Home          All Books          Donate

Browse the library

Modern Fiction

Modern Non-Fiction

Classic Fiction

Classic Non-Fiction

Science Fiction




Civil War


Adult Themes

Best Site Award

Welcome to the new esspc-eBooks.com
Book Search


The Black Tulip
By: Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas proves again his ability to mix adventure and romance to create an exciting and romantic tale. Although Dumas may have distorted history significantly in this story, the image of late 17th century Holland which he presents is accurate and vivid enough to give the reader a lasting impression of society and culture in this period.
The execution of Jann and Cornelius De Witte and the romance between Van Baerle and Rosa are portrayed with such detail that readers are not likely to forget this book.

The Count of Monte Cristo
By: Alexandre Dumas

The hero of the novel, Edmond Dantes, is a young sailor who is unjustly accused of aiding the exiled Napoleon. As punishment he is sentenced to life imprisonment in a French island fortress. After 14 years, Dantes makes a daring escape by taking the place of a dead companion; he is sewn into a burial shroud and thrown into the sea. Having learned from his dead prison mate of a vast treasure on the island of Monte-Cristo, Dantes eventually makes his way there to uncover and claim it. Adopting the persona of the Count of Monte Cristo, Dantes becomes a powerful, shadowy figure who eventually avenges himself on those who wronged him.

Twenty Years After
By: Alexandre Dumas

Two decades have passed since the famous swordsmen triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady in The Three Musketeers. Time has weakened their resolve, and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and strategems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England, Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is the titanic struggle with the son of Milady who wears the face of evil.

The Arabian Nights Entertainments
By: Andrew Lang

Shahrazad tells stories for one-thousand one nights, in order to save her life. This collection is a real treasure and not necessarily a children's book.

The Prisoner of Zenda
By: Anthony Hope

'The Prisoner of Zenda' is something of a rarity: a Victorian adventure novel that is as fresh and entertaining to read in this modern jaded age as it was in 1894. If you've ever seen one of the many movie adaptations you already know the story: Rudolf Rassendyll, an Englishman vacationing in the tiny European country of Ruritania, meets and befriends the soon-to-be-crowned King Rudolf--his exact and identical double. When the King is kidnapped by the dastardly Black Michael, Rassendyll must impersonate the King in the coronation ceremony...and in the heart of the Queen. Hope's handling of the romance between Rassendyll and Queen Flavia is both a daring and romantic love story and a subtle examination of the meaning of honor and duty to a gentleman. Of course there's plenty of swordplay and derring-do along the way . If Tom Clancy was writing this one, there'd be nuclear weapons instead of swords and email instead of telegrams, but even he couldn't pull off the simple but subtle romantic story and the triumphant but poignant ending.
Courtesy: John DiBello

Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
By: Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon

The life of Jeanne, Comtesse du Barry (1743-1793), incomparably beautiful grisette and courtesan, official mistress of an elderly and besotted king of France, can be regarded as a story of glamour, luxury, ardor, and loyalty, culminating in high tragedy, or as a cautionary tale of greed, arrogance, and endless pursuit of exquisite pleasures, inevitably ending in blood-drenched dust--depending on the eye of the beholder. Born in a small town on the borders of Lorraine, the illegitimate daughter of a seamstress and a monk, Jeanne Becu rose from the demimonde to become for four years the uncrowned queen of France. The last of the French royal favorites, she was loved by Louis XV until his death in 1774. Although most courtiers and members of the royal family repudiated her, on certain occasions she was capable of great heroism and of intense loyalty to the same aristocracy who initially spurned her. Her charity to women in need was widely known. For all her humble origins she was a woman of refined taste--patroness of Greuze and Fragonard, Vernet and Vigee-Lebrun. Her jewels were among the most famous in Europe and ultimately became a cause of her tragic downfall.

Jane Eyre
By: Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre a sweeping, disturbing, intense, thrilling, very romantic gothic love story, written in the voice a very intense, almost claustrophobically self-aware young heroine. Jane is no Ophelia - she's a complicated, remarkable character, and a very strong female character in a genre that usually draws women as beautiful victims at best.
There's something for everyone in this book: Windswept castles, difficult and neurotic family members, dark secrets about tragic former lovers, good triumphing over evil, all that good juicy stuff that makes a great romantic story. What elevates Jane Eyre is Bronte's remarkable style & skill and her sharp and complex characterizations.
Kate Halleron contributed this book.

