Tag: Books: French Literature

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: 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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Review: The Three Musketeers

Posted 30 October, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Three Musketeers
By: Alexandre Dumas

This swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of d’Artagnan, a brash young man from the countryside who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to become a musketeer and guard to King Louis XIII. Before long he finds treachery and court intrigue-and also three boon companions: the daring swordsmen Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Together they strive heroically to defend the honor of their queen against the powerful Cardinal Richelieu and the seductive spy Milady.

The Three Musketeers is one of those novels that I always knew of (the gist of the plot, the main characters) but never got around to reading. My brother read the book about a year or two ago and kept insisting ever since that I should read it. Well, I finally got around to reading it (yay)!

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Review: The Phantom of the Opera

Posted 7 July, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Phantom of the Opera
By: Gaston Leroux

First published in French as a serial in 1909, “The Phantom of the Opera” is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. Leroux’s work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik’s past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows.

The Phantom of the Opera is one of those books that I’ve always heard of but I’m not entirely sure why I never bothered to pick up until now. I’ve never seen the stage adaptation (though it was played here a long time ago) and I haven’t watched the movie adaptation that came out a few years ago so I was approaching this novel with no knowledge about the story at all.

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