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

I capture the castle- Dodie Smith
Claims to fame: this is the “original YA novel,” with one of the best narrators in English literature. We hear the story of this eccentric 1930s English family—struggling to make ends meet in a tumbledown castle—through the eyes of 17-year-old Cassandra—bright, witty, and wise beyond her years. Replete with love, magic, writer’s block, and bear costumes.
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This was one of my favorite Montgomery novels as a kid, but I haven't read it in twenty years. This new edition, illustrated by Canadian artist Jacqui Oakley, was just released last spring, and provided the perfect opportunity to revisit an old favorite. Highly recommended for Green Gables fans.
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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.
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"A notice in The Times addressed to 'Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine' advertises a "small medieval Italian Castle to be let for the month of April'." Four very different women take up the offer." An endearing classic.
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This is the true story of the twenty-year relationship between a New York writer and a gentlemanly London bookseller, as told through their correspondence. A must-read classic for bibliophiles, you'll feel compelled to discuss the heartwarming way books bring people together with all your book-loving buddies. If you're craving a gentle, warm, and witty read, this short book belongs on your nightstand.
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You just can’t beat a book that turns on a stolen kiss in the Italian countryside. It’s widely believed that the movie is better than the book, but that’s no excuse not to 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. (It's worth saying: the movie version is FANTASTIC.)
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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.
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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 Miss Pettigrew to the wrong address, she spends the day of her life with a glamorous nightclub singer, extricating her hour by hour from one scrape after another. Miss Pettigrew is light, charming and utterly delightful.
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When I asked what books every woman's gotta read, Alcott's 1869 novel about New England sisters growing up in the Civil War Era was 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.
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I came to this classic expecting a dry read, but was swept up in this epic coming-of-age story set in Britain between the world wars. I’ve read it ten times since then, entranced by the story of the Flyte family’s unraveling–along with the rest of Britain’s aristocracy–and by its themes of love, loss, and grace. Recommended reading for Downton Abbey fans.
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