A Room with a View
by E.M. Forster
Young and well bred, Lucy Honeychurch finds herself in a muddle after encountering the Emersons on a trip to Florence. Their social class is different from Lucy's and their manner -- unlike the "respectable" people she's used to -- is simple and direct, causing her to find the people around her wanting.
by Leo Tolstoy
Married to a government minister, Anna Karenina falls deeply in love with the elegant Count Vronsky. Anna defies the conventions of Russian society, deciding to live with Vronsky. Condemned and ostracized by her peers, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation.
by Charlotte Brontë
This 19th century British Novel charts the evolution of its independent titular character from young orphan to grown woman. She doesn't face off with any monsters, but takes on the adversity of social norms and expectations with zeal, and develops into the hero of one of the earliest modern novels - showing that anyone who can be themselves in a world at odds is a hero in their own right.
by Jane Austen
At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen's last completed novel.
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
A novel of social customs in late 18th century England, "Pride and Prejudice" depicts the personality clash between Elizabeth Bennet, one of five daughters of a country gentleman, and prosperous, aristocratic landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy, which eventually develops into courtship. Note: Many titles by this author adapt well for duo interpretation.
by Daphne Du Maurier
Rebecca, the glamorous mistress of a great English estate, died eight months before Maxim de Winter brought a young and frightened second wife to live there. Mystery, intrigue, and violence eventually reveal the circumstances surrounding Rebecca's death in this novel of romantic suspense.
Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
A 16th century romantic tragedy of two teenagers from rival families who fall in love. A sentence of exile and an impending arranged marriage force the two to flee. A friar suggests a ruse to accomplish their union, but miscommunication causes it to backfire.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
by Thomas Hardy
Set in the magical Wessex landscape so familiar from Thomas Hardy's early work, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" is unique among his great novels for the intense feeling that he lavished upon his heroine, Tess, a pure woman betrayed by love. Hardy poured all of his profound empathy for both humanity and the rhythms of natural life into this story of her beauty, goodness, and tragic fate. In so doing, he created a character who, like Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina, has achieved classic stature.
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby's youthful neighbor, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald's best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair.
Wives and Daughters
by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Molly Gibson is the 17-year-old daughter of a widowed country doctor. When her father remarries, she forms a close friendship with her new stepsister, Cynthia, until they become love rivals for the affections of Squire Hamley's sons, Osbourne and Roger. When sudden illness and death reveal some secrets while shrouding others in even deeper mystery, Molly feels that the world is out of joint and it is up to her - trusted by all but listened to by none - to set it right.
by Emily Brontë
This 19th century English novel, set in the wild moor country of Yorkshire, is about Heathcliff, a foundling raised in the Earnshaw home, who passionately loves Catherine. He dedicates his life to the realization of that love and revenge on those who oppose him.