My Review of “Mademoiselle Benoir”, by Christine Conrad


“It’s not just the incredible gift of physical love at a time in my life when I thought I had to give up any dream of it, but also the gift of a ‘sweet love’, a love without tyranny, from either his side or mine.

I am even grateful for my years alone… I grew stronger in myself and came to know I could survive as a woman alone. There was a kind of cleansing, a taking away of my youthful ‘neediness’, which pollutes relationships when we are young.” (p. 186)

Mademoiselle Benoir: A Novel

Except for the initial fumble with the fact that the novel was set in 1998, when there was supposed to be the Internet already and I wondered why they still wrote letters to each other — but which later on I found to be believable if they were a very cultured, letter-writing family and the character Tim Reinhart was writing from a very very remote village in Southwestern rural France, when there couldn’t have been good dial-up networking then — I found the novel deep in its understanding of human character and the ways of relationships.

I also liked the epistolary style as it draws the reader in to the story as if they were part of it.

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