Shadow of Love
By: Dick Claassen

This copyright romance delves into the modern day online dating and romance. What does happen when two people meet on-line? the results are not far from the truth.

Messer Marco Polo
By: Donn-Byrne

A mixture of three elements give this simple tale a unique flavor. A modern Irishman tells the adventures of a Christian Italian in pagan China. Irish mysticism mingles with the mystery of the east for a romantic and tragic love story based upon the visit of Marco Polo to the court of Kubla Kahn. In one framework we have folk tale, history and imagination . His simple narrative style is a kind very rarely found among modern authors: it suggests the fireside stories and poems of the past which passed from generation to generation by word of mouth.

The Kingdom of the Blind
By: E. Phillips Oppenheim

Lord Romsey commenced his luncheon with an air of relief. He was a man of little more than middle-age, powerfully built, inclined to be sombre, with features of a legal type, heavily jawed. 'Always tactful, dear hostess,' he murmured. 'As a matter of fact, nothing but the circumstance that it was your invitation and that Madame Selarne was to be present, brought me here to-day. It is so hard to avoid speaking of the great things, and for a man in my position,' he added, dropping his voice a little, 'so difficult to say anything worth listening to about them, without at any rate the semblance of indiscretion.'

Where Angels Fear to Tread
By: E.M. Forrester

'Let her go to Italy!' he cried. 'Let her meddle with what she doesn't understand! Look at this letter! The man who wrote it will marry her, or murder her, or do for her somehow. He's a bounder, but he's not an English bounder. He's mysterious and terrible. He's got a country behind him that's upset people from the beginning of the world.'
When a young English widow takes off on the grand tour and along the way marries a penniless Italian, her in-laws are not amused. That the marriage should fail and poor Lilia die tragically are only to be expected. But that Lilia should have had a baby -- and that the baby should be raised as an Italian! -- are matters requiring immediate correction by Philip Herriton, his dour sister Harriet, and their well-meaning friend Miss Abbott.
In his first novel, E. M. Forster anticipated the themes of cultural collision and the sterility of the English middle class that he would develop in A Room with a View and A Passage to India. Where Angels Fear to Tread is an accomplished, harrowing, and malevolently funny book, in which familiar notions of vice and virtue collapse underfoot and the best intentions go mortally awry.

Tarzan The Terrible
By: Edgar Rice Burroughs

Lieutenant Obergatz had fled in terror from the seeking vengeance of Tarzan of the Apes. And with him, by force, he had taken Tarzan's beloved mate, Jane. Now the ape-man was following the faint spoor of their flight, into a region no man had ever penetrated. The trail led across seemingly impassable marshes into Pal-ul-don -- a savage land where primitive Waz-don and Ho-don fought fiercely, wielding knives with their long, prehensile tails -- and where mighty triceratops still survived from the dim dawn of time . . . And far behind, relentlessly pursuing, came Korak the Killer.
This book contains a glosasary at the end. Users of Microsoft Reader versin 1.x may not be able to access the glossary on the Pocket PC,

By: Edith Wharton

Charity Royall is a girl from a small town who spends her days face down in the grass dreaming. Enter Lucius Harney, artistic, city guy who for a few months sweeps Charity off of her feet, rescuing her from small town life in North Dormer. Charity turns out to be little more than a side dish for Harney who goes on to marry Ms. Balch; Charity is left depressed, pregnant and forced to marry the middle-age man who raised her, to save her name. The characters have an amazing, brief love affair, but in the end, there is always some impediment, as in Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence. For the realists out there, read this book; those who must have a happy ending, stick to fairytales!

