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All This, and Heaven Too

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4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  224 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This number-one bestselling novel is based on the true story of one of the most notorious murder cases in French history. The heroine, Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, governess to the children of the Duc de Praslin, found herself strangely drawn to her employer; when the Duc murdered his wife in the most savage fashion, she had to plead her own case before the Chancellor of Fr ...more
Paperback, 596 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1938)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 685)
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Hannah
Apr 17, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it
This is just a good, old-fashioned historical novel similar in style and scope to works like Katherine and Gone with the Wind.

It's based on the true story of the author's French great aunt (through marriage only), Henriette Desportes. Field re-imagines Henriette's life, from the time she was a 28 year old governess travelling back to her native France in the 1840's, until her death as the wife of Henry Field in New England in the 1870's. How much of Henriette's story is actually true is up for c
...more
Melissa
Dec 22, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing
In my all time top ten. Written by her grand-daughter in the 1930's it tells the tale of a woman who is an unwilling part of a murder in Paris, then moves to New York City for a second chance. My favorite passage is the following:
"And I felt so alone, you see," Henriette ventured at last. "If there had been someone to turn to, some one for me to lean on."
"Listen to me." The sharp old eyes blinked fiercely out of their nest of wrinkles. "You'll never find that, so stop wasting your time for a sho
...more
Melissa
Nov 02, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it
I went through many different emotions whie I was reading this book. Several things I had read about it previously mentioned the main character's, Henriette Desportes', involvement in a famous murder in 19th century France. Said murder occurs almost halway through the book and then doesn't take much to resolve. This all annoyed me, and I kept wondering if should just give up.
But even as I kept flipping forward, trying to figure out when someone was going to die (you can see where my priorities
...more
Maggie
Feb 24, 2013 Maggie rated it really liked it
Henriette Desportes is 28 years old when the novel opens in 1841. She is traveling from England to her homeland of France now English charge is of age and no longer in need of a governess. Henriette has secured a position teaching a prominent family’s youngest children. The Duc and Duchesse de Praslin are Catholic; the Duchesse strongly disapproves of Henriette’s Protestant faith. The children find it easy to love their governess because they are terrified of their mother.

Time and trials make He
...more
Mary
May 05, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
I really felt for the heroine Henriette who returns to France as a governess to the Duc of Praslin's children.
A jealous wife with tragic consequences.
A murder and a suicide where Henriette has to plead her case.
When released she makes a new life in America.
This was actually a true story written by Rachel Field.
Written in the 1930's and was also turned into a lavish movie starring Bette Davis.
This historical romance is full of passion mystery and intrigue.
Well worth a read.
I loved it.
Hana
Sadly, I found Field's writing style somewhat dull. The idea and the story are rather better than the execution. The book started well, with Henriette moving to Paris and taking a job in a troubled royal household. I also enjoyed the historical references in last section after Henriette moves to America, but oddly, the tale bogged down in the middle--just at the moments when it should have been most exciting.

Field does do a good job describing locations, little details about Paris, etc. but doe
...more
Traci
Jul 15, 2015 Traci rated it really liked it
I first saw the Bette Davis film of this same title and had no idea it was based on a book which in turn was based on a true story of a French governess that was caught up in the Duc de Praslin's murder of his duchess, a scandal that was to a significant degree responsible for the king's dethroning. It was a laborious read and yet at times a compelling one. I'm now off to read 'A Crime of Passion' by Stanley Loomis, a nonfiction look at the same characters to counterbalance the obvious prejudice ...more
Rachel Crooks
May 19, 2012 Rachel Crooks rated it it was amazing
I read this book four years ago, but it still lingers in my memory. I don't know if it speaks to the excellence of the writing or just my book-worm nature, but I struggled to put it down even on a road trip through Yellowstone! There was something about it - the introspective quality of Field's language - that brought self-knowledge through the unveiling of Henriette's enigmatic character. A few quotes I still remember:

“Oh, well, it might look like a patterned world, laid out in prim design, bu
...more
Linda
Nov 14, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
This is the third “governess story” I’ve read this year, (along with “Dragonwyck” and “Jane Eyre”), this one based on the true story and scandal of Rachel Field’s great aunt, Henriette Desportes. She was the governess to the children of the Duc and Duchesse de Praslin in 1840’s Paris, a good teacher and a loving companion. The Duc had let it be known that Henriette was to follow his instructions in the care of the children; the Duchesse cared little for them and really only for her own needs an ...more
Joss
May 18, 2013 Joss rated it liked it
Originally published in 1939 (and subsequently made into a film starring Bette Davis) this novel tells the story of a woman who was a governess in France in the mid-19th century and got caught up in a scandal when she was accused of a murder she did not commit.
The second half of the book is very different - rather less exciting although still of interest. Our heroine emigrates to America where she has to contend with a very unfamiliar lifestyle amongst prim New Englanders: there are some very f
...more
Maya
Sep 29, 2008 Maya rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2008
A sentimental favorite. I can't remember exactly how I came to own a copy of this book, but I think I picked it up in a thrift shop many years ago, and recognized it as the source material for the Bette Davis film of the same name.

Field is better known as the Newbery-winning author of Hitty: Her First Hundred Years. It's been a long time since I read All This, and Heaven Too; I didn't remember that Field was writing about her own relative (by marriage) and her own famous family in the novel. Fie
...more
Kelly
Apr 21, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
I got this for 25 cents on the last day of Brandeis Book Sale. Best quarter I ever spent! Fascinating fictionalized account of one of France's great murders in the 1800s. Henriette Desportes becomes governess for the wealthy Praslin household and gets stuck in the midst of the Duc and Duchesse's marital problems. My one issue with this book is that the author wants Henriette to be completely blameless, so some of H's actions are a little vague as to motivation.

