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: Set towards the end of the reign of Henry II of France, "The Princesse de Cleves" tells of the unspoken, unrequited love between the fair, noble Mme de Cleves, who is married to a loyal and faithful man, and the Duc de Nemours, a handsome man most female courtiers find irresistible. Warned by her mother against admitting her passion, Mme de Cleves hides her feelings from her fellow courtiers, until she finally confesses to her husband an act that brings tragic consequences for all. Described as France's first modern novel, "The Princesse de Cleves" is an exquisite and profound analysis of the human heart, and a moving depiction of the inseparability of love and anguish. The plot of "The Princesse de Cleves" takes place inside the closed world of the French elite. Although the novel starts out famously slow, it becomes much more interesting as the story moves along. The book introduce readers to the true powerbrokers of France, men and women absolutely possessed with the thirst for power. Those with some education of the French Revolution should find this section of the novel very enlightening, as it highlights their absolute isolation and ignorance of the body politik itself. Instead, the pampered court spends their time stabbing each other in the back and doing everything possible to get close to the king. If one wants a fictional but definitely reality based account of Machiavellian politics in the Renaissance, this is a great book to read. As a whole, "The Princesse de Cleves" is a very engaging and complex love story that should satisfy any modern reader interested in the multitude of topics it covers.