This year I'm trying the Popsugar Reading Challenge: books that fit into 50 wide-ranging categories, based on author, cover, story elements, and odd things like "a book starting with the same letter as the last letter of your last read." I'm going to try not to use the same book for more than one category - but we'll see about that in December.
I've decided to post mini-reviews of the books as I go. Of course, I should have started this in January, when the early books were fresh in my mind! I'll post one every few days until I'm caught up. I'm not doing the prompts in any particular order, just matching them with my TBR pile as I go.
A book set in Victorian times: Basil, by Wilkie Collins. Collins was an early mystery writer, best known for The Woman in White and The Moonstone. Basil is more of a melodrama. Basil, the son of a wealthy gentleman, falls in love at first sight with Margaret - and when I say "at first sight," I mean the first time he ever speaks to her is when he proposes marriage. But Margaret is a mere shopkeeper's daughter, and Basil knows his class-conscious father will disown him if he learns of the marriage.
The plot turns on a couple of major coincidences, including the fact that Mannion, a mysterious employee of Margaret's father, holds a secret, deadly grudge against Basil's father. He tries to make Basil the instrument of his revenge, which leads to some scary stalking and a final battle on a cliff at night.
The writing style got a bit overwrought at times (exclamation! points! everywhere!). But Collins has endured as a writer because he understands storytelling. I was pulled along, reading "just one more chapter" because I had to know what happened next.