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Therese Raquin: Scandal, Murder and Haunting Horrors in 19th Century Paris

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Therese Raquin by Emile Zola


Therese Raquin by Emile Zola is the story of the title character who is forced to marry her cousin Camille at the age of twenty-one. Although Therese and Camille grew up together and viewed each other as brother and sister, Camille’s mother Madame Raquin hoped the marriage would help secure someone to take care of her sickly son when she passed. Here brings forth the first of many selfish decisions by Zola’s egotistic characters, creating a domino effect of disaster.

Therese had resigned herself to a life of working in the family’s dingy Paris shop by day and sleeping in her cold marital bed with sickly Camille by night. The appearance of Camille’s childhood friend Laurent would awaken her and change her life forever. Unable to resist the passion between them, Laurent and Therese’s decision to be together at any cost would prove dangerous for all involved. Readers will find themselves on a literary roller coaster, moving between routing for Zola's characters and despising them, wondering what appalling scene the author has up his sleeve next.

Therese Raquin has the scandal and murder of The Great Gatsby and the haunting horrors of The Woman in Black. This novel’s popularity during its time and now has inspired a stage version as well as an upcoming movie. The movie version starring Elizabeth Olsen as Therese, Oscar Isaac as Laurent, Tom Felton as Camille and Academy Award Winner Jessica Lange as Madame Raquin is scheduled to be released February 21, 2014. Written and directed by Charlie Stratton with an intriguing and emotional trailer, In Secret promises to be a performance to see in the new year.

Readers who are fluent in French will be rewarded with a free Nook eBook of the original publication from Barnes and Noble. The English translation of the Nook eBook is also available for the affordable price of ninety-nine cents. A free version of the English translation can be found online at Readers may also borrow the printed version of Therese Raquin from the local Allentown Public Library. Whether visiting Therese Raquin by screen, page or stage, her story will entertain and shock until the very end.


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