Now I feel that I'm back on track, I can do this day's challenge a bit of justice! The problem is going to choosing my overall favourite classic.
The contenders are:
North and South - purely for John Thornton, who is a wonderful hero and will now forever be Richard Armitage in my head.
Pride and Prejudice - I know, it's a cliche, but I do truly love this book and for more than Mr Darcy but he helps!
North Riding - a more recent find. I read it after I saw the TV adaptation and was a bit disappointed by it. As usual the book is so much stronger and I hope it now it gets the attention it deserves.
Les Miserables - already covered, but Jean Valjean's redemption is beautifully sad.
Lord of the Rings - I've read the whole lot a few times now and yes, I admit that I do skip some of the historical background stuff, but it's an epic and I always feel rewarded when I've got to the end and all is well.
Winnie the Pooh - just gorgeous, brilliantly quotable...and I love Eeyore.
1984 - scarily clever.
Rebecca - I'd some how avoided reading this until a couple of years ago. Not really sure why, but I loved it. So atmospheric.
Brideshead Revisited - found it as a teenager with a crush on Anthony Andrews. Although it's only a small aspect of the book it conjures up images of hot summers, punting and a teddy called Aloysius.
But my overall favourite classic book is...
Persuasion by Jane Austen
This is a much quieter and less "flashy" novel than P&P. Maybe it's an age thing and it was also Austen's last completed book and is much more reflective, but I really empathise with Anne and feel that she deserves her happy ending much more than many other characters.
Anne is an older heroine, for the times she is past her prime and well into spinsterhood and all the assumptions and embarrassment this meant for single women. She has been disappointed in many aspects of her life and with her grasping and insensitive family she begins the story downtrodden and undervalued. However she has an inner strength, a sense of rightness and purpose that grows throughout the story. She is the type of person that values her old friend who is ill and in reduced circumstances; she does the right thing even when it goes against her wishes and although she regrets the choices she made in her youth she doesn't blame others for their role in it.
It is a story of regret, longing and hope. My favourite part (and I think the most romantic letter ever written) is:
"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never."