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The Lily of the Valley is a tale about love which parodies and depicts French society in the period of the Bourbon Restoration. It concerns the affection — emotionally vibrant but never consummated — between Félix de Vandenesse and Henriette de Mortsauf.


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The Lily of the Valley is a tale about love which parodies and depicts French society in the period of the Bourbon Restoration. It concerns the affection — emotionally vibrant but never consummated — between Félix de Vandenesse and Henriette de Mortsauf.

30 review for The Lily Of The Valley

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Félix de Vandeness, a sickly, neurotic, but highly intelligent adolescent who rather reminds me of Proust's narrator, is at a ball in a provincial town when he lays eyes on the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. As one does, he can't stop himself from sexually assaulting her. Surprised and offended, she leaves, but he makes inquiries and tracks her down. What happens next is the subject of a long letter, the main body of the novel, which Félix is writing many years later to Nathalie, the woman Félix de Vandeness, a sickly, neurotic, but highly intelligent adolescent who rather reminds me of Proust's narrator, is at a ball in a provincial town when he lays eyes on the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. As one does, he can't stop himself from sexually assaulting her. Surprised and offended, she leaves, but he makes inquiries and tracks her down. What happens next is the subject of a long letter, the main body of the novel, which Félix is writing many years later to Nathalie, the woman who then is his mistress. He frequently begs her pardon and trusts that she won't be offended by all the things he's telling her about this tragic period in his life. He wants her to understand him, you see. Félix discovers that the woman from the ball is the Countess de Montsauf. She's married, has two children, and doesn't get on well with her much older husband, a ruined aristocrat, who appears to be suffering from hypochondria, PTSD, anger management problems and incipient senility. But Félix, who's a crafty little thing, manages to inveigle himself into the Count's good graces. The one thing the Count likes to do is play backgammon; Félix is always ready for a game, even though the Count insists on playing for money that Félix can't afford and is a terrible loser. The Countess is grateful that this kid is distracting her husband and forgives him. Pretty soon, Félix has established himself as a regular visitor. Every time he gets a chance, he repectfully tells the Countess about his undying love for her, laying on the poetry and Christian sentiment as thickly as possible. He spends hours every day looking for flowers so that he can present her with exotic bouquets. The Countess barely knows anyone else; no one wants to visit the house because her husband is so horrible. After a while, it's clear that she's begun to reciprocate Félix's feelings for her. But although she's more or less stopped sleeping with the Count, she won't sleep with Félix either. She's very serious about her Christian principles, and tells him he can only think of her as a mother. She is in fact just ten years older than him. The Count sees what's going on without properly admitting it to himself. He becomes seriously ill and for weeks hovers between life and death. His wife and Félix nurse him back to health, trying their hardest not to think how extremely convenient it would be if he would just die. (Those damn Christian principles!) In his parenthetical asides to Nathalie, who's reading all this in his novel-length letter, Félix says it's the happiest period of his life. He can be with the Countess all the time while they're looking after their patient. She's often informally dressed, he can check her out as much he wants. Sometimes their hands touch. The Count survives and Félix goes off to Paris. The Countess has pulled strings (her family is powerful and well-connected), and at twenty-three he gets an important job working directly for Louis XVIII, who's back on the throne after the fall of Napoleon. For a while, all goes well; Félix lives chastely at court and exchanges regular letters with his guardian angel. But alas, a depraved English aristocrat, Lady Dudley, decides she has to seduce the King's new favourite. Félix resists nobly (or so he tells Nathalie, at least), but Arabelle is too cunning. She gets him into her bed. Unlike the Countess, she's a sexy bitch who's up for anything. I was quite surprised at the things Balzac manages to tell us without using any rude words. Félix has been dumb enough to believe he can keep it secret, but needless to say the Countess finds out. She's heartbroken; on top of everything else, she can't even admit she is (those Christian principles again). She stops eating, pines away in a couple of months, and dies after a touching reconciliation scene with Félix. She leaves a letter, to be read after her death, telling him that she has loved him passionately the whole time. When Félix gets back to Paris, he finds that Arabelle has broken off their relationship. He's said multiple times that he didn't want her anymore, but he's still seriously annoyed to be the one getting dumped. Just to put the cherry on the ice-cream, the Countess's daughter has figured out what's happened and says she never wants Félix in their house again. Ah! concludes Félix at the end of his long letter to Nathalie, you can see why I look a bit sad at times. But darling, I know you'll understand me. Jesus Christ, I was thinking, it is a bit hard to remember that this was the early nineteenth century, people viewed relationships between men and women differently then, you need to evaluate these things in context, etc etc. Imagine my surprise when I turned the page and read Nathalie's reply. It could have been written yesterday: dripping with sarcasm and hurt feelings, she says she'll obviously never be able to compete with hot Arabelle or the saintly Countess; she's also less than impressed by the fact that he repayed this woman's many kindnesses by killing her. She tells Félix, though at greater length and in flowery French, to be careful not to let the door hit him on the way out. Unfortunately, the edition I'm reading has no footnotes or introduction. But doing a little googling, I find that Le Lys dans la vallée was published in 1836, four years after Balzac began his liaison with Ewelina Hańska, who took a lively interest in all his writing. Furthermore, it appears clear that the character of the Countess is based on that of Laure de Berny, a woman 22 years older than Balzac, with whom he was very close. Is it possible that Mme Hańska wrote Nathalie's reply? If anyone knows more, please tell me!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daria

