First of all, even though this was written over 150 years ago, everything still comes across as incredibly current. You can pluck the characters from their 19th century existence and slot them into today with an ease that is a little scary. The book starts off with an introduction to Charles Bovary’s life and I immediately wanted to like him, in spite of his deficiencies. When Emma comes into the picture, I didn’t expect much trouble but she slowly morphed from a bored girl, who marries because she thinks she might be in love, into a disgruntled, selfish and bitter woman looking for an escape from reality. I don’t want to give away the plot but most people who will pick this up will already know that it is a tale of adultery and misplaced passion. Emma’s fate seems a little harsh but I don’t see how else the book could have ended without becoming romantic fluff. Charles is pitiable but foolish as he is so willing to overlook the obvious. By the end of the book, I didn’t care much for him either. The secondary characters in the book were rich and vibrant, adding an impressive level of depth to the book. Monsieur Lheureux’s mastery of deception, in particular, left me enraged. And all the side commentary between the chemist and the priest on society and religion still rings true today. My only criticism of this book is that the narration and descriptions went on for far too long at times. It could easily have been a third shorter. But I definitely see why this is called a classic and also why it was banned in 19th century France. Worth a read!