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The Reinvention of Love

The Reinvention of Love

Author(s): Helen Humphreys

Location(s): Paris

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): Mid 1800s



When Charles Saint-Beuve, a French literary journalist met Victor Hugo, an ambitious young writer who intended to become famous, he was swept into a world of grand emotions, a world where words can become swords. But it is not Victor he is really attracted to – it is his wife Adele. Soon the two lovers are on the edge of a great scandale and a wounded Victor must exact his price for betrayal, a price that will change the lives of many, including his own children. As Saint-Beuve – a man like no other man – struggles to hold on to what is left of his great love, he finds that only words can rekindle the flame. Set during the tumultuous reign of Napoleon III, this mesmerising novel draws a rich portrait of old Paris, where duels were fought and cholera-ridden bodies float in the Seine. Towering over all is the genius of Victor Hugo, already the voice of France, eventually banished to the island of Guernsey for his opposition to the regime. In contrast come the quieter voices of two women destroyed by Hugo’s ferocious literary ambition as well as the unique, acerbic and heart-breaking voice of the critic and essayist, Saint-Beuve, first Hugo’s friend and then his unlikely competitor in love. An atmospheric story of delicacy and emotion, of the experience of professional jealousy and personal passion, The Reinvention of Love is an outstanding piece of fiction writing, in part about writing itself.

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Lead Review

This is a slow-paced book, a love story at its heart, with rich descriptions and atmosphere-charged settings. – Kol Kat –

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021