    I present Balzac's The Lily in the Valley summarized, because, well, I just couldn't resist. Despite the fact that the first fifty pages or so felt like getting a lobotomy, I really got into it by the time the novel ended, which shows above all that Balzac knows his stuff, I guess. Look away for fear of spoilers now (but, come on, it's a Romantic version of La Princesse de Cleves - you don't need to think too hard to figure out what goes down). Alors, Balzac was begged by his critics to write a I present Balzac's The Lily in the Valley summarized, because, well, I just couldn't resist. Despite the fact that the first fifty pages or so felt like getting a lobotomy, I really got into it by the time the novel ended, which shows above all that Balzac knows his stuff, I guess. Look away for fear of spoilers now (but, come on, it's a Romantic version of La Princesse de Cleves - you don't need to think too hard to figure out what goes down). Alors, Balzac was begged by his critics to write a novel about a "virtuous woman," for once. And this is what came out of it: Preface: "This novel, La Princesse de Cleves of Romanticism…" Oh no. Romantic childhood. Suffering and injustice all around. Following years of spiritual and sexual repression, Felix takes the opportunity offered by Madame de Mortsauf's bare shoulders for an impromptu, one-sided makeout session in a corner of a ballroom. Madame de Mortsauf does not report him. Felix stays with family friends. They conveniently live just across from the Mortsauf estate. Madame de Mortsauf says, "I have kids, an unstable husband, and my life generally sucks. Love me like my aunt did." (Seriously, Balzac? You couldn't have come up with some equally platonic, but less ridiculous, than an aunt?) Felix is cool with this. Pages upon pages of further sexual repression. Balzac spends five pages describing a bouquet. (Professor later says, "But the bouquet is an allegory for sex!" Oh. Shouldn't have skipped that bit…) Monsieur de Mortsauf is prevented from kicking the bucket by the attentions of his wife and Felix. Christian charity wins out over desire. It is a little maddening, even for the reader. Felix goes a-traipsing with a heathen Englishwoman. The French talks smack about the English. The English talk smack about the French. Madame de Mortsauf has moments of weakness and expresses an un-Christian desire for the Englishwoman's blood. Felix spends some time being tossed between the two women in the most passive aggressive match of human football in literary history. Madame de Mortsauf takes a really long time to die. Felix dumps the Englishwoman. Madame de Mortsauf leaves Felix a letter to be read only after her death - a really, really hot letter, actually, which expresses just how badly all this time she wanted to f---- This becomes the most sexually frustrating novel in existence. Natalie de Manerville, Felix's current lover and the reader to whom the entire novel is addressed, writes back the equivalent of, "You insensitive twat," and dumps him. Somehow, Balzac manages to capture men and women and society and sex, all in painfully Romantic prose. (Professor says, pay good attention to Natalie's letter: read it as a break with the idealistic body of the novel, consider it as Balzac's own critique of his text…) But the reader trots off to continue with Anna Karenina.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Wilkinson

