Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).
Review: In the past few years, my interest in historical fiction has grown tremendously, but before now, I’d never read a historical fiction piece that was based on the life of an author. Having read this, that may very well change.
Also, before reading this I had heard of the author George Sand, and perhaps, been somewhat aware of the fact that he was a she writing under a pen name. However, I’ve never read anything by George Sand, and that too may change. In fact, I might even go so far as to read a biography of the author because Elizabeth Berg makes her sound so damn interesting!
As you’ve noticed, I’m not much into summarizing, partially because you can read the summary of the book just about anywhere (including the link to the cover image), and because I myself hate spoilers and have no desire to accidentally commit such a sin. Given all of that, my nutshell summary: this is a semi-fictionalized account of the life of George Sand, or really, of Aurore Dupin. It explore her marriage, her upbringing, her writing life, her relationships with her children, and her various love relationships.
This is not an exciting or especially sexy book (though it has a few brief sex scenes), but it is a very interesting and thought-provoking book. George (Aurore) was a unique woman who took a lot of risks that, I dare say, a lot of women would struggle to take even today. But she was determined that she should have a life that was happy and fulfilling, and she made a lot of sacrifices to be her most authentic self. As a mother and a wife, she wrestled with her desire to have a life of her own, to have a career, and to allow herself the freedom to be and do what she wanted. Her choices were brave, though sometimes selfish, but she stayed true to herself.
There was a lot about this novel that surprised me. Mostly, I was taken aback by how connected I felt to George and her desire to what she felt driven to do while dealing with the expectations placed on her as a woman. The reason I find it so surprising is she lived in 19th century France! I’m a woman of the 21st century and goodness knows that women’s rights have grown tremendously since her time, yet I identified so much with her struggle to find balance. Ultimately, the book was well written and the story interesting, but it was George that I quite fell in love with.