Book: A Little in Love
Author: Susan E. Fletcher
Publisher: Chicken House
Available: Out now
Summary: Paris, 1832 – a street girl lies alone, dying in the darkness, clutching a letter to her heart. Eponine remembers being a child: her swing and peach tree, and the baby brother she loved. But mostly she remembers being miserable. Taught to lie and cheat, and to hate the one girl, Cosette, who might have been her friend. Now grown up at sixteen, the two girls meet again and Eponine has one more chance. But what is the price of friendship? Love?
I was a bit hesitant when Susan Fletcher’s novel landed on my desk – I am a mega fan of Les Miserables (Book, film, musical), so I was a bit worried that this might ruin a story I have always adored. I was wrong. I think if Victor Hugo read Susan’s novel he would be happy with how she has created this little world, all for Eponine. I love that it touches on the major plot points from the original story, but that she develops her own timeline, her own take on what happens to Eponine in those scenes we never see in the book. Quick word of warning – if you haven’t read/seen Les Miserables, first of all do, and then read this book, otherwise I don’t think it will resonate quite as well.
Eponine is a tough character to tackle – she lives a life full of misery, resentment and anger, and yet there’s still a little light that shines as she refuses to give up on love, despite having been shown none at all. There is an intense build-up of her belief in love before she meets Marius, making it all the more heart-breaking when she realises he (SPOILER) doesn’t love her back. There’s the particularly shattering scene when she sees him, realises he loves Cosette and that Cosette loves him back, and breaks down. Yet her biggest redeeming factor is her determination to make things right, to give them their own little happiness even if it means sacrificing her own.
My favourite part of Susan’s writing is how she creates an Eponine that all fans of the original story will recognise, but she makes her her own. She takes the Thenardiers and turns them into particularly evil characters (They’re despicable but also slightly comical in other versions), she shows us Jean Valjean through Eponine’s eyes, and yet you feel like you’re discovering a totally new story. Although I will admit I definitely had to listen to the soundtrack after I finished the book.
Definitely a must-read for fans of Les Miserables, and also for those who want to read a a tragic but touching story.
What have you all been reading this week? Let me know – tweet me at @Julie_Delahaye !