The Age of Innocence
By: Edith Wharton

Somewhere in this book, Wharton observes that clever liars always come up with good stories to back up their fabrications, but that really clever liars don't bother to explain anything at all. This is the kind of insight that makes The Age of Innocence so indispensable. Wharton's story of the upper classes of Old New York, and Newland Archer's impossible love for the disgraced Countess Olenska, is a perfectly wrought book about an era when upper-class culture in this country was still a mixture of American and European extracts, and when 'society' had rules as rigid as any in history.
This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

The Glimpses Of The Moon
By: Edith Wharton

Set in the 1920s, The Glimpses of the Moon details the romantic misadventures of Nick Lansing and Susy Branch, a couple with the right connections but not much in the way of funds. They devise a shrewd bargain: they'll marry and spend a year or so sponging off their wealthy friends, honeymooning in their mansions and villas. As Susy explains, 'We should really, in a way, help more than hamper each other. We both know the ropes so well; what one of us didn't see the other might -- in the way of opportunities, I mean.' The other part of the plan states that if either one of them meets someone who can advance them socially, they're each free to dissolve the marriage. How their plan unfolds is a comedy of eros that will charm all fans of Wharton's work.
This story is much lighter and faster paced than The Age of Innocence. Nick and Susy are attractive, stylish, and interesting; but alas, they are poor. They meet and are instantly attracted to one another. Each has been used to living from friend to friend, receiving lodging and gifts in exchange for their elegant company, but now what will they do? They hatch a plan to get married, enjoy each other under the condoning blanket of matrimony, and live off wedding gifts of money and loaned honeymoon villas for a year or so. Or until either one got a better offer.

The Reef
By: Edith Wharton

A challenge to the moral climate of the day, The Reef follows the fancies of George Darrow, a young diplomat en route from London to France, intent on proposing to the widowed Anna Leath. Unsettled by Anna's reticence, Darrow drifts into an affair with Sophy Viner, a charmingly naive and impecunious young woman whose relations with Darrow and Anna's family threaten his prospects for success.
Whatever you think of 'The Reef,' it contains one of Edith Wharton's most wonderful scenes. Our 'hero' has been dallying for a while in a hotel with the young girl he picked up on the boat dock, and he's wearying of her. We see his boredom and disillusionment through his reactions to the mere sounds she is making in the next room. He is so familiar by now with her habits and movements that he knows what she's doing without actually seeing her. A gem of a scene, in a strange jewel of a book.

Cyrano De Bergerac
By: Edmond Rostand

Cyrano -loosely based on the actual Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, an early predecessor of science fiction- is a swordsman for the French King Louis XIII. He is also a man with an extraordinary gift for poetry and versification, as well as the owner of an extremely large nose. He is deeply in love with his cousin Roxanne, but she happens to love Cyrano's friend and colleague, Christian. So, being a good fellow and having a quixotic nature, Cyrano accepts to speak of love to Roxanne, impersonating Christian. Under her window, in the dark, Cyrano recites love poems so well crafted, that Roxanne falls even more in love with Christian, who is the supposed lover. After that, both men leave to fight at war. Roxanne shows up at the siege of Arras, to bring food to the soldiers. There, for reasons I won't spoil here, their love affair comes to an abrupt end, leaving their relationship unfulfilled. What comes next shows the true heroic nature of Cyrano, his strength of character, and his loyalty to his friend, but also to his eternal love for Roxanne. This play, which has originated at least a couple of good movies and several tv interpretations, is a homage to the Romantic spirit so rare in our greedy and selfish times. It is full of beautiful images and scenes, and Rostand's writing is perfect for the task.
This book was contributed by Kate Halleron

Cupid's Understudy
By: Edward Salisbury Field

A little money can be a dangerus thing. A lot of money can be even more so. And 'Dad' had a lot of money and it came his way by a 'fluke'. Or as Elizabeth says, 'If Dad had been a coal baron, like Mr. Tudor Carstairs, or a stock- watering captain of industry, like Mrs. Sanderson-Spear's husband, or descended from a long line of whisky distillers, like Mrs. Carmichael Porter, why, then his little Elizabeth would have been allowed the to sit in seat of the scornful with the rest of the Four Hundred, and this story would never have been written. But Dad wasn't any of these things; he was just an old love who had made seven million dollars by the luckiest fluke in the world.'

Puppy Love and An Immodest Proposal
By: Elizabeth Neff Walker and others

Two modern romance stories. Not being a romance reader, I'll be happy to print your synopsis, and credit you for it!

