The Vendetta by Honore de Balzac
October 1800: a foreigner, accompanied by his wife and their young daughter, stands before the Tuileries, waiting for an audience with Napoleon – the only man who can understand his wretched plight and the Vendetta that has driven him here. When Ginevra Piombo falls in love, fifteen years later, with a young Corsican officer hiding from the authorities in the aftermath of Waterloo, she does not realise that this one moment from her past will force her to make the greatest decision of her life: a choice between two loves, a choice of life or death.
I read this book a few weeks ago and to be honest, this is what has stayed with me: it is a love story, where a girl meets a soldier who is hiding while she is learning art, they fall in love, it is discovered their two families are enemies, they marry anyway and she is disowned. This is an old fashioned love story essentially.
Now don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed reading this. It was not very long and interesting. I wanted to know what decision the girl would make – would she honour her father or follow her heart? I wanted to know if her father’s love for her was greater than his hatred. I was happy reading this, I did enjoy it. As I reflect on the book I find myself remembering the art room and how the light shined into it and where the soldier was hidden. There are some elements that have stuck with me.
One comment I would make is this: the title is Vendetta, which suggests that the book will primarily be about the dispute two families had with each other. I found that this was only mentioned a couple of times and the focus of the book was in fact the love story, not the hatred.
Overall, this is not a bad classic. I think essentially it is a love story, but there is fire and revenge and hatred in the book too. If you like Classics and quick-reads, this one is for you.