Modern Books Based On Classic Literature - Part One
Classic literature has been reimagined a number of times, with each inspired author hoping to capture the charm and magic of the original story and set it within a contemporary context; pairing the universal themes that transcend time with ideas that are relevant and relatable today.
If you’re on the lookout for modern books based on classic literature, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a list of ten contemporary novels that were very much inspired by the stories we’re all familiar with. (Oh, and they’re all rated at least 3.5 stars on Amazon.)
Here are the first five! (You can read about the second five books right here.)
Pride - Ibi Zoboi | 4.5 Stars
Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
This brilliant book follows teenager Zuri Benitez who takes pride in her family, heritage and neighbourhood - a neighbourhood that is falling victim to rapid gentrification.
The problem is only exacerbated when the wealthy Darcy family move in across the road, with Zuri taking a particular dislike to the arrogant and judgmental Darius, one of the two teenage sons.
First impressions, however, can be deceiving and the two teens soon find themselves on common ground with a surprising and unexpected understanding of one another.
The Hours - Michael Cunningham | 4.5 Stars
Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.
The three separate narratives switch throughout the book. One narrative, set in 1923, explores the day in which Virginia herself begins to write the book in question. The second is set in 1949 and follows a day in the life of housewife, Laura Brown. The final narrative explores the day of Clarissa Vaughn in the late twentieth century - she’s hosting a party for her poet-friend, Richard.
The Boy Who Steals Houses - C.G Drew | 4.5 Stars
Inspired by Robert Southey’s Goldilocks.
Sam, fifteen, is responsible for himself and his autistic older brother after being abandoned by his immediate and extended relatives. In order to build a new life for them both, he takes to ‘stealing houses’ - breaking into empty homes. All that changes when he is caught red handed by a family. Surprisingly, this loud and chaotic family take Sam under their wing. It’s here that Sam ends up falling for the beautiful Moxie.
Is it all too good to be true? Sam has a secret, and his past might just catch up with him...
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renée Ahdieh | 4.5 Stars
Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights / Arabian Nights.
Shahrzad, sixteen, is determined to avenge her friend who died at the hands of murderous boy-king, Khalid. Khalid takes a new bride each night only for them to be found dead the following morning. With revenge in mind, the teenager successfully sets her sights on being his next bride, but the events that come next are both unexpected and surprising.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy - Margot Livesey | 4.0 Stars
Inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
After a troubled upbringing as an orphan, being ‘cared’ for by adults who were at best indifferent and at worst abusive towards her, Gemma Hardy is delighted to finally settle on the Orkney Islands after taking a job as an au pair. She looks after the eight year old niece of Hugh Sinclair, an intriguing and wealthy businessman. It’s not long before the two are drawn to one another and with that, the biggest trial of her life so far begins.
Passion, deceit, redemption, discovery… What will it lead her to? And is their journey worth it?