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Popular Novels Inspired by Classics

January 9, 2024

By Sarah Gray

If there’s one thing Canterbury Classics knows for certain, it’s that epic tales in classic literature stand the test of time. Whether it be Hollywood blockbuster films, theater, or modern literature, these timeless stories of adventure, love, and loss are retold again and again.

Read on for a list of bestselling novels that are actually homages to popular classics.

Hello Beautiful and Little Women

It’s no surprise that the four Padavano sisters are actually based on the well-known March sisters from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Throughout Hello Beautiful, the four sisters even fight over which March sister they’re most similar to. (Spoiler alert: Everyone wants to be Jo!)

If you’ve read Hello Beautiful, consider giving Alcott’s original novel a try. They’re both stories of of love, family, and most of all, the power of sisterhood.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Macbeth

If you hadn’t noticed already, the title of Gabrielle Zevin’s popular novel is a famous line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Although subtle, Zevin alludes to the tragic play several times throughout her bestselling book on the power of relationships.

Both Macbeth and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow pack a powerful emotional punch. We recommend reading both to truly digest the connections between the modern novel and the classic play.

Bridget Jone’s Diary and Pride and Prejudice

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy didn’t have the best first impression of each other. Neither did Bridget Jones and ill-tempered Mark Darcy. (Consider both characters being called “Darcy” as evidence of Helen Fielding’s inspiration!) The comparisons don’t end there…let’s not forget that Elizabeth’s George Wickham and Bridget’s Daniel Cleaver are both absolute scoundrels.

Read Jane Austen’s original love story to see why it inspired author Helen Fielding and so many others to retell the tale.

The Song of Achilles and The Iliad

It probably doesn’t come as a shock that BookTok-famous Song of Achilles is a retelling of a well-known Greek classic. Madeline Miller explores the relationship between Homer’s Achilles and Patroclus.

Circe and The Odyssey

Madeline Miller’s second novel, Circe, circles back to another of Homer’s epic tales—The Odyssey.

If you’re a fan of either Miller novel, we recommend reading Homer’s original works. And you’re in luck, because Canterbury Classics has a Leather-Bound edition containing both.

These Violent Delights and Romeo and Juliet

It’s clear that Chloe Gong’s Roma and Juliette are based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The tale of two star-crossed lovers pulled apart by a violent family feud has been a story retold for centuries.

The themes in William Shakespeare‘s play are central to many modern works of fiction today. Whether it be the novel These Violent Delights or the dozen Romeo and Juliet-inspired films (Ever seen West Side Story?), the timelessness of William’s original play is undeniable.

As a special treat, we’ve included a video on modern novels inspired by classic literature. It’s a testament to the gorgeous covers we’ve curated here at Canterbury Classics.

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