    There is some beautiful language in this novel; however, I found it to be verbose in too many areas. I just don't want to read that deeply into the thoughts of this lovesick narrator. He falls in love with a married woman and follows her around for years. He is just too much. He worships this Henrietta and thinks of her as a pure angel goddess of perfection. That's great but the plot just doesn't go anywhere. These two lovebirds keep things chaste, which is fine, but then the characters have not There is some beautiful language in this novel; however, I found it to be verbose in too many areas. I just don't want to read that deeply into the thoughts of this lovesick narrator. He falls in love with a married woman and follows her around for years. He is just too much. He worships this Henrietta and thinks of her as a pure angel goddess of perfection. That's great but the plot just doesn't go anywhere. These two lovebirds keep things chaste, which is fine, but then the characters have nothing to do but talk. We just wait around until someone gets sick or until the narrator goes back to the king. I just don't care about the narrator or his great love for this woman. The last few pages were the breath of fresh air I needed. The last letter to the narrator almost makes up for the tedious reading to that point, but not quite.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marquise

    When I was still a student, I picked a French copy of this from my Uni's library and read it thrice or so during class breaks. It was because this book, Fabulous Originals: Lives of Extraordinary People Who Inspired Memorable Characters in Fiction, piqued my curiosity by claiming that Félix's lover, a daring Englishwoman who rode to him on horseback for their trysts, was based on Lady Jane Ellenborough, a scandalous aristocrat of the time, and after reading the whole book I recall wishing that i When I was still a student, I picked a French copy of this from my Uni's library and read it thrice or so during class breaks. It was because this book, Fabulous Originals: Lives of Extraordinary People Who Inspired Memorable Characters in Fiction, piqued my curiosity by claiming that Félix's lover, a daring Englishwoman who rode to him on horseback for their trysts, was based on Lady Jane Ellenborough, a scandalous aristocrat of the time, and after reading the whole book I recall wishing that it had been all about the Englishwoman and Félix instead of that exhausting emotional vampire that was the female lead, Henriette de Mortsauf, with all her demands, her hand-wringing, and her sanctimonious piousness. That's what'll forever stay in my memory: exhausting character, exhausting storyline, too much longing, emotional and sexual, for its sake, and a plot that would've been better if it had about 40% less pages. Not one I'd recommend to anyone wishing to read Balzac for the first time, it's more for those wishing to delve deeper into his less-known works.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alison Winfield-Burns

    Once, twice, more than six times and then every few sentences, I had to stop and sob while trying to read the end of the book, about the last 20 pages or so--put the book down and walk away. I thought I never would be able to finish this masterpiece. It was just so emotional and wonderful. It's based on the real-life first love of the author. He writes like a man in love who knows all about love. He calls his beloved, "Lily in the Valley." This is the best romantic literature I've read. Better th Once, twice, more than six times and then every few sentences, I had to stop and sob while trying to read the end of the book, about the last 20 pages or so--put the book down and walk away. I thought I never would be able to finish this masterpiece. It was just so emotional and wonderful. It's based on the real-life first love of the author. He writes like a man in love who knows all about love. He calls his beloved, "Lily in the Valley." This is the best romantic literature I've read. Better than Bronte. Better than anybody. Because it rings true. Men and women will relate to the text. And then, incredibly, at the very, very end, I burst into laughter. Balzac is a master writer.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Although Balzac undeniably is a master of words and prose, this book really tested my patience with endless dwelling with describing scenery and such. Maybe I´m unreasonable to ask for progress in the story being told but I forced myself to read the whole thing and it was drivinig me insane. I finished it and swore I would never again read anything by Balzac again. But as usual I will eat my words as I have been convinced by a dear friend that "The Magic Skin" is a true master piece of litteratu Although Balzac undeniably is a master of words and prose, this book really tested my patience with endless dwelling with describing scenery and such. Maybe I´m unreasonable to ask for progress in the story being told but I forced myself to read the whole thing and it was drivinig me insane. I finished it and swore I would never again read anything by Balzac again. But as usual I will eat my words as I have been convinced by a dear friend that "The Magic Skin" is a true master piece of litterature. Balzac gets a second chance with me. He better not lose him self in the scenery this time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I read Cousin Bette before this, and loved it- imagine a great soap opera set in 19th century Paris. Then came Felix in Lily of the Valley: a guy I initially empathized with, then wanted to kick in the ass. Worship a woman who forever holds you at arm's length if you will, but don't let your unreasonable infatuation ruin the rest of your life.....and if you do, don't confess the whole sordid tale to the one woman who might finally bring you happiness- I wouldn't stand for that BS either! Felix, I read Cousin Bette before this, and loved it- imagine a great soap opera set in 19th century Paris. Then came Felix in Lily of the Valley: a guy I initially empathized with, then wanted to kick in the ass. Worship a woman who forever holds you at arm's length if you will, but don't let your unreasonable infatuation ruin the rest of your life.....and if you do, don't confess the whole sordid tale to the one woman who might finally bring you happiness- I wouldn't stand for that BS either! Felix, you suck!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shabnam

