Author: Susan Fletcher
Published: October 2014 by Chicken House Books
Length: 288 pages
Source: Cheezyfeet Books
Summary : As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family's kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls' paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they've both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.
Review: Eponine Thenadier lies in a Parisian street, seventeen years old, dying. As she does so, she remembers how her life progressed in such a way from a spoilt childhood and years of cheating and stealing to taking a bullet for the boy she loves.
I wanted to read this because I have a love for the musical of Les Miserables and an appreciation for the book (see here for my review). Eponine is one of my favourite characters because she has to stand up for herself and no one fights for her, and I was looking forwards to seeing a backstory for her.
It's interesting seeing the formative years through the eyes of Eponine. We know that her parents were abusive towards Cosette, but the extent they are to Eponine and sister Azelma in their treatment isn't one you think about when seeing or reading Les Mis.
I liked the fact that in little ways, Eponine attempts to redeem herself. Her development is very thorough and wonderful to watch. Sadly, I don't think any of the other characters got the same treatment, which would have been interesting to see.
I didn't like the fact that it randomly slips into French for a couple of words at a time. I don't mean where we need words like sou or Les Halles for nouns or specifically French things. it's just occasional phrases. Oui. Excuzez-moi, mon pere. C'est un joli matin. It's just one of my little pet hates, if it's not a language that is foreign to the focaliser and the thing that is being said has a perfectly good English equivalent (yes, excuse me, father, it’s a pretty morning). We understand that Eponine is speaking and thinking in French, and the little random changes are noticable and get on my nerves.
The plot progresses gently. It fills in the gaps of Hugo’s novel where the focus is on Cosette and Les Amis. At times, it drags, but my interest levels did stay up enough for me to not give up.
However, my heart for Eponine. Fletcher does very well in making you empathise with her, and Especially with the little quote from The Brick at the start, in both French and English- j'etais un peu amoureuse de vous . Please excuse me while I go cry.
Overall: Stregth 3 tea. I really liked the idea and Eponine's development, but it lacked depth in other areas.