The most inspirational books of the romantics

Who am I?

I fell in love with Romantic poetry when I was young. Then, after a gap of several years, I began to write historical fiction, and it was at this time that I found myself being drawn once more to the Romantic poets, this time as people as much as for their work. I discovered their place in the world, contested and controversial, and their influence became a driving light to me and my characters. In Beneath Black Clouds and White, Delphi explains: “It has a pulse, you see, like any other living thing. You must treat each poem as though it were alive.” I feel the same way!


I wrote...

Beneath Black Clouds and White

By Virginia Crow,

Book cover of Beneath Black Clouds and White

What is my book about?

Despite adoring his family and enjoying frequenting gaming tables, Captain Josiah Tenterchilt’s true love is the British Army. Accompanied by his wife to Flanders, Josiah finds his path crosses with a man who could not be more different from him: an apprentice surgeon named Henry Fotherby. As these two men pursue their own actions, fate and the careful connivance of a mysterious individual will push them together for the rest of their lives.

But it is a tumultuous time, and the French revolutionaries are not the only ones who pose a threat. The two gentlemen must find their place in a world where the constraints of social class are inescapable, and ‘slavery or abolition’ are the words on everyone’s lips.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Hours of Idleness

Virginia Crow Why did I love this book?

People will tell you Byron produced his best works in later life (not that late, though because he died at the age of 36), his literary prowess capping at Don Juan. That could be true, but there is something beautifully human about Hours of Idleness. It includes my absolute favourite poem, "Lachin y Gair". It’s the poem that rekindled my love of Byron’s poetry after several years of absence, drenched in the poet’s desperation to belong in that history. That same connection with the cultural past is what turned me to writing historical fiction.

But the book is more than just one poem. It’s a youth’s progression into a man, and (as you might expect from Byron) features all the sordidness and bitterness of the emergence of an adult soul.

By George Gordon Byron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hours of Idleness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.


Book cover of Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Virginia Crow Why did I love this book?

This book is like looking at the two mirrored sides of the soul. The beauty and simplicity of innocence against the calculated approach of experience. There is one poem in it, "The Little Black Boy", which is a beautiful look through a spectacular naivety at the issue of slavery and racism as it was in the late 18th Century. It features the line:

“When I from black and he from white cloud free.”

And this is where the title of my book came from.

By William Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Songs of Innocence and of Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience includes some of the visionary poet's finest and best-loved poems such as 'The Lamb', 'The Chimney-Sweeper' and 'The Tiger'.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library, a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold-foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition has a foreword by Peter Harness.

Blake's work is instantly recognizable by its flamboyance and inventiveness. This gorgeous edition contains stunning reproductions of the fifty-four plates of the poems and illustrations together, which Blake etched himself and coloured by…


Book cover of Ballads and Lyrical Pieces

Virginia Crow Why did I love this book?

I’m a person with limited interests so, as well as loving history and poetry, I also collect bits of both… Ballads and Lyrical Pieces is one of the only books I can boast about having a first edition of!

I have a lot of time for Walter Scott, not only as a writer, but as a cultural politician and a folklorist. A lot of the pieces in this book are not solely his work, but the reimagining of local ballads. After scooping up these, there’s no wonder he went on to invent the romanticised “Scottishness” we recognise today. This book, 15 years before Scott influenced George IV’s visit to Scotland, shows where his own influences came from.

By Walter Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ballads and Lyrical Pieces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leopold is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure…


Book cover of The Spirit of the Age

Virginia Crow Why did I love this book?

I’m a sucker for a good primary source, but I’m even more of a fan of the 1.5 sources. I love the sources which are of the time but are influenced as much by rumour as fact. This collection of essays does its best to be objective, but there are people amongst these pages who have been so strongly immortalised in popular opinion, but sometimes facts have been discarded in favour of Hazlitt’s own opinion. But, from the point of view of a historical fiction writer, this is priceless, because it unearths a contemporary viewpoint and opens a window onto the thoughts of a people about The Spirit of the Age!

By William Hazlitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spirit of the Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Book cover of John Keats: Poetry, Life and Landscapes

Virginia Crow Why did I love this book?

I first came across this book through Twitter, and was very excited to find it on my present pile later in the year! This is a brilliant telling of each aspect of Keats’ life, looking at the impact the young poet had on those around him, those who knew him by reputation, and those who are still impacted by his legacy – the author included! The research and deliverance of this book is clearly a labour of love, and it makes for engaging reading and a sympathetic look at this historical figure.

Why Keats? Well, Henry Fotherby in my own book has the same overall outlook as the young poet – but he manages to complete his path to becoming a surgeon!

By Suzie Grogan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked John Keats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_We read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the Author_.' (John Keats to J.H. Reynolds, Teignmouth May 1818)

John Keats is one of Britain's best-known and most-loved poets. Despite dying in Rome in 1821, at the age of just 25, his poems continue to inspire a new generation who reinterpret and reinvent the ways in which we consume his work.

Apart from his long association with Hampstead, North London, he has not previously been known as a poet of 'place' in the way we associate Wordsworth with the Lake…


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Book cover of Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

Jennifer Silva Redmond Author Of Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Writer of Memoir Editor of everything Sailor of Seas Daily Dog Walker Intrepid Traveler

Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When Jennifer Shea married Russel Redmond, they made a decision to spend their honeymoon at sea, sailing in Mexico. The voyage tested their new relationship, not just through rocky waters and unexpected weather, but in all the ways that living on a twenty-six-foot sailboat make one reconsider what's truly important.

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By Jennifer Silva Redmond,

What is this book about?

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In this charming, meditative memoir, Jennifer recounts that fateful first year, moving back and forth with the currents of her life. On their voyage, the couple sailed Watchfire to Baja California's Sea of Cortez, where they spent twelve months before sailing south along Mexico and Central America and through the…


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Interested in Romanticism, World War 1, and Europe?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Romanticism, World War 1, and Europe.

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