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Ursule Mirouët by Honoré de Balzac
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'a remarkable tour de force', 31 Dec. 2011

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This review is from: Ursule Mirouet (Classics) (Paperback)
When elderly Dr Minoret settles in his family home town along with a young female ward, Ursule, his vulture-like relatives are ever in the wings waiting to inherit. They grow to hate Ursule, convinced she is scheming to get 'their' money. Without giving too much away, there is a crime, a touch of the supernatural and a pair of starcrossed lovers.
It had me enthralled from page 1; I can see why Balzac considered it 'a remarkable tour de force'. The characterisations of the horrible relatives are brilliantly done eg 'his face was one of those in which it is hard for the thoughtful observer to see any trace of a soul beneath the florid tints of gross coarsening flesh'. Recommended. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
My first Balzac, and although I hear it's not his absolute best, it was a wild carriage-ride straight through 'til the surprise ending. Definitely more Balzac in my future. ( )
  velmalikevelvet | Jan 4, 2012 |
Ursule Mirouët eponymous heroine of Balzac's novel is a saintly orphan of the first order. A orphan with a complicated history-the legitimate daughter of her godfather's illegitimate brother-in-law, Ursule becomes the ward and goddaughter of her uncle, Dr. Mirouët, a wealthy widower who offers the infant Ursule a home, promptly names her after his saintly dead wife and retires to Nemours, a small provincial town outside Paris where a host of his relatives live-relatives who are neither saintly nor virtuous. Ursule's arrival upsets their great expectations of inheriting beaucoup d'argent, a fact that makes them gnash what teeth they have and begin plotting.

In the meantime, the good Dr. Mirouët raises Ursule in virtuous and innocent isolation from the evils of the world. In this task, he is aided by his good friend the Abbé Chaperon, so saintly that his breeches are mostly on the verge of falling down because he has sold the buckles keeping them in place to aid the poor. “A beautiful naïveté,” the narrator informs us. Monsieur Jordy, “a Voltairean nobleman and an old bachelor,” joins the good doctor and the abbé in bringing up baby. All these benevolent gentlemen function as Ursule “three mothers.”

Read the complete review at Dark Tea Times. ( )
7 vote urania1 | Dec 17, 2010 |
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To Mademoiselle Sophie Surville

It is a real pleasure, my dear niece, to dedicate to you a book whose subject and details have had the approval (so difficult to win) of a young girl to whom the world is as yet unknown, and who does not compromise any of the noble principles of a religious education. You girls are a formidable section of the reading public; you must only be allowed to read books that are as pure as your heart is pure, and you are forbidden certain kinds of reading matter just as you are prevented from seeing Society as it really is. So does it not fill an author's heart with pride when he has pleased you? May God grant that love has not deceived you! Who can tell? Only the future, which I hope you will live to see, and which perhaps will be denied to

Your uncle

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Entering Nemours from the direction of Paris, you pass along the Canal du Loing whose banks form both countrified ramparts and picturesque walks in this pretty little town.
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Balzac considered it his best study of human society.
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