Adam Bede
By: George Eliot

Beautiful Hetty Sorell is led by her vanity to succumb to the temptations of the local squire. Those involved in her ensuing tragedy are sensitive, honest Adam Bebe, implicated by his simple idolatry and his fruitless struggles to redeem her, and Dinah, her devout and constant cousin, who comforts her when all appears to be lost. George Eliot adds a poignant, bitter edge to the age-old tale of a woman's destruction through a selfish man's passions, her own weakness and the condemnation of society itself.

The Blue lagoon
By: H. de Vere Stacpoole

This was an excellent story which surprised me to a great extent. Mr Stacpoole is an excellent writer with an ability to convey what it would be like to live on a dream island in the south pacific with a girl of your dreams. Excellent characterizations and a tremendous flow of descriptive words. Almost lyrical in many respects. His writing sometimes approaches poetry. Other passages are worthy of great pathos. I particularly liked the kids discovering death, what pure love is like, thoughts on religion. Just an excellent story written in a style that is no longer seen. Courtesy: Dennis Wilcutt

Benita: An African Romance
By: H. Rider Haggard

Haggard believes that the basis of this story is true, though he can not prove it. The basis is tor story of buried treasure, adventure, romance, danger and the suernatural. Putting all those ingredients together will insure another page turning adventure.

Merton Of The Movies
By: Harry Leon Wilson

Merton of the Movies follows its title character from his hometown in Illinois, where he spends all his time watching the moving pictures, to his quest for being in them. This takes him to early Hollywood where he intends to work hard and make great sacrifices to be a star. Like the legions of hopefuls who still arrive in this town every day, he has a lot to learn.

Daisy Miller
By: Henry James

The title character is a young American woman traveling in Europe with her mother. There she is courted by Frederick Forsyth Winterbourne, an American living abroad. In her innocence, Daisy is compromised by her friendship with an Italian man. Her behavior shocks Winterbourne and the other Americans living in Italy, and they shun her. Only after she dies does Winterbourne recognize that her actions reflected her spontaneous, genuine, and unaffected nature and that his suspicions of her were unwarranted. Like others of James's works, Daisy Miller uses the contrast between American innocence and European sophistication as a powerful tool with which to examine social conventions.

By: Henry James

Meet Count Otto Vogelstein an intelligent young German. And meet Pandora Day, a lovely, young, strong young American. Both are on a voyage from Southampton. Both are on their own voyages to discovery and the future. But what does that future hold for each, and how are they intertwined? Or are tehy?

Quo Vadis
By: Henryk Sienkiewicz

Historical novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, published in Polish under its Latin title in 1896. The title means 'where are you going?' and alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The popular novel was widely translated. Set in ancient Rome during the reign of the emperor Nero, Quo Vadis? tells the story of the love that develops between a young Christian woman and a Roman officer who, after meeting her fellow Christians, converts to her religion. Underlying their relationship is the contrast between the worldly opulence of the Roman aristocracy and the poverty, simplicity, and spiritual power of the Christians. The novel has as a subtext the persecution and political subjugation of Poland by Russia.

The Valley Of The Moon
By: Jack London

Against a backdrop of the deadly struggles of organized labor in turn-of-the-century California, Jack London created an odyssey of two young lovers who pursue their dream of returning to the roots of their American pioneer ancestors. This book was originally written as a serial for Cosmopolitan magazine, and is reprinted in sections representing each issue. It is wonderfully illustrated by Howard Christy. Despite the xenophobia (quite common in the era), the book presents two compelling protagonists, and follows them in a struggle against union-busting bosses, poverty, and nature. The pages fly by.

By: Jane Austen

Persuasion is a simply structured novel, for its plot is concerned only with bringing Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth together. A major theme of the novel is Austen's examination of pride and vanity - pride in one's social position and vanity of one's personal appearance. The idea of persuadability is tied up with another major concern of the novel - the right quality of mind. As the novel develops, Austen strives to achieve a right balance between contrasting opposites.

Pride and Prejudice
By: Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible, incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an insufferable goody-goody, but she is far from it. However if she provoked she is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her exceptionally sharp -- but always polite -- 18th century wit. You will spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hook up? This book is riveting, it's fun, it's hysterical (wait for the rewarding confrontation between Lady Catherine deBourgh and Elizabeth...it's not only a battle of tongues, but a great clash of the 'refined' yet uneducated upper classes, and the middle classes of Regentry England.

Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm
By: Kate Douglas Wiggin

Rebecca comes from a large, loving, but poor family. In hopes of providing Rebecca with a better future, her parents send her to live with two cold, stern aunts. Although the girl finds the new atmosphere difficult to get accustomed to, the plucky girl ultimately triumphs, wedding the wealthiest man in town.

Dangerous Days
By: Mary Roberts Rinehart

The darkening storm of the first World War threatens to tear apart the lives of a group of friends. At the eye of the storm is Clayton Spencer, an ambitious businessman, who must risk everything to be with the woman he loves.

Don Quixote
By: Miquel de Cervantes

This literary masterpiece, part parody and part cautionary tale, describes adventures of a middle-aged gentleman from La Mancha, who one day decides to set out into the world to do good deeds in the name of his ladylove, Dulcinea. In his many adventures, he mistakes inns for castles, windmills for giants and flocks of sheep for opposing armies. Though he is out of place, often ludicrous and considered profoundly mad by all who know him, Don Quixote maintains his innate goodness and unwavering commitment to chivalry.
This synopsis submitted by Romuald (George) Czajkowski

The Gift Of The Magi
By: O. Henry

The Gift Of The Magi is one of O. Henry's classic stories. It tells of young love at Christmas time. A young couple just beginning their wedded life and of very limited means want more than anything to give each other a gift that will reflect and celebrate their devotion, one to the other. The gifts they select, and at the cost to each of them, all result in one of the most endearing, heartwarming, and humorous of conclusions.
Thanks to Nancy, whoever you are, for reminding me of this treat.

Maid in Boston
By: Paula Corbett

A romantic story of a farm girl who moves to the big city of Boston to work for a high tech company. She enters an entirely new world of romance, excitement, and big city ways.

Captain Blood
By: Rafael Sabatini

Wronged from the moment this book begins Doctor Peter Blood sees his life deteriorate before his very eyes. From being a respected physician he finds himself called a pirate and a murderer. And this by the very lady whom he loves.
Here is the greatest of all swash buckling tales of the high seas. Sabatini, in his inimitable style combines blood curdling adventure with romance, humor and more to make your blood hot in your veins. You won't put this book down!
Kate Halleron contributed this book.

By: Rafael Sabatini

'If you are in case to fear betrayal, it may well be, my friends. As I crossed the bridge over the Metauro and took the path that leads hither, my eyes were caught by a crimson light shining from a tangle of bushes by the roadside. That crimson flame was a reflection of the setting sun flashed from the steel cap of a hidden watcher. The path took me nearer, and with my hat so set that it might best conceal my face, I was all eyes. And as I passed the spot where that spy was ambushed, I discerned among the leaves that might so well have screened him, but that the sun had found his helmet out, the evil face of Masuccio Torri.' There was a stir among the listeners, and their consternation increased, whilst one or two changed colour. 'For whom did he wait? That was the question that I asked myself, and I found the answer that it was for me. If I was right, he must also know the distance I had come, so that he would not look to see me afoot, nor yet, perhaps, in garments such as these. And so, thanks to all this and to the hat and cloak in which I closely masked myself, he let me pass unchallenged.'
So it begins and in true fashion Sabatini takes us all on a rollicking ride to the very end, where of course, boy gets girl, or is it the other way around?

Mistress Wilding
By: Rafael Sabatini

It begins with the throwing of a glass of wine into the face of a geneleman. And it ends... If you've read at least one Rafael Sabatini book you already know how it ends. If you haven't, then read this book. There is never a dull moment in this tale of swashbuckling romance. Sabatini's dry wit flashes through from the first page to the last. Revel in it, this book is a keeper.