    The classic by Balzac which was his personal favorite among his writings. The novel is written in the form of two letters .one is a long letter Felix writes to his current lover Natalie de Manerville many years after the events. And the other Natalie de Manerville response for Felix letter. The book is too long Balzac spends far too much time dealing with environment nature and other surroundings .The Romantic novel and pathetic love of felix and Madame de Mortsauf (Henriette ) is the book basi The classic by Balzac which was his personal favorite among his writings. The novel is written in the form of two letters .one is a long letter Felix writes to his current lover Natalie de Manerville many years after the events. And the other Natalie de Manerville response for Felix letter. The book is too long Balzac spends far too much time dealing with environment nature and other surroundings .The Romantic novel and pathetic love of felix and Madame de Mortsauf (Henriette ) is the book basis. beside a wide variety of themes ,like politics society ,wealth… One night at a prestigious ball Felix falls in love with Madame de Morstauf Through the years Felix despairs and gets an English lover .Felix found himself between two lovers with a great hesitancy between true love and passionate love and even can’t sacrifice one for the other…

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim Potier

    I am reading all of Balzac's Human Comedy, in the suggested reading order. He is one of my three favourite novelists. Finishing this book I again understood why. This is a wonderful pastoral tale of a noble woman and her adoring if self-centred suitor. This is one of the best in the series. Balzac has eschewed the detailed descriptions which can be a little tedious sometimes, and describes the countryside so well that you almost feel you are there. In the end, I felt justice was done. Wish more I am reading all of Balzac's Human Comedy, in the suggested reading order. He is one of my three favourite novelists. Finishing this book I again understood why. This is a wonderful pastoral tale of a noble woman and her adoring if self-centred suitor. This is one of the best in the series. Balzac has eschewed the detailed descriptions which can be a little tedious sometimes, and describes the countryside so well that you almost feel you are there. In the end, I felt justice was done. Wish more people in the English-speaking world read his works. I get frustrated when I am greeted with the reply, "who?"

  10. 4 out of 5

    James F

    Although written between two of his greatest novels, Le père Goriot and Les illusions perdus, Le lys dans la vallée is not in my opinion one of Balzac's best. Balzac in the Comédie humaine vacillates between the Romanticism of his time and a not yet fully developed Realism; while his best works, like Le père Goriot and Les illusions perdus, are predominantly Realist, Le lys dans la vallée is very Romantic. As in many of his less successful novels, it is hard to get into at first with long descri Although written between two of his greatest novels, Le père Goriot and Les illusions perdus, Le lys dans la vallée is not in my opinion one of Balzac's best. Balzac in the Comédie humaine vacillates between the Romanticism of his time and a not yet fully developed Realism; while his best works, like Le père Goriot and Les illusions perdus, are predominantly Realist, Le lys dans la vallée is very Romantic. As in many of his less successful novels, it is hard to get into at first with long descriptions of scenery, furnishings and so forth before the reader is interested in the characters or the action; the emotional scenes which can be very powerful are continued too long and with too much repetition and too many religious platitudes (although those may have been more acceptable in a more Christian period.) The novel is ostensibly a long letter from Félix de Vandenesse to his current lover Natalie, in response to her request to explain his past. (The conceit hardly works; the style is not at all like a letter, and as her short reply at the end tells him it is obviously inappropriate to send to his lover, or to write at all.) He describes his unhappy childhood and how as a young man he fell in love with Henriette (Mme. de Mortsauf), a woman a few years older than he is who is in an unhappy marriage. The bulk of the novel describes their attempt at a Platonic love affair without infringing on her duties to her husband and children. Apparently he wrote the novel in reply to one by Sainte Beuve, to show how he would present the theme of a renunciation of erotic love in favor of marital and family duty, and to meet criticisms that his women characters weren't sufficiently moral, but he didn't convince the critics of his time (or me): whether he intended it or not, the novel shows how the morality it is supposedly supporting only creates misery for all the characters (and in her dying moments Henriette herself seems to reject it). He also describes his very un-Platonic love affair with a British noblewoman, Lady Dudley. Balzac makes it easier on himself (and I think makes an aesthetic mistake) by opposing the completely negative character of Lady Dudley as a foil to Henriette (although at the very end Natalie in her reply suggests that the narrator is unfair to both.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lena_makridina

