on August 25, 2015
Genres: Romance, Retelling, YA, War, Historical Fiction
Inspired by Victor Hugo's classic, Les Miserables, A Little in Love beautifully conveys the heartbreaking story of street girl Eponine.
A girl lies alone in the darkness, clutching a letter to her heart.
Eponine remembers being a child: her swing and the peach tree, and the baby brother she loved. But mostly she remembers being miserable. Taught to lie and cheat, and to hate the one girl, Cosette, who might have been her friend.
Now, at sixteen, the two girls meet again, and Eponine has one more chance. But what is the price of friendship--the love of a boy?
If you know anything about me, know that I love Les Mis. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and all-time favorite movies. Also it introduced me to Eddie Redmayne, whom I love dearly. But Eddie is neither here nor there, it’s Les Mis that I’m talking about now. It’s just so beautiful and has these really deep and powerful messages and symbolism. About forgiveness. Justice versus mercy. God. Redemption. What it means to be a good person. It’s just beautiful.
So when I saw that there was a Les Mis retelling coming out at the end of August, I got very excited. And when I got my hands on a copy, I squealed and dropped everything to read it next. A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher is a retelling of Les Mis in Éponine’s point of view. Éponine is my absolute favorite character. She comes out from an horrible environment and family…and she makes something of herself. Something good. She loves deeply and she left her legacy filled with that love. So to get a book filled with solely her point of view is amazing. Frankly, I want a retelling in every character’s point of view. Because each character has that much to offer.
This book is done very classically. It sticks to the story and is very well-done in doing so. It’s not one of the retellings that changes things, makes it its own separate thing distinct from the original. A lot of retellings do that nowadays…whether by making it modern or by adding new elements to the story. A Little in Love stays true to the beauty that is the original Les Mis. What it adds it new perspective into the story: Éponine’s thoughts and actions that we don’t see in the original.
Throughout this story, I really grew to love Éponine even more than I already did. She’s a girl that was born into a horrible situation with a horrible family…yet she just wants to be better. She wants to be kinder and happier. Yet, she’s trapped in this family of greed and selfishness and hate. She’s not perfect, by far. She’s not Cinderella–the perfect girl born into a rough family yet is always perfect all the time. No, she makes mistakes. She falls into the pattern of her family at times. Which is natural and can only be expected of a young girl in her circumstance. She steals constantly and is cruel to people to gain her parents’ love. So she’s not perfect. But she’s trying, and this book really shows that and really gives her a shot at redemption.
It was also truly interesting to see Marius (Be still my heart…I love him) from Éponine’s perspective. If you’ve seen the movie or read the original book, you’d know she loves him. She loves him from the very beginning. In this book, though, you get to see why. Marius is literally everything good in the world to her. He’s everything that she’s not. Good, charitable, hopeful, optimistic. She sets him up as this standard of perfection and aspired to get to the point that he was. And I think that’s beautiful.
The writing wasn’t all the way there for me. It often felt emotionless. Like she’d say she was sad but I didn’t get to see it in her expressions, language, etc. But then there were moments of really beautiful and powerful emotion. I just wish it had been like that throughout the entirety of the novel, because there were some really powerful moments.
Overall, though, this book is beautiful. It sticks to the original story and maintains that classic power that we see in Les Mis. And if you haven’t seen Les Mis yet, go do it now because it’s my favorite and I want you to love it, too. Also go read this book.