For instance, everyone knows about The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, but have you actually read the (unabridged, obviously) book? All 500+ pages?
And the, story, well... don't expect the Disney version. Several differences: Quasimodo is deaf in the book, but not the movie; there are no magical gargoyles in the book; Esmeralda ain't that bright in the book. Seriously, she is not the cleanest sock in the laundry. Most of the time she's just exclaiming about her wonderful Phoebus, no matter who else is eloquently proclaiming their love for her, or saving her life, or just treating her much nicer than Phoebus.
I love Quasimodo, but it's hard to feel anything but pity for the poor man. Both he and Don Claude Frollo were unfortunate enough to fall in love with the gypsy girl Esmeralda, and Esmeralda never, throughout the entire book, gives a straw about either of them. Frollo goes a bit overboard in his efforts to win her affections, but Quasimodo just saves her life and treats her with kindness and respect. Frollo, on the other hand, quite literally goes insane. I admit, I really liked him too, but... He's not much of a charmer.
I really loved how Victor Hugo led up the end. He built the stories of all the characters, described the time and setting, and then got deep into the story. It was very nicely done. While I might not read The Hunchback of Notre Dame over and over again (mostly just because of its length), it's definitely a favorite.
Robert Louis Stevenson is known for Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I'm currently reading his little known The Black Arrow, set in the time of the War of the Roses.
While all this happens, he meets Joanna Sedley. During his first encounter with her, she's disguised herself as a boy and is trying to run away from Sir Daniel and her arranged marriage to Dick himself. Dick, poor guy, doesn't realize she's actually Joanna for a long time. But after that, they both realize they're in love with each other and promise that if they ever both escape from the clutches of Sir Daniel, they will get married.
About halfway through the book is when Dick joins the Black Arrow (sorry if this is considered a spoiler), and fights to get Joanna back from Sir Daniel and avenge his father. His first attempts usually fail miserably, but he gets better every time.
I haven't finished this book yet, but I'm confident that it will end well. The story and writing are both wonderful, as are the characters. Dick, while he might be a bit thick (poor thick Dick) at times, is actually pretty cool, and the same goes for Joanna. Lawless (ex-sailor, ex-friar, and now thief) is also awesome. This is my first Robert Louis Stevenson book, and he has definitely piqued my interest.
These are just a few of the many classics I enjoy, but maybe these are some you never really knew or thought about. If you're a lover of classics, or if you just dabble a bit, these are some you should definitely check out.