Monsieur De Brillancourt

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( 9 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780312118549: Monsieur De Brillancourt

A bachelor who has spent his sixty-nine years quietly absorbed in the library of his French chateau falls fatally in love when a young Englishwoman and her children come to stay with him

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From Publishers Weekly:

In both its setting-Ardeche, a remote region in the south of France-and its uncontrived narrative style, Harkness's first novel to be published in this country is gently reminiscent of Rumer Godden's The Greengage Summer. Monsieur de Brillancourt, a lifelong bachelor, has passed his years in pursuits both homely and scholarly-a tranquil existence which is shattered one summer when he rents part of his chateau to Elizabeth Hardcastle and her three children. De Brillancourt falls deeply in love with the young (and happily married) Englishwoman and, determined to maximize the few weeks he has with her, embarks on a delightfully exuberant spree, throwing his first-ever party, buying a showy sports car and spending a memorable, exquisitely evoked afternoon with Elizabeth and her children on a thyme-covered hillside. The novel is more, however, than just a whimsical love story: beneath its sparkling surface lies a thoughtful exploration of the split between subjective reality and outward appearances, whether it's the antic misperceptions of de Brillancourt's family (giving rise to an amiably slapstick subplot) or ultimately-in the story's bittersweet ending-the difference between the protagonist's blissful inner state and his apparent decrepitude. A haunting tale of thwarted love and nearly missed opportunities.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Harkness presents a brief, spellbinding novel about love, regret, and missed opportunity. Monsieur de Brillancourt has spent most of his 69 years resigned to a life of quiet complacency. Absorbed in his studies and various hobbies, he leads a solitary existence in a crumbling French ch{ƒ}ateau, visited occasionally by various peculiar relatives. One summer, a young Englishwoman and her children rent rooms from him. Eventually, he realizes that he is in love with her and begins to feel that he may have always secretly longed for a more passionate life. In the enchanting days that follow, Monsieur de Brillancourt tries everything for his chance at true love but realizes it will never be as he wishes. Harkness' graceful, witty writing style and several comical minor characters lend a degree of lightness and charm to an ultimately tragic tale of unrequited love. Kathleen Hughes

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Clare Harkness
Published by St Martins Pr (1995)
ISBN 10: 0312118546 ISBN 13: 9780312118549
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Clare Harkness
Published by St Martins Pr (1995)
ISBN 10: 0312118546 ISBN 13: 9780312118549
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