Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old skinflint. He hates everyone, especially children. But at Christmas three ghosts come to visit him, scare him into mending his ways, and he finds, as he celebrates with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and their family, that geniality brings its own reward.
When the half-starved Oliver in the workhouse asked for 'more', Dickens created the 19th century's most famous image of protest against cruelty. Yet Oliver Twist develops from a topical satire into something greater. What unfolds is a powerful and violent struggle between Good and Evil, as Oliver becomes ensnared in the labyrinth of London and the nightmare world of Fagin
Maria Edgeworth tackles issues of gender and race in a manner at once comic and thought-provoking. Braving the perils of the marriage market, Belinda learns to think for herself as the examples of her friends prove singularly unreliable. This lively comedy challenges the conventions of courtship, examines questions of female independence, and exposes the limits of domesticity.
Tom Jones is one of the earliest English novels, and was hugely popular when it was first published in 1749. It tells the story of the foundling Tom and his journey towards adulthood and marriage. As might be expected, this journey is a complicated one: he encounters a vivid cast of characters including robbers, soldiers, gypsies and untrustworthy lawyers.
In seeking to discover his inner self, the brilliant Dr Jekyll discovers a monster. First published to critical acclaim in 1886, this mesmerising thriller is a terrifying study of the duality of man's nature, and it is the book which established Stevenson's reputation as a writer.