Why did I love this book?
This is the oldest book on my list, and one of my all-time favorites. The Thorn Birds tells the sweeping story of Meggie Cleary and her life in rural Australia in the early 20th century. But it is her forbidden decades-long love affair with the haunted priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart, that is at its heart. This story grabbed me for its immersive qualities, certainly. But it’s the intensity of their forbidden relationship that makes it tragic in a way that settles into your soul. How does one survive a life without the love you yearn for? And how many times can a woman’s heart break? There’s a reason that this book is a classic—it reminds us why love is essential to the human condition.