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.
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.