The Sea-Hawk
By: Rafael Sabatini

If you liked Captain Blood you will love Sea-Hawk. The hero is a Cornish gentleman accused of murder, kidnapped from England and forced into life as a Barbary corsair--a leader of 'The Sea-Hawks.' His anger at his brother, who caused his troubles, and fiance, who rejected him and his protestations of innocence, is easy to understand--and sympathize with.
The book will grab you by the throat and drag you into the adventures of Sir Oliver, the Cornish knight turned barbary corsair and his firecracker of a girlfriend, Rosamund. You won't know whether to love or be in horror of Sir Oliver. But you will undoubtedly admire him. Not only is he clever, witty, resourceful and funny, but sarcastic and arrogant as well, which makes for a delightfully rounded character. The girl he loves deserves to be loved, unlike most silly heroines. Rosanmunde has sense and honor. You will understand the terrible amoral brother Lionel even as you hate what he puts poor Sir Oliver through.

The Shame of Motley
By: Rafael Sabatini

Set in the days of the Borgias this is the story of Lazzaro Biancomonte. Lazzaro is also known as the court jester in Pesario's Court. But, of course, it goes much deeper than that for Lazzaro is much more than the jester in this rollicking swashbuclking adventure as only Sabatini could posibly have written it.

The Strolling Saint
By: Rafael Sabatini

Being the Confessions of the High and Mighty Agostino D'Anguissola Tyrant of Mondolfo and Lord of Carmina, in the State of Piacenza.
Sabatini does it again in The Strolling Saint. This is a book you won't want to put down.
And, of course, you know there is a woman involved!

The Suitors of Yvonne
By: Rafael Sabatini

Rafael Sabatini has written some of the best and most fun filled historical fiction of all time. I shamefully admit that I am a fan. Sometimes the last page of the book can be predicted - boy gets girl - but it is still worth the read. Filled with adventure, swashbuckling and romance the Suitors of Yvonne is no exception to the works of Sabatini. Enjoy.

The Tavern Knight
By: Rafael Sabatini

What happens when father and son both vie for the hand of the same fair maiden? Here is an early Sabatini. It shows that the man was destined for greatness and also shows that an average Sabatini work is better than much of what is written today. The plot twists are interesting if contrived and predictable. Still a fun read.

Far From The Madding Crowd
By: Thomas Hardy

At the beginning of the novel, Bathsheba Everdene is a beautiful young woman without a fortune. She meets Gabriel Oak , a young farmer, and saves his life one evening. He asks her to marry him, but she refuses because she does not love him. Upon inheriting her uncle's prosperous farm she moves away to the town of Weatherbury. A disaster befalls Gabriel's farm and he loses his sheep; he is forced to give up farming. He goes looking for work, and in his travels finds himself in Weatherbury. After rescuing a local farm from fire he asks the mistress if she needs a shepherd. It is Bathsheba, and she hires him. As Bathsheba learns to manage her farm she becomes acquainted with her neighbor, Mr. Boldwood, and on a whim sends him a valentine with the words 'Marry me.' Boldwood becomes obsessed with her and becomes her second suitor. Rich and handsome, he has been sought after by many women. Bathsheba refuses him because she does not love him, but she then agrees to reconsider her decision. That very night, Bathsheba meets a handsome soldier, Sergeant Troy.
Unbeknownst to Bathsheba, he has recently impregnated a local girl, Fanny Robin, and almost married her. Troy falls in love with Bathsheba, enraging Boldwood. Bathsheba travels to Bath to warn Troy of Boldwood's anger, and while she is there, Troy convinces her to marry him. Gabriel has remained her friend throughout and does not approve of the marriage. A few weeks after his marriage to Bathsheba, Troy sees Fanny, poor and sick; she later dies giving birth to her child. Bathsheba discovers that Troy is the father. Grief-stricken at Fanny's death and riddled with shame, Troy runs away and is thought to have drowned. With Troy supposedly dead, Boldwood becomes more and more emphatic about Bathsheba marrying him. Troy sees Bathsheba at a fair and decides to return to her. Boldwood holds a Christmas, to which he invites Bathsheba and again proposes marriage; just after she has agreed, Troy arrives to claim her. Bathsheba screams, and Boldwood shoots Troy dead. He is sentenced to life in prison. A few months later, Bathsheba marries Gabriel, now a prosperous bailiff.

Stories of Africa
By: various English Writers

In this book of stories of Africa you will find the familiar Alan Quatermain, a character created by H. Ryder Haggard (think of King Solomon's Mines) and the less familiar as well. A balanced collection of stories this book will surely have something for everyone.
Here is adventure in the Dark Continent, romance, excitement, danger, mystery presented by some of the best writers of their day. The authors include Arthur Conan Doyle, J. Landers, William C. Scully, Percy Hemingway and more.
This is a book you will enjoy.

