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A BEAUTIFUL & ROMANTIC NOVELLA
on 11 February 2011
This is a beautiful novella by Frances Hudson Burnett, published in 1877. Esmeralda or Esmeraldy as her father calls her is a young American girl, forced to live in Paris and away from her home in North Carolina. Her family was poor and happily living in the mountains until suddenly they found iron in their land and consequently acquired great wealth. This changed Esmeralda's life as her tyrannical ambitious mother took the family to France, separating them from all they knew, including Esmeralda's beloved fiancé, hoping that she can enter high society. In Paris, both Esmeralda and her timid but kind and loving father are miserable, longing for their old life and the girl is desperate to be reunited with the man she loves and to avoid her mother's plan to marry her to an elderly marquis. The story is told by a Frenchman who befriends the girl and her father, when his wife tutors her and becomes her confidant.
Frances Hudson Burnett is an expert when it comes to characterization and realistic descriptions and this great novella is no exception. The presentation of the vulgar 'new money' mother and the lovely and graceful father and daughter, through the eyes of their loving friends is excellent. In addition the author uses her French narrator to comment on American language and customs. However what I loved most about this story, is that it starts from what usually is considered a happy ending; unexpected wealth for a poor and struggling family, and explores the negative repercussions of this seemingly fortunate event upon their lives.
A note on the Kindle edition: luckily I found no errors, it was extremely easy to download, and a pleasure to read.