Anything by Jane Austen
To me, Jane Austen just screams spring. Whether it's because the stories take place in the English countryside, or because the book covers themselves are always light and floral and pretty - I just love me some Jane Austen in the spring. My personal favourites are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion - both are beautiful love stories, one about discovering new love from dislike and one about rediscovering old love. Mansfield Park and Emma (the two books shown above) are the two Jane Austen classics I hope to get too this spring.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A lovely children's book about a secret garden (it's in the title, so no spoilers). The book itself explores childhood neglect and the healing powers of friendship, love and the outdoors. It's all about new beginnings and rejuvenation, and that seems like a very appropriate spring theme to read about. While the children are some of the biggest spoiled brats I've ever read about - I did enjoy this book and think it's a quick spring read!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Another book by a classic female author - Jane Eyre is, arguably, one of the first truly feminist novels. The primary character, Jane Eyre, is an independent woman - who does not not compromise her beliefs or herself in the pursuit of love. While a long, and sometimes slow novel, it is a book about the power of one woman over the trials and tribulations she faces in her life. Jane is an amazing heroine - and her journey of self-discovery, self-reflection and love seems like a great book of discovery for this season that celebrates new beginnings.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - this weird and zany story by Lewis Carroll has enough of the mad and fantasy to be a wonderful book to read while sitting in a park. It's a short novel, and it's full of madcap characters and crazy riddles and poems.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Yet another fairy tale retelling, this one perhaps one of the most famous. Though it was butchered by the movie (which I enjoy but realize is NOTHING like the book) the book Ella Enchanted is amazing - it is about a strong young woman discovering her inner strength in a very cruel and trying situation. In particular, the romance with Prince Char is so well done, sweet, and truly well-developed and believable - it is not well replicated in the movie at all. Seriously, the book this time is so much better - a story full of magic, romance and strong heroines and all about discovering your inner power!
The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson
Or pretty much anything by Eva Ibbotson. Ibbotson's books are historical fiction stories usually set between the 1920s and 1940s. The Secret Countess follows the story of a refugee Russian duchess who takes work as a scullery maid at an English manor. The story is light and sweet, the characters are enchanting, and the romance is more romantic than fiery - definitely the sweet sort of love story I enjoy reading in the spring.
The Shadow Reader trilogy by Sandy Williams
This is one of my favourite faerie urban-fantasy series I've ever read. The series explores the adventures of McKenzie, a shadow reader, who can read between the dimensions of our world and the world of faeries, and can see the fair folk. For me, faeries always see to make me think of springtime and this is a wonderful adult faerie novel for people looking to expand beyond YA-faeries. The books have adventure, love triangles and a badass female heroine and for the most part they are fairly YA-friendly - with little of the erotica elements common in many other urban-fantasy novels.
Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
This is probably the most underrated fantasy series I've ever read. It has such a complex and wonderfully built world - with it's own well laid out religion and magic system that is both well-explained without being an info-dump. Furthermore the stories focus on strong female characters and try to create strong female friendships, and while romance exists it is never the central focus of the series. The first book, Troubled Waters, is a necessary read to introduce yourself to this wonderful world by Sharon Shinn. With it's strong ties to "elemental magic" the magic of the book talks a lot about the earth and the elements, and discusses land and nature in a way that, to me, is very reminiscent of spring.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
While this is not my favourite stand-alone fantasy, I can't deny its popularity, or that it is a fantastic spring read. This book deals with an evil dark forest that is slowly taking over the countryside, and has earth magic that is so well described you can imagine the taste of the magic at certain points. It is earthy, and well-written, and is highly popular - the characters just weren't my cup of tea. However; I believe that most people would enjoy this book more than I, and I believe it makes a great darker read for spring, with a sinister forest that takes over - perfect for when the world is waking up from winter.
ANYTHING BY JULIET MARILLIER
Books: Shadowfell Trilogy, Daughter of the Forest, Deerskin, Wildwood Dancing, Heart's Blood
While I was making this list, one name kept popping up to me - Juliet Marillier. All of her books just scream "spring" to me - I think because most of the ones I've read are fairy tale retellings, and often deal with self-discovery and new beginnings. Furthermore, so many of them deal with dark, lush forests and leafy green settings that simply seem spring-y. The above listed books are just a few of my favourites by this amazing author - but pretty much anything by her you can't go wrong. While I do place warnings on some of these books (Daughter of the Forest and Deerskin) for rape and abuse, Wildwood Dancing and the Shadowfell Trilogy are YA novels and are less dark in the plot without sacrificing the emotional punch Marillier's stories. Heart's Blood and Wildwood Dancing are, in particular, two of my favourite fairy tale retellings ever - they are magical, but with such real and understandable characters who tear out your heart. Just go read Marillier because she is so underrated in the blogging community!