    I took one star off for lecturing me on agriculture and estate management and for that lengsy moralistic letter. Well, it's very different from the books I usually read. It reminded me of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. You know, Catholicism, unhappiness, what's right, what's wrong and where's the reward. Unlike Brideshead Revisited the book focuses on feelings. I don't remember either exact words or the name of the essay but Virginia Woolf said about russian authors that they're screaming I took one star off for lecturing me on agriculture and estate management and for that lengsy moralistic letter. Well, it's very different from the books I usually read. It reminded me of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. You know, Catholicism, unhappiness, what's right, what's wrong and where's the reward. Unlike Brideshead Revisited the book focuses on feelings. I don't remember either exact words or the name of the essay but Virginia Woolf said about russian authors that they're screaming from rooftops about intimate (I guess) feelings. I bet comparing to this book those russian authors would sound quite english in their reserve.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This is the second work of Balzac that I have read (Pere Goriot, being the first), and I liked this one better. I enjoyed Balzac's description of the French countryside. I really liked the ending. This is the second work of Balzac that I have read (Pere Goriot, being the first), and I liked this one better. I enjoyed Balzac's description of the French countryside. I really liked the ending.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David C Ward

    Looking for love: two damaged people in the beautiful countryside. Very sentimental, Balzac a la Flaubert. The sensibilities became too cloying.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This story is longer than most Balzac's short stories, and it starts off really well. Narrated in the first person in the form of a letter to a woman called Natalie, it tells the story of the ironically-named Felix de Vandenesse, who is disdained by his stony-hearted mother while his father is casually indifferent to him. His siblings make sure that he is blamed for anything and everything, and he is routinely deprived of treats and toys that his older brother takes for granted. School is a mise This story is longer than most Balzac's short stories, and it starts off really well. Narrated in the first person in the form of a letter to a woman called Natalie, it tells the story of the ironically-named Felix de Vandenesse, who is disdained by his stony-hearted mother while his father is casually indifferent to him. His siblings make sure that he is blamed for anything and everything, and he is routinely deprived of treats and toys that his older brother takes for granted. School is a misery of teasing and his mother manages to blame him even when it is he who is being bullied. His teachers are no help to him either, and eventually he is transferred from the local school to an Oratorian college(run by secular Catholic priests who don’t take vows) at Pont-le-Voy near Tours. There he is deprived of pocket money again, which leads to further ostracism: "I received but three francs a month pocket-money, a sum barely sufficient to buy the pens, ink, paper, knives, and rules which we were forced to supply ourselves. Unable to buy stilts or skipping-ropes, or any of the things that were used in the playground, I was driven out of the games". So he assuages his loneliness with books – only to suffer the mortification of his parents not bothering to turn up to see him win the prizes for theme’ and for ‘translation’… He is made to stay there for eight miserable years. Despite his entreaties no one ever comes to visit him or applaud his triumphs at prize-giving, and so he learns to take solace in religion. No explanation is given for the coldness of his mother’s attitude, which persists when he finally goes home to Tours. But much to his surprise, when his mother is too indisposed to attend a ball in honour of the Duc d’Angouleme, he is expected to attend, to represent the family. And it is there that he sees (and steals an indiscreet moment with) a gorgeous woman with whom he becomes besotted. She turns out to be Madame Blanche de Mortsauf a.k.a. the Lily of the Valley, and Balzac waxes lyrical about this paragon of beauty for many pages. She lives in a chateau called Clochegourde with (alas) her husband the Comte, and when he seeks respite there because he has walked too far she takes pity on him and lets him stay (even though her husband is (conveniently) not at home). She has two children, Madeleine and Jacques, but they are both sickly (which is why they live in the regions and not in Paris). Well, it’s not hard to see where this story goes from this point on. Somehow Felix has to win the love of Madame de Mortsauf, overcome the problem of his poverty and manage the problem of the husband and children. Knowing Balzac it's probably going to end in tears... Before long, Felix is in the