The Frozen Deep
By: Wilkie Collins

The date is between twenty and thirty years ago. The place is an English sea-port. The time is night. And the business of the moment is--dancing.
The Mayor and Corporation of the town are giving a grand ball, in celebration of the departure of an Arctic expedition from their port. The ships of the expedition are two in number--the Wanderer and the Sea-mew. They are to sail (in search of the Northwest Passage) on the next day, with the morning tide.
Honor to the Mayor and Corporation! It is a brilliant ball. The band is complete. The room is spacious. The large conservatory opening out of it is pleasantly lighted with Chinese lanterns, and beautifully decorated with shrubs and flowers. All officers of the army and navy who are present wear their uniforms in honor of the occasion. Among the ladies, the display of dresses (a subject which the men don't understand) is bewildering--and the average of beauty (a subject which the men do understand) is the highest average attainable, in all parts of the room.

Alexander's Bridge
By: Willa Cather

This novella is a charming period piece, a love story, and a fatalistic fable about a doomed love affair and the lives it destroys. Bartley Alexander's accidental meeting with the Irish actress he loved as a young man seems full of promise but leads instead to dishonesty and betrayal.
The metaphor of the bridge--the conduit to both the past and the future--figures prominently in this story of a Boston architect torn between his ongoing 'mid-life' crisis and his energetic, passion-filled past.
The story moves along well, and there is an interesting Henry James-like contrast of Europe and America. The beginning nicely portrays the Boston upper class, and the dramatic conclusion includes passages of great strength and imagination.

My Antonia
By: Willa Cather

First published in 1918, and set in Nebraska in the late 19th century, this tale of the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family planning to farm on the untamed land comes to us through the romantic eyes of Jim Burden. He is, at the time of their meeting, newly orphaned and arriving at his grandparents' neighboring farm on the same night her family strikes out to make good in their new country. Jim chooses the opening words of his recollections deliberately: 'I first heard of ?ntonia on what seemed to be an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America,' and it seems almost certain that readers of Cather's masterpiece will just as easily pinpoint the first time they heard of ?ntonia and her world. It seems equally certain that they, too, will remember that moment as one of great light in an otherwise unremarkable trip through the world.
?ntonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, 'had not lost the fire of life,' lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather's novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.
As if all this humanity weren't enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature--the high, red grass, the road that 'ran about like a wild thing,' the endless wind on the plains--with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we've just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin and learns Virgil's phrase 'Optima dies ... prima fugit' that Cather uses as the novel's epigraph. 'The best days are the first to flee'--this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My ?ntonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue.

O Pioneers!
By: Willa Cather

Our heroine is named Alexandra, a Swedish woman who has to take care of the family at the death of her father. Meanwhile her brother Emil and her neighbor Marie have a clandestine type of love. This is a heartwarming novel and a very entertaining read. The setting is very well depicted and had a sense of magic. The characters are lively and realistic.

Song of the Lark
By: Willa Cather

The Song of the Lark is a beautifully crafted novel with quite stunning visual and emotional imagery. Cather tells the poignant story of Thea Kronborg, a musically gifted girl. Thea struggles with her quaint, unartistic upbringing and tries to become her own woman. This novel is not one of Cather's easier books to read. If you have not read her before, or have read a little of her, I would suggest reading O Pioneers! or My Antonia. Both are wonderful,lyric novels. The Song of the Lark is one to read after these.

Barry Lyndon
By: William Makepeace Thackeray

Meet Redmond Barry, the proud offshoot of a boozy clan. A handsome Irish upstart, he aspires to the rank of gentleman. He duels, drinks, spies, deserts (from two armies), gambles, cheats, lies and chases every skirt - all with impeccable honor, to hear him tell it.
Young Barry is never more gallant than in pursuit of Lady Lyndon, most sought-after heiress in England. And what lady could refuse her hand - and money - to so magnetic a charmet.
But great rank and wealth - so boldly won, so gloriously squandered - are not to last. Barry Lyndon must yet face the loss of his fortune, the revolt of his stepson, the collapse of his marriage, the death of a beloved child...

