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"Last One Home" by Debbie Macomber
A wonderful novel of perseverance and trust, and an exciting journey through life’s challenges and joys. This is Debbie Macomber at the height of her talents.
Il etait une fois... once upon a time, the two essential avenues for advancement for a poor youth in France were the military and the Catholic Church, symbolized by the red of the army uniforms (yes, before the machine guns of World War I made them change their pants) and the black of the clerical gowns. Stendhal, the nom de plume for Henri Beyle, had his classic work published in 1830, just as Louis-Philippe d' Orleans was restored to the throne. The protagonist is Julian Sorel, of - dare I use the word - "humble" origin, the son of a carpenter, born in Franche-Comté, a rugged area of France that borders Switzerland. He was determined to "make his way in society," and Stendhal says that Hercules was an inspiration; it was not a question of a choice between vice and virtue, rather it was one between the mediocrity of an assured well-being and all the heroic dreams of youth.
Post-Napoleon, Sorel felt that his greatest chances of advancement to a high level of society were in the Catholic Church. Remember, it was a very different time, far away from the empty cathedrals that only tourists visit in France today. And as the novel adequately describes, the sexual hypocrisy of the male clergy was focused on women, and not the alter boys of today. Yet the "eternal truths" of the novel require only the modest substitution of Wall Street for the Catholic Church, and the rest, the careerism and political opportunism, the cynicism and the hypocrisy remain remarkably the same. Sorel decides to "utilize" well-placed women in his rise in society, starting with the wife of the mayor, Mme. De Renal, and later, one of his pupils, Mathilde, who will bear his child. Though Stendhal does not use the particular phrase, "hell hath no wrath like a woman scorned...Read more ›
The edition of this book is very bad with plenty of spelling errors which at times make sentences difficult to understand. example: "eveque" (bishop) nine times out of ten is printed as "evoque" (to evoke), "maintenant" (now)becomes "main tenant" (hand holding (?))the first name "Boniface" at one stage becomes "Bon il face" (good he face (?)) and so on and so forth.
Very sloppy work from Amazon for one of the most important French novel of the XIX century.
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This is a classic French novel that I had wanted to read for a long time. I was not disappointed. It is beautifully written. The characters are well developed and it provides a good sense of the time period. The main character is a somewhat perplexing combination of sheer ambition and wayward love. I admit, I found the ambitious side of his nature more convincing, but towards the end of the novel that seems to have given way to a more philosophical frame of mind. I purchased both the paperback and the Kindle versions. I am happy to have it in both of my libraries.
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