Born on the 15th of April 1843, 2018 brings the 175th anniversary of the birth of legendary writer Henry James. Nominated for the Nobel Prize three times and known by contemporary fellow novelists as ‘the Master’, approaching a writer of this calibre for the first time is daunting. There are countless novels, novellas and plays to choose from but which is the best to start with? Here are our top picks of the books by Henry James to start reading first.

The Ambassadors

One of Henry James’s later masterpieces is this dark comedy about Lewis Lambert Strether, a man following his heart to Paris in order to rescue his fiancee’s son, Chad. The charm of Parisian culture has transformed Chad, will Lewis succumb to the allure?

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The Wings of the Dove

Kate and Merton are desperately in love but have no money to marry, whilst wealthy New York socialite Milly is also in love but has a fatal illness. Henry James delves into doomed passions and human resilience in this brooding New York novel.

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