Here’s 5 brilliant classic reads if you are longing to extend the French connection.
Flaubert, Gustave – Madame Bovary – Brought up on a Normandy farm, convent-educated and an avid reader of sentimental novels, Emma Bovary longs for a life of luxury and high romance. She is married to a well-meaning but mediocre country doctor, but she is far from fulfilled. She seeks to escape her boredom through extravagant spending sprees and, eventually, adultery
Mantel, Hilary – A Place of Greater Safety. Written several years before Wolf Hall, the novel recounts events between the fall of the ancient regime and the peak of the terror, as seen through the eyes of the French Revolution’s three protagonists – Georges-Jacques Danton, Maximilien Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins, men whose mix of ambition and ego helped unleash the darker side of the Revolution’s ideals.
Zola, Emile – Germinal Zola’s masterpiece of working life. It exposes the inhuman conditions of miners in northern France in the 1860s.
The central figure, Etienne Lantier, is an outsider who enters the community and eventually leads his fellow-miners in a strike protesting against pay-cuts.
Alain-Fournier – The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes)- Magical.
Fifteen-year-old François Seurel narrates the story of his relationship with seventeen-year-old Augustin Meaulnes as Meaulnes searches for his lost love. Impulsive, reckless and heroic, Meaulnes embodies the romantic ideal, the search for the unobtainable, and the mysterious world between childhood and adulthood
Orczy, Baroness –The Scarlet Pimpernel –‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ is an adventure story in the grand style, as the ‘damned elusive Pimpernel’ and his intrepid colleagues take on the mighty forces of Revolutionary France