Sunday, May 8, 2011

12. Princess of Cleves

Princess of Cleves
Madame de La Fayette

I thought this book was a very pleasant past time.  Not a lot of energy or time is needed to read this book and it is always nice to read a simple romance.  This book is about a woman who is married to a man she respects but does not love.  She then falls in love with a duke (mostly because he is attractive) and subsequently laments over her misfortune for the rest of the book.  It was very enjoyable and it was interesting because you were in the character's heads which was not usual for the time.  However, I felt the lovers in this book didn't love each other based on each other's merit, but rather that they craved what they clearly could not have.  The first half of this book is available on Google Books but to find the other volumes you must find a different program.
RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

This novel brilliantly reconstructs the court of Henry II.  The main character is fictional but mostly everyone else were real figures.

During the time this novel came out, there were a huge amount of long romance novels that were highly unrealistic unlike The Princess of Cleves which has a very believable plot line.


  1. I like the comparison with other romances of this time. Very helpful to know where to find this book.

  2. It seems that many of the romances in your books so far have been based on looks and little else. Is that something you have noticed, and why do you think that is?


  3. That is definitely something I have noticed. I think it has to do with women having a very little role in society so the only thing desired of them was obedience and beauty.

  4. I certainly agree that there is a realistic angle in The Pricess of Cleves that makes it very modern compared to anything up to this date on the list. Having said that I found myself being increasingly annoyed with these idle and silly noblemen and -women. Didn't they have anything better to do than chasing each other? No wonder aristocratic rule went downhill from this point.