This week’s topic is “Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2015” but since I’m not hugely into contemporary fiction, and am not even aware of any particular books that are going to be released for the rest of the year, I thought I’d tackle an older topic instead.
Books that made you cry.
That seems wildly appropriate at the moment, as I’m 36.5 weeks pregnant and getting teary over all sorts of things lately, like sweet photos of my nieces and nephew cuddling together (understandable) and my husband recounting a scene from ’90s comedy he watched the other night (downright silly). So a good book with a couple anguishing scenes is sure to turn on the waterworks these days.
Let’s do this, then!
1. The Midwife by Jennifer Worth
I re-read half this marvellous book when I was pregnant with my daughter and could not finish it for the heart-wrenching stories of women in such difficult situations. The East End of London after the second World War was apparently a hardscrabble place to live; but the hard hearts of people on top of the lack of work, housing and food left me flooding my pillow with tears.
2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
I love everything about Anne of Green Gables, and one thing that LM Montgomery shows so well is that when we open our hearts to love, we also open our hearts to the pain of loss and death. The chapter “The Bend in the Road” breaks my heart every time I re-read this lovely story.
3. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Who could but weep reading these tortured, impassioned words of Stephen Guest? “Perhaps they have told you some such fable about me. Perhaps they tell you I have been ‘travelling.’ My body has been dragged about somewhere; but I have never travelled from the hideous place where you left me . . . Maggie! Whose pain can have been like mine? Whose injury is like mine? Who besides me has met that long look of love that has burnt itself into my soul, so that no other image can come there?” If a brief letter can say so much, imagine what the whole of the novel will do to a reader.
4. The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers
If there is one thing that makes me cry in a book, it is the raw heartache of fraught relationships between parents and children. This book is mostly about social divisions that form when the gospel is brought to a tiny Appalachian village, but it begins with a lot of soul-rubbing bitterness between a grieving mother and daughter.
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Another book that gets me every time. Every word in Jane Eyre is powerful and full of passion – and Jane’s agony when she discovers that Mr. Rochester has deceived her is excruciating.
6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind gave me my first ‘literary hangover.’ I sobbed my way through the end of the novel and languished for days after finishing it, heartsick over Scarlett’s dreadful, callous selfishness, wondering how a person could care so little for the people in her life. A tearful hour describing Scarlett and Rhett’s relationship and the ending of the novel to my husband finally purged the hangover away, but left me timid about re-reading this wonderful novel again any time soon.