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Laura McDonald

Laura McDonald is a web developer by trade who enjoys long walks on the moors--er--hills of Central Texas. She is Girlebooks' founder and site administrator. Laura's literary preferences include Jane Austen, the Brontes, epistolary novels, and travelogues.

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Banned Books Week

We wrap up Banned Books Week with two free ebook offerings: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Black Beauty. At first I thought these two books had nothing to do with one another, but after further research I see a common themes of cruelty, compassion, and propaganda through storytelling. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was … Continue reading .

Send them to the colonies

The following is an excerpt of a lovely review of Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War By Virginia Nicholson. THIS is an inspiring book, lovingly researched, well-written and humane. Virginia Nicholson has found one of those subjects which sits unregarded under our noses, and has discovered in … Continue reading .

"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights is a classic tale of possessive and thwarted passion, one of the forerunners of today’s soap operas and romance novels. The tempestuous and mythic story of Catherine Earnshaw, the precocious daughter of the house, and the ruggedly handsome, uncultured foundling her father brings home and names Heathcliff, is played out against the backdrop of English moors no less wild and raw than the love they develop for one another. Continue reading .

"Lady Audley's Secret" by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Strange to say, the book has some merit as a sensation novel, and, in spite of this puffery, will make its way. It is, in fact, just the sort of book to be read by everybody, – not too sentimental for a man’s requirements, nor too useful for a woman’s; having no end of plots and conspiracies for those who like plots, and plenty of light, easy, agreeable conversation for those who do not. Continue reading .

"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin

Edna Pontellier, the heroine of The Awakening, shocked readers in 1899 and the scandal created by the book haunted Kate Chopin for the rest of her life. The Awakening begins at a crisis point in twenty-eight year-old Edna Pontellier’s life. Continue reading .

Becoming Jane satire

I simply had to share some recent news I’ve been reading on AustenBlog about the new Jane Austen movie, Becoming Jane. First is a great review by Anne Wagner of The Stranger: There isn’t one irritating thing about Becoming Jane, there are about fifty. Even if you don’t care that Anne Hathaway is way too … Continue reading .

"Jacob's Room" by Virginia Woolf

Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf may be downloaded for free from our ebook catalog. Her third novel published in 1922 centers around the life of Jacob Flanders. In an innovative style, Jacob is presented to the reader entirely through impressions of the other characters including the repressed upper-middle-class Clara Durrant and the uninhibited young art … Continue reading .

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen

Moving from regret to jealousy to acceptance, Anne experiences a far wider range of emotions than we see in other Austen characters. At 27, Anne is also far older and more mature in outlook. She hopes for a second chance at love, but is not expecting it. Continue reading .

"Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility may be downloaded for free in our ebook catalog. Also see our illustrated and annotated edition in the ebook store. The primary thing I took away from this book was what a great job Kate Winslet did with the character Marianne in Ang Lee’s film adaptation. She was spot on, and her … Continue reading .

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre isn’t beautiful or rich or of any social consequence. She’s a poor, plain working girl whose concerns and feelings are so expertly portrayed that we almost feel they are our own. Part of Jane’s attraction is her ordinariness. Who wouldn’t connect on some level with her? Through her eyes and ears we see the displays of the upper classes as an outsider–giving the social mores of the time an even more ridiculous tone. Continue reading .


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