It wasn’t in my plan to pick a love story written by a classic author. Actually, I rarely do so, as long as I prefer more realistic tales, which do not contour those ideal couples, in a perfect world. I first read “The Collector,” by John Fowles, then found “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” novel on my mother’s bookshelves and gave it a try.
And it was more captivating as I thought it would be.
A realistic portrait of the old society and an intriguing love triangle
Everything starts when Charles Smithson meets, while he had a walk with his fiancée, a young girl who was looking at the sea. He finds out her name was Sarah Woodruff, and that she fell in love with a French sailor, who disappointed her and left by the sea, not without promising her he would come back and marry her.
Charles’ interest becomes bigger as he meets her several times. Sarah will confess him that she was forced by the society to love an inferior man and to have a prescribed life, by offering herself to the sailor and make it public.
You can imagine the future love triangle, with ups and downs, broken ups and meetings again.
Why I recommend you this book
More than this kind of forbidden love stories, I recommend this book for John Fowles’ manner of describing the characters and contouring a realistic portrait of that society. You can say the author contours very well the secret aspects of those times (the sexual life, the customs, even the hygiene habits). Fowles speaks without curtains and as a fine observant about these things. His writing style proves again his novelistic talent.
The book has around 500 pages, but I promise you won’t get bored, as long as you will have the chance to discover a playful author, who will alternate the classic and postmodern concepts.