During October in the wonderful world of the bookish internet it is #Victober (short for Victorian October) and we will be reading all of the Victorian things. The event is hosted by four wonderful Youtubers, Lucy, Katie, Ange and Kate, and has several challenges that you can take part in or not, as you feel. As you probably know we're all about challenging ourselves to read things we weren't previously aware of and in the spirit of increasing your TBRs (of course) we have found a whole range of excellent Victorian literature published by brilliant indie publishers.
In case you are planning on taking part in the specific challenges we've added in which challenges each book we've found will work for, and each title will take you through to the publishers' website!
Read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author
Read a supernatural book
Read a book by a lesser known Victorian author (12000 or less reviews on Goodreads)
Read a Victorian book that someone has recommended to you
Read a book by a female Victorian author
First up the wonderful Persephone books. The majority of what Persephone publish is later than the Victorian period but being the wonders they are they do have a solid section of Victoriana too. Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy is set in the Anglo-Jewish community in Bayswater and features a man and a woman who love each other, but his political dreams need money and she has none. Amy Levy was strongly critical of the empty lives of women who did nothing all day and the novel is full of feminism and satire. Definitely on my TBR. Available as a free ebook here. (challenges 3 and 5)
The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one I've actually read and loved myself, although being published in 1901 it only just makes the cut! It's a commentary on marriage , character and what makes people good. It's a lovely novel about a woman who marries late in life getting to grips with lift and marriage as a marchioness amongst the social conventions of the time. Available as a free ebook here. (challenges 4 & 5)
The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow by Margaret Oliphant is about a woman who is left to manage her large estate on her own. Mrs Oliphant was very well known in her own time but hasn't been as well remembered as some of her contemporaries over time. Available as a free ebook here. (challenge 1, 3 and 5)
Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane was originally published in 1895 and is about a 16 year old girl married to a man 20 years older because it's socially advantageous. Translated from the German it isn't 'officially' Victorian by virtue of not being written by a subject of Queen Victoria but it sounds great so we're letting it slide!
Coming back into the realm of Victorian lit you've probably heard of, but staying firmly in the 'indies who produce beautiful books' land, Alma Book has a whole range of Classics, including several Dickens titles (I'd recommend A Christmas Carol personally) and several books by Wilkie Collins (read The Woman in White, it's great). The also have gorgeous editions of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (challenges 1 & 2) and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (challenge 2) among many others.
It's amazing what you find when you go digging through publishers websites. I'd never heard of Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant before I started writing this post and now I have three of her books on my wishlist! Canongate publish several Victorian novels, among them A Beleaguered City and Other Tales of the Seen and Unseen by Margaret Oliphant, a collection of supernatural-esque short stories that would definitely work for RIP as well, in case anyone's doing both. (challenges 1, 2, 3 and 5). Canongate also have a range of audiobooks if you're looking for some #Victober listening, including Vanity Fair (excellent, read it!), Oliver Twist, Adam Bede and Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
During October there are also several readalongs happening. Goodreads groups are linked below if you'd like to join! Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Olliphant
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Are you participating in Victober? Feel free to link your own posts and videos in the comments so we can come and say hi!