Tag: Books: Books on France Reading Challenge 2013

Review: Madame Bovary

Posted 30 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Madame Bovary
By: Gustave Flaubert
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi.’

Some time ago I was on the hunt for some novels featuring a lot of internal drama (one of my favourite topics/facets in novels); someone had mentioned this novel. I’ve been slowly getting around to my classics (this year is shaping up to be the year of French classic literature) and decided to read this book at long last. Contains spoilers ahead!

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Review: The Iron King

Posted 25 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Iron King (The Accursed Kings #1)
By: Maurice Druon
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

The Iron King – Philip the Fair – is as cold and silent, as handsome and unblinking as a statue. He governs his realm with an iron hand, but he cannot rule his own family: his sons are weak and their wives adulterous; while his red-blooded daughter Isabella is unhappily married to an English king who prefers the company of men.

A web of scandal, murder and intrigue is weaving itself around the Iron King; but his downfall will come from an unexpected quarter. Bent on the persecution of the rich and powerful Knights Templar, Philip sentences Grand Master Jacques de Molay to be burned at the stake, thus drawing down upon himself a curse that will destroy his entire dynasty…

I’ve had this book on my want-to-read list ever since I heard how much George R.R. Martin enjoyed this series. It sounded pretty epic, covering a chunk of French dynastic history. It has been out of print for decades but HarperCollins UK decided to re-print them recently, which is awesome. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Books: Books on France Reading Challenge 2013

Posted 23 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Books on France Reading Challenge 2013
hosted @ Words and Peace

I wasn’t planning on signing up for a reading challenge or anything this 2013 but I noticed that I was reading a lot of books set in France lately and have a number of books on my to-read pile that’s set in France or written by a French author so I figured, why not? =) Basically this challenge includes any books set in France or contains any French themes; the full list can be found on the challenge main page.


  • LEVEL 1, “un peu” = 3 books (one per quarter for instance)
  • LEVEL 2, “beaucoup”= 6 books
  • LEVEL 3, “passionnément” = 12 books (one/month, for instance)
  • LEVEL 4, “à la folie”= 52 books (one/week, for instance)

These are the books I’m planning to read that are on my to-read list at present. This list is, of course, subject to change:

  • Denyse Beaulieu’s The Perfume Lover: A Personal History of Scent (ARC; set in France, focuses on the perfume industry there) — review
  • Alexandre Dumas’ La dame aux camelias (French author; set in France) — review
  • Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris: the novel (ARC; set in France) — review
  • Maurice Druon’s The Iron King, book 1 of the Accursed Kings (French author; set in France) — review
  • Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (French author; set in France) — review
  • Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo (French author; set in France) — review
  • Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame of Paris (French author; set in France) — review
  • Honore de Balzac’s Pere Goriot (French author; set in France) — review
  • Honore de Balzac’s Cousin Bette (French author; set in France) — review
  • Benjamin Constable’s Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa (ARC; partly set in France) — review
  • Paulita Kincer’s The Summer of France (set in France) — review
  • Deanna Raybourn’s A Spear of Summer Grass (partly set in France) — review
  • Alan Furst’s Mission to Paris (eGalley; set in France) — review
  • Laurie R. King’s The Bones of Paris (eGalley/ARC; set in France) — review
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Watcher in the Shadows (set in France) — review
  • Jojo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind (eGalley; partly set in France) — review
  • Isabelle Lafleche’s J’adore Paris (set in Paris) — review
  • Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami (French author; set in France) — review
  • Ayse Kulin’s Last Train to Istanbul (eGalley; partly set in France) — review
  • Christopher Angel’s The Mona Lisa Speaks (set in France) — review
  • M.K. Tod’s Unravelled (partly set in France) — review
  • Susan Conley’s Paris Was the Place (set in France) — preview post
  • P.S. Duffy’s The Cartographer of No-Man’s Land (party set in France) — review

And naturally most of the books on my list are classics xP We’ll see how this goes!

Edit: Just heard that re-reads are acceptable for this challenge. I’ve been hoping to re-read the following at some point so I’ll add them to the list as incentive ^_~

  • Anna Gavalda’s Ensemble C’est Tout (Hunting and Gathering; French author; set in France) — commentary
  • Sebastien Japrisot’s A Very Long Engagement (French author; set in France) — review
  • Irene Nemirovsky’s All Our Worldly Goods (emigrated to France; set in France) — commentary

Review: Paris

Posted 18 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Paris: The Novel
By: Edward Rutherfurd
Format/Source: e-galley courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

This breathtaking multigenerational saga takes readers on a journey through thousands of years of glorious Parisian history–from its founding under the Romans to the timeless love story of Abelard and Heloise against the backdrop of the building of Notre Dame; to the martyrdom of Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years War; to the dangerous manipulations of Cardinal Richelieu and the bloody religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants; to the gilded glories of Versailles; to the horrors of the French Revolution and the conquests of Napoleon; to the beauty and optimism of the belle epoque when Impressionism swept the world; to the hotbed of cultural activity of the 1920s and ’30s that included Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, and the writers of the Lost Generation; to the Nazi occupation and the incredible efforts of the French Resistance.

Edward Rutherfurd is amazing. I love how he’s able to write so many vivid stories over the course of how many centuries, all set in a particular city or country. Granted, I’ve only read one of his books so far, Russka, but the acclaim for his work is well-founded. I was excited that Paris was his latest location to set his novel because that city is just rich in history. I was fortunate to be approved of a galley to this novel via NetGalley.

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Review: La Dame Aux Camelias

Posted 5 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

La Dame Aux Camelias
By: Alexandre Dumas (fils)
Format: eBook

Marguerite Gautier is the most beautiful, brazen–and expensive–courtesan in all of Paris. Despite being ill with consumption, she lives a glittering, moneyed life of nonstop parties and aristocratic balls and savors every day as if it were her last.

Into her life comes Armand Duval. Young, handsome, and recklessly headstrong, he is hopelessly in love with Marguerite, but not nearly rich enough. Yet Armand is Marguerite’s first true love, and against her better judgment, she throws away her upper-class lifestyle for him. But as intense as their love for each other is, it challenges a reality that cannot be denied….

I was in the mood for a classic on the short-ish side (a tall feat seeing as most of the classics that are on the to-be-read list are on the chunky side) and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that La Dame aux Camelias fit the bill! I actually learned more recently that this was written by Alexandre Dumas’ son who happens to have the same name as him (totally disregarded my faint grasp of French when I saw the (fils) bit *blushes*), but that’s cool all the same.

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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