Book Selections

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen



Sense and Sensibility

As we sashay through the lovely season of summer, our thoughts turn to the classic novel Sense and Sensibility—a tale of romance, heartbreak, and the social mores of nineteenth-century England. Follow along as we explore the lives of the Dashwood sisters: practical Elinor, with her respect for the traditions of society, and impetuous Marianne, who leads with her heart, come what may. Find a charming edition of this timeless volume in our online shop, and join our weekly discussion on the Victoria Classics Book Club Facebook page. Combining our love of reading and tea, we share five of our favorite scone recipes and a tea menu inspired by author Jane Austen.

Book Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Discussion Questions
Entertaining Ideas
Additional Reading 

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan



The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Once Upon a Wardrobe

Our Spring 2023 quarter comprises two books! C. S. Lewis’s beloved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe follows four children who step through the back of a seemingly ordinary armoire into the magical world of Narnia, brimming with characters—some kind, some cruel, but all memorable. New York Times best-selling author Patti Callahan also captivates us with Once Upon a Wardrobe, a companion novel to Lewis’s classic. In this heartwarming story, set in 1950—the year the original tale was released—we meet a University of Oxford student who sets out to answer her young brother’s question: “Where did Narnia come from?” Find a Victoria contributor’s reflections on C. S. Lewis below, along with our recipe for Turkish Delight!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte



Wuthering Heights

Become immersed in this sweeping tale of romance and revenge. Amid the atmospheric setting of the moorlands of West Yorkshire in England, Emily Brontë details the family drama that unfolds across generations at the Earnshaw family estate. The relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine— encapsulated by her impassioned declaration: “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”—remains one of the most memorable in all of literature. Whether an ideal gift for a Brontë devotee or a treat to yourself, the luxuriously illustrated edition available in our online shop is perfect for anyone who feels a connection to this enduring volume.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland

A world of enchantment awaits in the pages of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s fanciful tale of a young girl’s journey down the rabbit hole into unforgettable realms of imagination. First published in 1865 as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this English novel has been beloved by generations of readers. In our online shop, find the beautifully bound Royal Collector’s Edition, which includes more than forty original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. Friend of Victoria Hayley Solano lends her passion for the volume to this quarter’s offerings, with a celebration inspired by the Mad Hatter’s tea party and a post detailing her favorite children’s books. 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls

After discovering the story of New York socialite-turned-philanthropist Caroline Ferriday’s lilac gardens in the May 1999 issue of Victoria magazine, Martha Hall Kelly was inspired to visit the Bellamy-Ferriday house in Bethlehem, Connecticut, to view the famed blooms herself. Upon arriving, her curiosity grew and sparked research of Caroline’s incredible life, eventually leading to her writing our newest selection. Following the lives of three women navigating the terrors of World War II, a beautiful story of friendship and redemption is revealed. Influenced by this powerful tale, find a sweet recipe using fragrant lilac blossoms, and be sure to collect your copy of Lilac Girls in our shop!

Book Title: Lilac Girls
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Discussion Questions
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Additional Reading 

The Enchanted April

Celebrating its centennial of publication, this charming tale follows four female characters—strangers drawn by an ad bidding “those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine” to retreat to a small castle on the shores of the Mediterranean. Escaping London for a joint holiday in Italy, the women forge new friendships and soon find themselves individually transformed by the month away. At the links below, read about an unexpected connection discovered in Tuscany, and share your own memories and observations in our discussion forum. Plus, savor an alfresco tea party with a tantalizing menu of recipes inspired by the book! Find copies of The Enchanted April  in our shop.

Shepherds Abiding

In Jan Karon’s book Shepherds Abiding, experience the sweet and simple joys of a small-town Christmas. In this eighth novel in the Mitford series, characters usher in the holiday season with an annual Advent Walk. They stroll through the streets, singing joyous carols and ending the tour with refreshments at a local church. At the links below, we share in the community’s enthusiasm, serving up a menu perfect for rewarding a group of merry songsters, as well as offering ideas for decking the halls with citrus. For the book lovers on your list, find a limited number of signed copies of the volume in our online shop. Don’t miss this festive quarter of discussion!

Bathed in Prayer

Writer-in-Residence Jan Karon invites Victoria readers, so many of whom are longtime fans of the Mitford series, to walk with central figure Father Tim through a collection of prayers, sermons, and inspirational passages. This volume incorporates material from each of the fourteen Mitford novels and also includes an essay from the #1 New York Times best-selling author. Reflecting upon Father Tim and Cynthia’s journey to the homeland of his ancestors, at the links below, explore “A Tour of Ireland” and sample a collection of traditional Irish recipes. Find a limited number of signed copies of the book in our online shop, and join us for a quarter of thoughtful discussion.

Come Rain or Come Shine

You are cordially invited to celebrate the long-awaited nuptials of two beloved characters in #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author Jan Karon’s Mitford series. Over the course of ten novels, fans have kept a special place in their hearts for Dooley Kavanagh, first seen as a barefoot, freckle-faced boy in filthy overalls. Now, Father Tim Kavanagh’s adopted son is fully grown and ready to marry the love of his life. Find a limited number of signed copies of this volume in our online shop, and join us in the discussion forum to share reflections on the happy tale. At the Entertaining Ideas link below, “A Mitford-Inspired Wedding Feast” offers a tantalizing menu of recipes from the Victoria test kitchens.