lion's den. The Comte is an old Royalist. He fled Paris to avoid repercussions from the service he gave to the wrong side, and has let himself go a bit in the relaxed rural atmosphere. In his naïveté Felix stays nearby with Monsieur de Chessel so that he can visit Clochegourde, deferring his studies without realising that that there’s a revolution happening in Paris (again). He is at first impressed by the Comte’s agricultural pursuits, but then sees the real Comte and it's not a pretty sight. Out of love for Blanche he becomes complicit in her contrivances to pacify his endless rages. Felix even loses his precious money gambling with the Comte in the hope of being able to talk to her afterwards, but she has no thought of dalliance and is only interested in her children. And when Felix teaches himself to play backgammon so that he can stop losing so much money, the Comte is livid. After a major tantrum, Felix and Madame Mortsauf escape outside where he declares himself, and she reveals that she too had an unhappy childhood because she was not the longed-for son. It’s all very pure and chaste, but she decides to let him call her Henriette, a name by which no one else knows her. He makes all kinds of extravagant promises including a plan to become a priest so that he can tutor the boy, but in a rare moment of common sense Blanche/Henriette tells him not to be so silly. The Restoration improves the Comte’s temper along with their fortunes but only for a little while. Felix goes back to Paris where he ingratiates himself with the new regime AND has a dalliance with an Englishwoman named Lady Dudley. Balzac is rather rude about the English, and blames her for the whole affair and destroying his romance with Blanche/Henriette. Because of course she finds out, and she's very upset, and yes, she pines away and dies. Now you'd think after all we've read so far that Felix would be utterly devastated, but, well, he must have got over it, because it turns out that Natalie is his Lady love No 3 and he's proposed to her, and this long letter about his travails is part of the courtship process. She's smart enough to say no thanks!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I really don’t know how to rate this. The writing was incredible and the last few pages were so damn great but ultimately Felix and his mommy issues were a bit too much at times.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Valentina

    An improving book as Bertie Wooster would have said

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bahare Ghanoon

    Who is Natalie? What did she think of all this she received as a letter? What does a Natalie from 21st century think about this? A story full of lies and hypocrisy, with some compliments for the king and royal families and a big and unfair admiration for “French love” and “French women” compared to English women. And also Henriette which is supposed to be the symbol of virtue, actually seems like a sadomasochistic woman.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Coline

    That was brilliant ! I had actually read half of it already but a long time ago. I still enjoy how Balzac discribes women and feelings. have to read more of his. Spoiler question time : isn't it weird how nobody cared that Felix is sleeping with a matried woman while being in love with another ? I looks like everybody knows but nobody cared. That was brilliant ! I had actually read half of it already but a long time ago. I still enjoy how Balzac discribes women and feelings. have to read more of his. Spoiler question time : isn't it weird how nobody cared that Felix is sleeping with a matried woman while being in love with another ? I looks like everybody knows but nobody cared.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Betty C.

    This is a relatively obscure Balzac novel, but I found it fascinating because at the time I read it, I was living in the area it is set in: the Indre valley. I don't remember much else about it, but remember that I felt knowing the places mentioned enhanced the experience. This is a relatively obscure Balzac novel, but I found it fascinating because at the time I read it, I was living in the area it is set in: the Indre valley. I don't remember much else about it, but remember that I felt knowing the places mentioned enhanced the experience.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mansoureh

    i think it is a fantastic book i read it 3 years ago i really enjoyed it

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Three stars for the book itself - but an extra star for Natalie's excellent rejoinder at the end! Three stars for the book itself - but an extra star for Natalie's excellent rejoinder at the end!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Daria says this one is cool. Note: I cannot read French, yet, although it's on my maybe list of things I should possibly work on. Daria says this one is cool. Note: I cannot read French, yet, although it's on my maybe list of things I should possibly work on.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mahtab

