Madame Bovary's Daughter
By Linda Urbach
(Bantam, Paperback, 9780385343879, 512pp.)
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
Picking up after the shattering end of Gustave Flaubert’s classic, Madame Bovary, this beguiling novel imagines an answer to the question Whatever happened to Emma Bovary’s orphaned daughter?
One year after her mother’s suicide and just one day after her father’s brokenhearted demise, twelve-year-old Berthe Bovary is sent to live on her grandmother’s impoverished farm. Amid the beauty of the French countryside, Berthe models for the painter Jean-François Millet, but fate has more in store for her than a quiet life of simple pleasures. Berthe’s determination to rise above her mother’s scandalous past will take her from the dangerous cotton mills of Lille to a convent in Rouen to the wealth and glamour of nineteenth-century Paris. There, as an apprentice to famed fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, Berthe is ushered into the high society of which she once only dreamed. But even as the praise for her couture gowns steadily rises, she still yearns for the one thing her mother never had: the love of someone she loves in return.
Brilliantly integrating one of classic literature’s fictional creations with real historical figures, Madame Bovary’s Daughter is an uncommon coming-of-age tale, a splendid excursion through the rags and the riches of French fashion, and a sweeping novel of poverty and wealth, passion and revenge.
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“[A] lavishly textured sequel to a timeless literary masterpiece . . . With more and more readers and book clubs revisiting the classics, there should be built-in interest.”—Booklist
“Readers will cheer [Berthe Bovary] all the way...Urbach includes lots of details for reading groups to discuss about social class, women’s roles, and fashion, while never forgetting to tell a good story.”—Library Journal
"Grand in scope...Urbach relays a classic tale of rags to riches, tragedy to triumph and passion to vengeance. Saga fans who adore Rosalind Laker and Barbara Taylor Bradford will rejoice."—Romantic Times, Top Pick!
“Skillfully continues Flaubert’s story…An entertaining romance for readers of historical fiction.”—Publishers Weekly
"In this richly detailed, stunningly imaginative novel, Linda Urbach has created a fascinating, complex heroine. As Berthe Bovary determines to distance herself from her infamous mother’s legacy, she discovers, instead, that a passionate life can be a life well-lived. Readers will rejoice in her journey to understanding and forgiveness."
—MELANIE BENJAMIN, author of Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
“Engrossing, vivid, beautifully written, adventurous, and often heart-rending—a young girl finds her way from the depths of poverty to the top of the nineteenth-century French fashion world, led by her wistful dreams of the lovely way life could be and by her gift for making those dreams a reality. I just loved this novel!”
—STEPHANIE COWELL, author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet and Marrying Mozart
"Very hard to put down. A very intriguing story, and Gustave Flaubert would be proud to have Berthe's voice finally on paper. 4 1/2 stars."--Burton Book Review
"Having read and enjoyed Madame Bovary years ago, I liked reading about Emma’s daughter, and finally knowing that she turned out alright after all."--Luxury Reading
"I found myself enjoying this book far more than I did the classic Madame Bovary. Mainly because I never wound up caring about Emma Bovary like I did her daughter in this excellent book...I highly recommend Madame Bovary’s Daughter to fans of Historical Fiction."--Danvers Reads
"Madame Bovary's Daughter is a wonderful homage to a great novel that also manages to work on its own compelling terms." --Connecticut News
"Madame Bovary's Daughter is a powerful and deeply satisfying return to Flaubert's world of mid-19th century France." --Connecticut Post
"A rich tale of high society and, finally, a love [Berthe Bovary's] mother never found."
--Cape Cod Times
"Urbach wonderfully integrates the classic novel with her own creation. Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a beautiful rag to riches story filled with desire, dreams, poverty and wealth." --Book Garden Reviews
"Madame Bovary's Daughter is an exceptionally written masterpiece rich in period detail. Linda Urbach powerfully brings to life the opulence of the rich in nineteenth- century France." --Fresh Fiction
"It's a creative idea and an interesting story. It's a great book for romantic and true Victorian novel-lovers." --South Coast Today
"Madame Bovary's Daughter was an extremely well-written novel that did justice to the original while creating a new storyline that kept me interested and reading." --Night Owl Reviews
"Urbach posits her view of Berthe’s life in pretty much flawless homage to Flaubert as the beloved character he created. It is easy to get lost in the tale and forget that you aren’t reading a book by Flaubert when learning what happens to the penniless orphan of a truly scandalous woman. The novel is like a visit with an old friend." --City Book Review
"Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a fun book that provides some much needed closure to Berthe’s story. Recommended." --Devourer of Books
"Madame Bovary's Daughter is definitely a historical romance that is intriguing to read and a great, juicy follow up to the old classic." --Peace Love Books
"In a novel written in the clean Gallic style of the original, Madame Bovary’s daughter is a wonderful character, struggling to overcome her mother’s legacy and the expectations of her own fantasies. --The Historical Novels Review