I was FASCINATED to learn that the
...more
Cheri Rasmussen
Jan 18, 2015 Cheri Rasmussen rated it liked it
Interesting from a historical perspective, moved slowly at points
H.J. Swinford
May 12, 2008 H.J. Swinford rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Big time readers. mostly females
Recommended to H.J. by: Its own pretty spine
Shelves: read-in-2008
This was one of those books that caught my eye on a bookshelf at a local bookstore and as soon as I pulled it off the shelf I knew I couldn't leave the store without this book in hand. I don't know...it was just one of those things.

It is a narrative biography of Henriette Desportes and her story surrounding the Praslin murder scandal in France in the 1840s. Totally cool French history wrapped into the life of this amazing woman. The writing is sophisticated, but not difficult and the 600someodd
...more
Susan
Jan 25, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Great read. Beautifully developed characters. If you enjoy historical fiction, check this one out.
Christine Sinclair
Nov 17, 2015 Christine Sinclair rated it it was amazing
Great book! Imagine being the author, Rachel Field, and having a great-aunt like Henriette Desportes to write about. It seems as though her life cried out for this book to be written. Rachel Field has created a brilliant novelization of her life and turbulent times, based on facts, research, family anecdotes and memorabilia, and a keen sense of the kind of woman she was, strong, truthful, brave and vivid. The novel was the basis for a film starring Bette Davis and Charles Boyer. I can't wait to ...more
Michelle
Apr 27, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This book has a split personality. The first half is very engrossing and interesting. The second half is very boring and I just scanned through most of it. I wonder whatever happened to the children, but it doesn't say much about that. I wonder just how very innocent she really was in life, the book is definitely written from that angle. If this were two books, I would give the first half 4 stars and the last part 1 or 2.
Elisha (lishie)
Mar 03, 2008 Elisha (lishie) rated it liked it
I liked the idea of this book a little more than the actual book. The great part is the book has that old Hollywood "feel" to it but it also takes patience to get through the plot. The actual murder (main plot point) does not happen until a little more than 1/3 of the way through the 600 pages. There's a 1940s movie version with Bette Davis playing Henriette I cannot wait to see.
Vikki
Oct 09, 2011 Vikki rated it really liked it
This story is based on the true life of the author's great aunt in the 1840s. It is one of the best books that I've read in a long time. The heroine is Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, governess of the ill-fated household of the Duke and Duchess de Praslin. This was so good. I love this author. I loved that the book was written in the 1930s.
Jon
Nov 24, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing
A meticulously detailed book about a demure, destitute woman who becomes a governess and engenders the wrath of her mistress, the childrens' mother. A handsome film was made of the first half of the book with Bette Davis. Fans of that will enjoy reading how the rest of the story plays out, though it is decidely not as exciting.
Dorottya
Sep 11, 2015 Dorottya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! That kind of historical fiction that I adore! It had a message, things to ponder after reading the book, a really charismatic and unique female protagonist (with whom I could kind of identify myself)... so it was a nice piece of literature, yet it had a really nice, eventful plot.
Alyssa
Mar 13, 2009 Alyssa rated it really liked it
They are playing this movie for free next semester on the first floor of our library and I thought that I would read the book beforehand, just for kicks. It's about a nanny that has an affair with the guy - scandalous!
Melissa
Jul 05, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Henriette is a governess for the children of the Duc and Duchess de Praslin. The Duc falls in love with Henriette and leads to tragedy. Soon after Henriette moves to America and rebuilds her life there.
Jane
Nov 10, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
Like Daphne du Maurier, Rachel Field spins a first-rate historical romance, this one based upon her great-aunt Henriette Deluzy-Desportes Field. A godd old-fashioned read.
Jen
Oct 22, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing read. I so thoroughly enjoyed it. Then, I found out it's a true story...WOW! If you like historical books. You will love this.
Teryl
Feb 05, 2010 Teryl rated it it was amazing
My grandmother gave me this book when I was 10 and I loved it then, and still number it among my favourite books. Beautifully written and an inspiring story.
Andrea Dowd
Jul 05, 2015 Andrea Dowd rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
"All This, and Heaven Too" was way too sentimental for me to even attempt to finish. Just watch the Bette Davis film version instead.
Dianna
Jan 06, 2013 Dianna rated it really liked it
Very well written. I was drawn into the story as if I was there. I enjoyed every page. I would recommend this book.
Jody
May 10, 2012 Jody rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
Based on the true story of the author's great-aunt. It is a lovely story of integrity, humility and love :)
Nestor
Aug 10, 2012 Nestor added it
verry interesting,it ws written when English was more words and less contractions ...more
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Rachel Lyman Field was an American novelist, poet, and author of children's fiction. She is best known for her Newbery Medal–winning novel for young adults, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, published in 1929.

As a child Field contributed to the St. Nicholas Magazine and was educated at Radcliffe College. Her book, Prayer for a Child, was a recipient of the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations by El
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“Affections cannot be stolen, madam. They are given freely or not at all.” 7 likes
“The more one suffered and lived, the more one had known of joy and grief, the deeper the response must be if an artist were great enough to summon it.” 1 likes
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