    The best romance book i have ever read...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vildan

    Wow the last pages changed my whole feelings.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gamar Mustafa

    the only book (yet) i've cried while reading it the only book (yet) i've cried while reading it

  26. 5 out of 5

    callie

    Me? Liking Balzac? What has this year turned me into? To be fair, the only experience I had with him before Le Lys Dans La Vallee was a pretty traumatic series of weeks spent analysing the overwhelming nothingness of Colonel Chabert while our professor spent an incredible amount of energy trying not to say the word sexism. This is four times as long and about a thousand times more enjoyable. Now I doubt the man himself would be very pleased with what I took away from this book, but death of the a Me? Liking Balzac? What has this year turned me into? To be fair, the only experience I had with him before Le Lys Dans La Vallee was a pretty traumatic series of weeks spent analysing the overwhelming nothingness of Colonel Chabert while our professor spent an incredible amount of energy trying not to say the word sexism. This is four times as long and about a thousand times more enjoyable. Now I doubt the man himself would be very pleased with what I took away from this book, but death of the author can be pretty handy in some cases (I mean this as in the trope, but I suppose it also works literally here). Let’s be real: this is MEN ARE BABIES: THE BOOK and I love it. Every female character in this goes SO hard while men cry when they get a mild cold. Also no bigger plot twist than when, after the whole book makes it seem like Madame de Mortsauf is the biggest MILF in existence, you get the revelation that she’s only TWENTY EIGHT and SIX YEARS OLDER THAN THE PROTAGONIST??? HELLO??? Who’s the mad lad who wrote this was “near incestual” on the back of the cover? Why are you making this twenty-eight year old woman seem like a great-grandma? (I have a feeling that the answer might be sexism, but we don’t have time to dig into that.) All joking aside, this is very well written and a pleasure to get lost into. Pretty delightful all around (I mean, as far as French classics go - this still has some fairly depressing aspects. This is 17th century France, not your local pub). Guess this is the year of me turning into a Balzac stan, and I'm not even that mad about it. Anything really can happen this year, huh!

  27. 5 out of 5

    onebookonecandle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Even though the language of the book "Lily in the Valley" written by Balzac is very intense, the plot comes to life with his descriptions. Firstly we read about the difficulties Felix had in her childhood.🥺 Felix is a child who is not loved and left out in the family. In the following pages, we begin to read the "forbidden love story" that Felix had to suppress his feelings later. The name of the book comes from Felix's saying to Henriette "My Lily".✨🍃Although I struggled to read Balzac's long sen Even though the language of the book "Lily in the Valley" written by Balzac is very intense, the plot comes to life with his descriptions. Firstly we read about the difficulties Felix had in her childhood.🥺 Felix is a child who is not loved and left out in the family. In the following pages, we begin to read the "forbidden love story" that Felix had to suppress his feelings later. The name of the book comes from Felix's saying to Henriette "My Lily".✨🍃Although I struggled to read Balzac's long sentences, the plot provided the motivation for me to finish the book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ahmet

    This book is one of the best books I read. The love story in the book is so impressive. I read this book for the first time in 10th grade and again read last month. Thus, I have different approaches about the book. Actually, I like books which are thought variable things about the classic types, namely, love, war and predestination. This book exactly enables this idea. I thought about different things about life and love while reading this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mina Savic

    Not my favorite Balzac. It was so slow and literally nothing happened. Also the fact that we were reading a letter from the main character and that it wasn’t a narrator really disturbed me because it’s very unlike Balzac’s books. Honestly it’s a novel that’s very focused on feelings and the relationship between Felix and Henriette and how he perceives her. It was interesting even if I was quite bored most of the time. However I LOVED the ending it was really surprising and quite funny!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Milena

    Honestly, one of the saddest and heart-breaking books I have ever read. I wasn't sure I would like the first person whole thing but, jeez, it was SO worth it. The main character is sweet and I could not hate him. The description of the character's psychology is amazingly well done (like in all Balzac's books, actually!) and it's just amazing. Honestly, one of the saddest and heart-breaking books I have ever read. I wasn't sure I would like the first person whole thing but, jeez, it was SO worth it. The main character is sweet and I could not hate him. The description of the character's psychology is amazingly well done (like in all Balzac's books, actually!) and it's just amazing.

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