather says:

    I love this list and the comments! I’ve been frustrated with some recent mystery reads, so I’m thinking of revisiting Agatha Christie. Her books helped me survive junior high!

  62. Jillian Lare says:

    I love this post as I’m currently working my way through Austen in order and, to my husband’s delight, plan to rewatch all the movies when I’m done. The Blue Castle was my favorite LM Montgomery book as a teen. I always wondered why no one else had read it.

  63. Abi says:

    I’ve found it difficult to return to Jane Austen novels after I took a class focused solely on Austen. Suffice it to say, the professor made it difficult for me to read her novels again without thinking of his terrible class. But I know I should try Austen again, I’ve always enjoyed the movie adaptations of any of her novels. I would definitely start with Pride and Prejudice. Little Women is one of my favorite classic books, and I would recommend it to just about anyone looking to revisit their high school required reading. I saw the movie for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and absolutely adored it! I’ve just never been able to get a copy of the book. I have yet to compile a list of classics for a blog post, but I recently reviewed The Dry by Jane Harper on my blog at http://www.themamabookbear.com/review-of-the-dry-by-jane-harper. Check it out and let me know what you think! I’ve always thought mysteries are a great way to escape reality and get lost in another world. One where the story is tied up nicely at the end and the questions are answered (if it’s a quality mystery novel).

  64. Linda Kay Smith says:

    When I want a comforting read, I re-read one of the wonderful Mitford series by Jan Karon. I love the characters, the town, the feel of the series.

  65. Jennifer Brown says:

    This might be the best list of books I’ve seen! I have one more to add. The Shuttle by Francis Hodgson Burnett. One of my favorite heroines of all time. The reader on Librivox is awesome and it’s free.

  66. Kay says:

    Jane Austen is my ultimate classic writer, I even did my dissertation on her at university. I have to admit that I do think Pride and Prejudice is overrated though, I have alway let that many people claim it is their favourite just because they have seen the screen versions and not even read the books, this is true for several people I know. My personal number one is Persuasion followed by Sense and Sensibility. Other favourite classic reads are Anne of Green Gables (of course), North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and the always wonderful Jane Eyre. x

  67. Susan says:

    I enjoyed reading all these comments and suggestions. My favorite comfort reads of all time are Ruth Doan Macdougall’s novels, especially the Snowy series. Start with the Cheerleader (about growing up in the fifties with all the conflicting feelings and joys of being a teenager) I’ve read all of her books too many times to count. I call them my mac’n cheese books. That’s comfort!

  68. Agree with all these. I add Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and many Georgette Heyer romances … start with The Grand Sophy, Sophy is as witty and spunky as you could wish.

  69. I meant to post my previous comments on the other post about comfort fiction. For this post, I recommend some classic novels I’ve loved, Vanity Fair by Thackeray, Dr. Thorne by Anthony Trollope, and The Woman in White and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

  70. Marilyn says:

    My comfort books are anything by Louisa May Alcott, Anne of Green Gables,Emily of The New Moon, the Pleasant Company original series,Wives and Daughters,Beverly Gray series,Nancy Drew,Irish History,Amish themes,Whispering Valley by D.E.Stevenson,any books by Noel Streetfield, ballet theme books,historical fiction, any thing by Gladys Taber,Secret Garden,The Little Princess,Little House books,Betsy, Tacy series,Hitty Doll A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and my Golden books.
    Marilyn

  71. Sherry Andre says:

    I’m thrilled that I’d read all but Miss Pettigrew. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen, followed by P&Pand S&S.
    Dare I admit I have several shelves of Jane Austen retellings and continuations I’ve enjoyed by numerous authors: Pamela Aiden, Joan Aiken, Marsha Altman, Elizabeth Ashton, Linda Berdoll, Rachel Billington, Rebecca Ann Collins, Carolyn Eberhart, Amanda Grange, Regina James, Susan Kaye, Sharon Latham, Kathleen L Nelson, C. Allyn Pierson, Alexandra Potter, Abigail Reynolds, Juliette Shapiro, and Eucharista Ward.

    Other classics I love and reread:
    -Katherine by Anya Seton
    -Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series
    -Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels
    -Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
    Gone with the Wind by Mitchell
    Dorothy Dunnett’s magnificent 6 novel Lymond series beginning in 1553 when Mary Queen of Scots is a toddler and ranging over Scotland, England, France, Malta, Ottoman Empire, Russia and back again to England and Scotland.

  72. Kathie says:

    Thank you for the recommendations, I will check some out. I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Gaskell and would highly recommend her novels; North & South and Wives and Daughters Along with Cranford. Also Edith Wharton who wrote The Age of Innocence, The Buchaneers and The House of Mirth. And finally Henry James; The Portrait of a lady, The Wings of the Dove and What Maisie Knew. Happy reading.

  73. Rebekah in SoCal says:

    I love Austen and Middle March and Little Women and am very much in the mood for comfort reads. I think I’ll buy the rest and make them my quarantine reading list.

  74. Laura says:

    Besides Austen, of course, my go to is Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s a beast of a book but the characters are so good. There’s always Jane Eyre too.

  75. Deborah says:

    Love all the recommendations in the post and comments, what a great list. I find that the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith are also good comfort reading, especially when I need to restore my optimism and faith in humanity.

  76. Hannah W. says:

    What a fabulous compilation! There are so many that I’m excited to add to my to-read list. Is there any way to add a Goodreads button to each book so that readers can quickly add them to their list?

  77. Mike Fox says:

    My favorite is Northanger Abbey. I read Jane more for the wit than for the romance, and NA always gets me laughing out loud!

  78. Gwyn says:

    I needed this list! Quaint and charming setting. Women facing challenges with kindness and determination. Yes to everything!Thanks.

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