Madame Bovary's Daughter – Linda Urbach

Reviewed by Kim

In this fascinating tale of perseverance, Linda Urbach picks up where Flaubert left off, at Charles Bovary’s funeral. A society outcast because of her mother’s actions, twelve-year-old Berthe is forced to live with her bitter and impoverished grandmother. After her grandmother dies Berthe desperately seeks work, finally winding up in a cotton mill. Through sheer determination she eventually makes her way to Paris, where through a combination of luck and talent, she becomes Charles Worth’s assistant, and finally attains the independance she has alway sought.

I found myself enjoying this book far more than I did the classic Madame Bovary. Mainly because I never wound up caring about Emma Bovary like I did her daughter in this excellent book. It’s simply amazing the moral fortitude by which Berthe lives her life, despite having been reared by two completely self-involved parents. Berthe never gives up on reaching her dream, even when the fates seem against her. The historical detail is beautifully written and there are many names from the time period which readers will recognise such as designer Charles Worth, and painter Jean-Francois Millet. Linda Urback does not merely drop these in. Instead these people all fluidly become part of Berthe’s life. I highly recommend Madame Bovary’s Daughter to fans of Historical Fiction.

Kim is the Assistant Head of Children’s Services
Read her full Read This profile: kimb8
Kim is currently reading: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

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