A Little in Love

Written by Susan Fletcher
Review by Val Loh

In 1832, Paris is a city in turmoil. The blood of young men – idealists and revolutionaries who wish for a fairer society – seeps into the streets as they are defeated. Along with the unsung heroes is the dying figure of young Eponine. She has made the ultimate sacrifice for love. Eponine is my favourite character from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. A Little in Love gives us Susan Fletcher’s angle on a life and love that can never have a happy ending.

It is a huge challenge to take such a well-known character and retell her story as a stand-alone novel. However, this version reveals in graphic detail the hardship of Eponine’s life from an early age. The cruelty that she is shown, and expected to direct towards the pretty Cosette, touches the reader deeply, as does the girl’s remorse for the deeds she is forced to do.

I found this novel extraordinarily powerful and touching. In places, it is extremely sad as Eponine tries and fails to turn from the evil life her parents expect her to follow towards a way that is good and considerate of others.

The sympathy she initially has for Cosette shows her true nature, but we learn how this changes and why. Jealousy is a powerful emotion as is love and, just like the passion revealed in the blood-stained love letter included with the book, the deep need for the missing love and affection within Eponine’s life is heart-wrenching.

The short chapters make it a very accessible read. This account is beautifully written and captivates the reader throughout. Girls of 12 plus who like a dark, powerful and emotional read should enjoy this book.