Camille by Alexandre Dumas fils

Goodreads: Camille

Summary: A young man in Paris falls in love with a kept woman who decides she might be able to forget her past and begin a new life in order to love him in return.

Review: Camille is a very moving and beautiful love story between a pair of lovers who are perfect for each other but doomed by social expectations to be kept apart.  When the story begins, their feelings seem as though they could be only infatuation.  Armand is obsessed with Marguerite because he thinks she is beautiful.  Marguerite tolerates Armand because he knows some of her friends, and then because he expresses pity for her in her sickness.  Over time, however, the two develop a meaningful relationship and make sacrifices for each other’s happiness that express their love more strongly than words ever could.

Dumas portrays Marguerite with great compassion, showing that kept women have hearts and feelings and are people, too.  Despite their evident wealth and endless parties and operas, their lives are often hard.  And one of the things they can never have is true love.  The men who come to see them love only themselves.  If the women fall in love, they are never believed, and their lifestyles cannot be supported by the income of only one man.  They cannot be faithful if they want to be.

Marguerite tries to break her cycle, and gives up much to start a new life with Armand.  Only society, and sometimes Armand himself, stand in her way.  Camille is a book about love and freedom, told with beautiful words and deeds.  Modern romances rarely come close to portraying something as moving and absolutely real.

Published: 1852

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