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All This, and Heaven Too (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – May 1, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A tensely dramatic story, romantic and beautiful, rich and amazing. . . .  A novel in the grand tradition of story-telling.”  —The New York Times

About the Author

Rachel Field (1894–1942) was the author of Hitty, a Newbery Award–winning children's book; Prayer for a Child, a children's bestseller; Calico Bush; If Once You Have Slept on an Island; Time Out of Mind; And Now Tomorrow; Points East; God's Pocket; and The Rachel Field Story Book.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Reprint edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556524919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556524912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written fictionalization of the life of Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, who happens to be the author's great aunt by marriage. In her day, Ms. Deluzy-Desportes was the most notorious woman in France. This is her story, the story of a notorious governess who would leave France under a cloud and emerge triumphant in America.
The author recounts a drama and scandal that beset France in the midst of the nineteenth century. It revolved around the household of the Duc and Duchesse de Praslin, the family who had engaged the services of Ms. Deluzy-Desportes as governess to their young children. Once esconced in the household, she quickly realized that there was a problem between the Duc and Duchesse de Praslin. The Duchess, an impetuous and passionate woman of Corsican descent, was slightly unhinged, perhaps by madness and her passion for the Duc, who clearly was no longer interested in her in the way in which she wished.
Ms. Deluzy-Desportes and the Duc developed a close, though platonic, relationship, because of their mutual interest in the Praslin children, an interest which the Duchesse did not seem to share. She perceived their closeness as a threat and her jealousy knew no bounds. The Duc and Ms. Deluzy-Desportes did not, however, always act circumspectly, and the gossips of France had a field day, attributing to them an affair that had no basis, in fact. This gossip added to the already existing tension in the Praslin household, which was a seething cauldron of emotions, until the day would come when Ms. Deluzy-Desportes would be dismissed with a promise of a letter of recommendation from the Duchesse. When the promised letter never came, the Duc was outraged by the perfidy of the Duchesse.
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Format: Hardcover
As an admirer of Charles Boyer and Bette Davis, I saw the film based on this book many years ago, and later got a video tape, which I watched four times in a week, when laid up with a broken collar bone. I was thrilled to at last get a copy of the book, but at first was disappointed to learn that the book covered a much longer period than the film. However, I found it to be so fascinating and enjoyable that any objection was quickly laid aside. How sad that Rachel Field did not live longer and write more books. I loved the film, and now love the book as well.
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Format: Hardcover
'All This And Heaven Too' is based on the true crime story of Henriette Deluzy-Desportes. An ingenue who found herself abruptly the most despised, infamous woman in France circa 1850. Rachel Field here delineates and colors a classic story that's intense and unforgettable. 'All This And Heaven Too' is the bizarre account of the gruesome murder of the Duchess de Praslin. A bloody crime that shocked the European continent and was instrumental in precipitating the downfall of Louis Phillipe. This somewhat pathetic and delicately nuanced narrative tells of a lonely girl joining the imposing Ducal house of Choisel-Praslin, in Paris. Where Henriette soon wins the love of the affection-starved children. Also the admiration of their father, the dashing Duc de Praslin. All eager for distance and solace from their tyrannical and ruthless Duchess de Praslin. A capricious, doomed Corsican heiress with a smoldering temperament. All too prompt Henriette realizes she's fallen into a gnarled web. Of prohibited love, and desperation, and, ultimately, evil. This powerful and heartfelt drama has all the ingredients of a fairy tale, the appalling Wicked Mother, the Duchess, as antagonist. Vis-a-vis an opulent and exquisite ambiance, wistful mise-en-scenes of tenderness, and forbidden Romance. 'All This And Heaven Too' was made a film by Warner Brothers in 1940 with a screenplay by Casey Robinson, in a memorable cinematic production. 'All This..." is a story so vibrant, so filled with sentiment, that it should be brought back to the screen today. Deluzy-Deportes-Field's (Rachel Field the author, is her great grand niece)later years in America are not as interesting but are still good fodder for reading. How much of this historical account is fictionalized, I don't know. Throughout Henriette's inner life rings real and is always finely depicted. I received the book promptly sometime ago, and was happy to read Rachel Field's haunting novel, which I give 5 stars.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Rachel Field's "All This, and Heaven Too" is a delicately nuanced, richly imagined novel from start to finish. Published in 1938 and re-issued in library binding in 1981, it will entrance readers of this generation who are fortunate enough to encounter the book.

Based on the life of Field's great-aunt, Henriette Field, the story will carry the reader along effortlessly. Field's superb description of the inner life and thoughts of Henriette feels authentic; we come to know her very well. We also become well acquainted with the people surrounding her in the household of the French duke where she serves as governess.

Henriette's fate was inextricably linked with a tragic crime which became as well known in her day as the Simpson case in ours. Her later life, in the United States, brought her an extremely happy marriage and a fulfilling intellectual life. She mingled with many of the influential thinkers and political activists of her day.

Field's depiction of the American days does not come alive quite as much as the first part of the book, Henriette's life as a governess. Despite this unevenness, the novel is a work by a master author who is a match for Daphne Du Maurier any day. Highly recommended, richly satisfying!
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