A Little In Love by Susan Fletcher
Published by: Chicken House
Format: Paperback, borrowed from Sarah!
Sarah has been raving about this book in multiple Books and Baking videos, and the last time I was at her house, I finished the book I’d brought with me, so decided to pick something off her shelf. A Little in Love seemed like the perfect fit. I was a little bit worried about reading it, because it’s a retelling of Eponine’s story from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and I know zippity zap about that. BUT, my ignorance to the French classic in no way stopped me from loving this book.
P L O T
The story starts with Eponine’s death. I know. It’s odd, but strangely beautiful. Chicken House does this thing were they suggest a page you should read if you want a taste of the book, and for A Little In Love it was page 2. That pretty much tells you that it’s excellent from the very beginning, and maintains that quality until the very end.
Then we follow Eponine, in a first person perspective, from her younger sister’s birth, to her death. Because you knew her fate from the very beginning, everything is tragic. Even the sweet things that happened to her, though they were few and far between, were tinged in sadness because I knew she wouldn’t get to appreciate them for long.
T O N E
Chicken House did an excellent job describing this book as ‘beautiful, romantic and haunting.’ Haunting is the most interesting word there. It matches with the sense of tragedy I just spoke of. I thought it was very reminiscent of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, in that sense.
The writing style felt very much like a fairy tale. First, Cosette’s story is like Cinderella, a girl forced to work for a family who hates her, she’s saved by the fairy godfather Jean Valjean and falls in love with the princely Marius. And then, Eponine’s tale just goes from bad to worse which reminded me of the dissent of a fairy tale character.
C H A R A C T E R S
After reading up on Les Mis, it seems that Eponine is given a much more sympathetic perspective here. Her actions in the real thing seemed to be fuelled by jealousy, and not genuine feeling, but this Eponine is sweet and caring and you just want things to work out for her. If you didn’t like the character in Les Mis, it’s impossible not to fall in love with her here.
V E R D I C T
A Little In Love was so fresh and different that I’m giving it 4 stars. It made me feel sad for a lot of the time, sure, but emotion is what makes a book great, in my opinion. Whether or not you know of Les Mis, I’d recommend this book, and you can grow to love it as much as I did.