Monday, June 14, 2010

mommy reads! book review- all this and heaven too

if you know anything about me at all, you know i love classic movies.  in fact, i prefer them to new movies.  maybe it's because we don't go to the theater a lot.  who knows.  but i'd much rather see a movie on tcm than anything new.  drives husband crazy.


so i had seen the movie all this, and heaven too a few years ago.  i don't remember much about it now (i know i really enjoyed it), but i remember that the acting was good, and the story was very compelling.  it features bette davis, charles boyer and barbara o'neil. it was through watching the movie that i found out it was based on a book.

i actually received the book from husband well over a year ago, but it got packed away in the move and forgotten.  i came across it recently and decided i would give it a read.  what i found upon reading was much more interesting.

all this, and heaven too is a fictionalized account of actual events.  the author, rachel field, was the great niece of the heroine, henriette deluzy-desportes, and although her great aunt died before she was even born, her story compelled her enough to write about it.  the basis of the story is- mademoiselle d leaves england to return to her native france to become a nanny for the duc and duchesse de praslin.  the duchesse is obsessively in love with her husband, almost to the neglect of her children, and the duc does not return her love.  mademoiselle d and the duc are drawn to each other, but can obviously never be together.  their friendship becomes tabloid fodder, the duchesse ends up murdered and henriette has to plead her case in order to be set free.  this was one of the most notorious murder trials in all of france's history and led to the fall of the monarchy.   
i had a really hard time getting into this book.  it probably took me 3 months to get 100 pages in, but once i hit my stride, i found it easy to keep going, and was able to finish the rest of the book in about 2 weeks.  it definitely made me wish i knew french because i would've had a lot easier of a time trying to pronounce words and names.   once i got really into the book the story was quite compelling, and i had a hard time putting the book down.  i thought that the story ended quite well- and what you thought was going to be a murder mystery ended up being the story of a beautiful romance.  i wish the author had known more about mademoiselle desportes' life, but the way she tells it, you would hardly forget it was fictionalized.  i only wish i could know what had become of the praslin children, but i'm sure mademoiselle desportes and ms. field do as well.  

i'd definitely recommend this if you're into murder mysteries, classic movies, french history, american history, or romance.  not my new favorite book, but i'd probably read it again.

2.5 stars out of 5
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  1. Now I need to see a movie and read two books! Sounds like a nice bit of escapism. Have a great birthday this week!

  2. i love when i find out the movies i love are books. have you read or seen rebecca?


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