At Home in Mitford and Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

Victoria is pleased to welcome Jan Karon as Writer-in-Residence for 2021. To complement the essays and editorial features gracing the magazine’s pages this year, the Victoria Classics Book Club will delve into favorite titles written by the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author. We invite new and devoted fans of the Mitford series to join us in reading either At Home in Mitford or Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. Find a limited number of signed copies of each volume in our online shop, and join us for an exciting discussion of themes common to both. Plus, sample our recipe for Mini Orange Marmalade Cakes—our take on the intriguing signature dessert of the series.

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own childhood inspired the nine-book Little House series, which has been cherished by generations of readers as both a glimpse into America’s frontier history and as heartwarming, unforgettable stories. Find a lovely hardback edition of the third book in our online shop. In this volume, adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for the vast skies of the Kansas Territory. Peruse companion materials below, including links to our discussion forum and to a trio of scrumptious pie recipes. Don’t miss our feature about the idyllic homestead in the Missouri Ozarks Region where the author recorded her memories.

The Secret Garden

Escape into a world of enchantment and possibility with this cherished tale. Frances Hodgson Burnett invites readers to discover, alongside nine-year-old Mary Lennox, the magic hidden within a walled English garden on her uncle’s estate. Cultivating this oasis brings about healing, not only for the orphaned girl, but also for her sickly cousin Colin. Linked below, find a beautiful bonded-leather edition, a tempting teatime menu to accompany your reading, and the opportunity to lend your thoughts to our discussion forum.

Book Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Discussion Questions
Entertaining Ideas
Additional Reading 

Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales

Noted author and artist Beatrix Potter was captivated by England’s Lake District during childhood holidays spent among the quaint hamlets and misty moors. As a girl, she collected small animals during these trips and gently tamed them into pets. The domesticated creatures provided inspiration and companionship during her solitary Victorian childhood as she developed her creative talents. When Beatrix grew into adulthood, these tales were published, and her now-cherished stories and illustrations continue to enchant generations of children.

Book Title: Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales
Author: Beatrix Potter
Editor: Frederick Warne
Discussion Questions
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Additional Reading

Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery invites readers to explore Avonlea through the eyes of her exuberant main character, Anne Shirley. When the high-spirited orphan arrives at Green Gables, she surprises everyone with her bright red hair, wild imagination, and tendency to talk a mile a minute. But with her sweet disposition and quick wit, “Anne with an e” soon finds her place among new friends. Purchase the first book in the series in our online shop, and peruse companion materials below, including links to our discussion forum and to a delicious menu of fruit-filled dessert recipes. Plus, discover the countryside and communities of Canada’s picturesque Prince Edward Island, once home to the beloved author.

Pride and Prejudice

This classic tale, consistently listed among the most popular titles in English literature, chronicles protagonist Elizabeth Bennet’s journey to love with the wealthy Mr. Darcy, considered an archetype of the aloof romantic hero. Fans of Jane Austen will adore the complete and unabridged collection of her novels—a beautifully styled clothbound hardback volume presented in an elegant slip case—featured in the November/December 2019 issue of Victoria and now available in our online shop. Companion materials below, including links to our discussion forum and to a delightful teatime menu, offer opportunities for connection. Plus, learn how one of today’s best-selling writers finds inspiration in the legacy of the foremost author of Regency fiction.

Jane Eyre

A haunting journey of self-discovery, this novel by Charlotte Brontë follows the travails and triumphs of a young orphaned girl whose indomitable spirit cannot be broken. During her tenure as governess to the children of the handsome Mr. Rochester, Jane falls deeply in love with her mysterious and moody employer, but dark secrets threaten to swallow their budding romance. Find a charming clothbound edition of this volume in our shop. Companion materials below, including a link to our discussion forum and a visit to the former home of the Brontë sisters, bring the gothic tale to life. Plus, sample a trio of dessert recipes chosen as an ode to the custards, cheesecakes, and French pastries the main character helps make in Chapter Seventeen.

Gift from the Sea, Victoria Book Club

Gift from the Sea

In this inimitable classic, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, peace, solitude, and contentment during a brief escape to the shore. “I have read this wonderful book at least once a year since 1996,” says Victoria reader Linda Chudej, “and each year the author’s words mean something different to me. No matter where I am in my thoughts about life, Gift from the Sea helps clarify my path.” This review echoes the sentiments of many others who have found inspiration in Lindbergh’s musings on the shifting shapes of a woman’s relationships. Find the 50th-anniversary edition of the book in our shop, and explore companion materials below, including discussion questions and a tantalizing menu perfect for hosting a book-club gathering. Plus, our readers share memories of treasures discovered at the water’s edge.

Little Women

In celebration of the novel’s 150th anniversary, we are pleased to announce Little Women as our inaugural Victoria Classics Book Club selection. Whether the March sisters have been your treasured friends since childhood or you will meet them for the first time, we hope that you will join us in delving into this timeless tale of unconditional love. Find a commemorative hardback edition of the book in our shop, and peruse companion materials below, including discussion questions and a peek into Louisa May Alcott’s childhood home.
And don’t miss our recipe for Rose and Raspberry–Infused Blancmange, an English berry pudding every bit as elegant as Meg’s “too pretty to eat” version that Jo presented to Laurie in Chapter Five.