This book is a little bit dark but actually quite fabulous. Therese Raquin is my first Zola but won’t be my last. Set in nineteenth century France (Vernon then Paris), it tells the turbulent tale of protagonist Therese, her sickly husband, his mother and her lover. Brilliant!
Gritty, depressing and gloriously engaging, Therese Raquin tells of Therese’s unhappy marriage to her first cousin (Camille) who is sick, feckless and egocentric. Her aunt and also mother-in-law Madame Raquin oversees Therese’s life with the well-intentioned interference of a controlling bored woman. Therese’s despair at her situation leads her to engage in a torrid love affair with Camille’s childhood friend. The opportunities to be together are soon thwarted and so the two lovers devise a scheme in order that they can be together. This scheme has disastrous and surprising consequences.