Love through the Centuries

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Explore classic tales of romance with our Love through the Centuries book list, created by ITBOC clerical assistant and avid reader Grace Tucker! Discover (or rediscover) some of the most memorable characters in literature as they experience the timeless troubles and triumphs that afflict the human heart.

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott 

DB018128, BR001038

The author's home life in New England is the basis of this book, which has been popular for more than a century. The tale tells the story of the four March sisters--quick-tempered Jo, who is restless for freedom; Beth, who loves her home and family; Meg, who longs for pretty clothes; and self-absorbed Amy. A favorite of both children and adults.  

Young Adult, Family Life, American Literature, Download Only

Sense and Sensibility   

Jane Austen 


This witty satirical novel, the first of Jane Austen's to be published, is a study in contrasts between two sisters. Their unfortunate love affairs evoke very different responses from Elinor, who has sense, and Marianne, who has sensibility. 1811.

English Literature

Jane Eyre   

Charlotte Brontë 


This 19th-century English novel is about a plain and intelligent woman who becomes the governess at an estate, is caught up in the mysteries of the manor, and falls in love with the master of the house. 1847.

Gothic Fiction, English Literature, Download Only

Wuthering Heights  

Emily Bronte


This classic nineteenth-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. 1847.

English Literature

The Count of Monte Cristo  

Alexandre Dumas


Young sailor Edmond Dantès, unjustly accused of helping the exiled Napoleon in 1815, escapes from jail after fourteen years to take revenge on the four men who caused his imprisonment. Now wealthy after recovering a buried treasure, Dantès assumes a new identity and plots the ruin of his accusers. 1845.

French Literature, Adventure

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald 


Against the glitter and recklessness of the Jazz Age, Jay Gatsby makes a desperate attempt to recapture the past and, along with it, the love of Daisy Buchanan. Amid extravagant parties at Gatsby's palatial estate, his neighbor narrates the story of his obsession with the American dream. This critical edition draws on Fitzgerald's original manuscript. 1925.

American Literature

Madame Bovary   

Gustave Flaubert 


In this 1857 classic French novel, Emma Bovary, the wife of a dull provincial doctor, seeks the excitement and happiness she expects from life by taking lovers and spending money extravagantly--only to become disappointed by the men and deeply engulfed in debt. First published in French. 1857.

French Literature


A Room with a View  

E.M. Forster


Set in England and Italy, this insightful novel concerns the many changes that occur in a young girl's life by a chance meeting in an Italian pension with two men--a father and son. 1908.

English Literature

The Princess Bride

William Goldman 


The most beautiful woman in the world falls in love with Westley, the perfect man. Their pending romance, however, is interrupted by fate and the wicked prince Humperdinck, ruler of Florin. Thirtieth anniversary edition of the classic fairy tale spoof features a 2003 introduction. 1973.

American Classic, Fantasy, Download Only

Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy


Strong-willed and independent, Bathsheba Everdene attracts the attentions of three men of rural nineteenth-century Wessex: young farmer Gabriel Oak, dashing soldier Frank Troy, and lonely landowner William Boldwood. Hardy explores issues of social strata and romantic love in this classic novel. 1874.

English Literature, Commercial Audiobook

The Portrait of a Lady   

Henry James 


As an American traveling abroad, wealthy and attractive Isabel Archer discovers both the beauty and deception of European society. And in the process she gains self-knowledge. 1881.

American Literature, European Setting


Lady Chatterley's Lover   

D.H. Lawrence 


An earthy love story, once banned in the United States, of the affair between Lady Chatterley and her gamekeeper, Mellors. Married to an impotent, disabled husband, she is attracted to Mellors's strength and independence from industrial society. 1928.

English Literature, Download Only

The Phantom of the Opera   

Gaston Leroux 


The story of a demented musician hiding in the labyrinth of the Paris Opera House. Known as the Phantom of the Opera, the creature masterminds a series of mysterious and terrifying events to further the career of a beautiful young singer. 1909.

French Literature, Mystery, Download Only


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. 1938.

Gothic Fiction, Mystery, English Literature


Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare 

DB044353, DB070985 (Spanish)

A sixteenth-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. 1597.

Drama, English Literature

Vanity Fair   

William Makepeace Thackeray 


Classic English novel of the contrasting lives of two young women, one gentle and innocent and the other clever and unscrupulous. Both seek husbands and happiness in Europe around the time of the Napoleonic campaigns. A sarcastic view of the social hypocrisy and sham of the time. 1848.

English Literature, Download Only

Anna Karenina   

Leo Tolstoy 


In the 1870s in Russia, Anna flaunts convention by having an adulterous affair with Count Vronsky. Preferring the allure of romance to her stifling marriage with Alexis Karenin, Anna's happiness disintegrates as she loses her peace of mind. 1877.

Russian Literature

The Age of Innocence

Edith Wharton


New York, 1870s. Newland Archer anticipates a safe, conventional future with his socially impeccable fiancée, May Welland, until the arrival of May's exotic cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. Archer finds himself torn between his attraction to Ellen and his security in a bland, but proper, marriage to May. Pulitzer Prize. 1920.

Award Winner, American Literature