Vanity Fair
By: William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray subtitled 'Vanity Fair', his masterful comic novel, 'A Novel Without a Hero'. But while this big, baggy eight-hundred page monstrosity of comic characters and situations may lack a hero, it has two of the most memorable characters in English literature: Amelia Sedley and Becky Sharp. The contrapuntal, shifting fortunes of these two women drive the narrative of this big book, painting, along the way, a brilliant satirical portrait of English and European society at the time of the Napoleonic wars. We first meet Amelia and Becky in the opening pages of the novel, leaving Miss Pinkerton's School for the wider world of fortune, love and marriage. Amelia Sedley, the naive, sheltered daughter of a rich London merchant whose fortunes will dramatically change over the course of her life, 'was a dear little creature; and a great mercy it is, both in life and in novels, which (the latter especially) abound in villains of the most sombre sort, that we are to have for a constant companion so guileless and good-natured a person.' In contrast, Becky Sharp, the impoverished orphan of an artist and a French opera singer of dubious repute, was a calculating, amoral social climber. 'Miss Rebecca was not, then, in the least kind or placable . . . but she had the dismal precocity of poverty.' From the opening pages, Thackeray captures the reader's interest in these two characters and carries the reader through marriages, births, deaths, poverty, misfortune, social climbing . . . even the Battle of Waterloo! While Amelia and Becky wind like a long, contrasting thread from the beginning to the end of this story, there are also plots and subplots, intrigues and authorial asides, and one character after another, all of this literary invention keeping the reader incessantly preoccupied and enthralled. Reading 'Vanity Fair' is the furthest thing from 'killing time' (as the dusty, misguided literary critic F. R. Leavis once said); it is, rather, the epitome of the nineteenth century English comic novel, a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Courtesy: Gary Jakaitis

The Story Of The Glittering Plain
By: William Morris

The Glittering Plain was the first of Morris's great fantasies, published in 1891, and it set the style for such later works as The Wood Beyond the World, The Well at World's End, and The Water of the Wondrous Isles. Morris had perfected the genre by the time he wrote The Glittering Plain. His pseudo-mediaeval prose style is at its most enchanting, while the story keeps the reader enthralled throughout the volume. Morris established several of the hallmarks of heroic fantasy by creating a quasi-medieval setting for his tale and devising a simple, believable framework for magic to work. Here in The Story of the Glittering Plain he pitted his chivalric knights against supernatural forces.
Much of Morris' success is in communicating his own pleasure in these narratives to the reader; and the indefiniteness of place and time in which they are set, contrasted with the extreme definiteness of their imaginary topography, gives them the vivid charm of fairy-tale. His mind still ran upon the northern epic, and the scenes and personages of the first three of these romances, so far as they belong to any country at all, belong to the remote north of Europe.

The Call of the Canyon
By: Zane Grey

Carley Burch, a beautiful young woman must leave her glamorous high society life of New York to follow her fianc?, Glenn Kilbourne, to the rugged Wild West. She braves fierce ruffians, brutal elements and lack of civilization in an attempt to reclaim him. Glenn, suffering from shell shock and the betrayal of his country following World War I, had moved west to recover. He then fell in love with the West and his perspective on life was changed forever. Glen now finds his previous high society life repulsive. Can Carley adapt to the rigorous life of the West? Will she be able to convince Glenn to return to his 'home' in New York? Will she be in time before a rival temptress steals Glenn away?

Now we have not only Microsoft Reader books, but books for Kindle and Nook.

Our books can be accessed on your Smartphone, tablet or eReader. Any time day or night and they are still all free!

None of the books published at this site will be locked down or restricted in any way.

Look for this logo to insure that the book you are
reading is a genuine esspc eBook.

Donations to help me continue to run this site are always welcome. Your help is greatly appreciated

Copyright © 2000 - 2016 Kenneth Mattern, All rights reserved
Last Updated 1/16/2016

This web site is dedicated to Mr. Maltie Sassaman, my fourth grade teacher. When I entered his class I could not read. When I left his class at the end of the school year I was reading at a sixth grade level and I haven't stopped reading since. Were it not for Mr. Sassaman, this page would not exist.