With a title like “The Devil’s Pool,” I have to admit I was expecting a story that was a little, well, creepier. Especially when one summary stated, in substance, that Germain is seen as an old guy at nearly thirty, respectable, who would never! make a move on a 16 year old farm girl he is escorting to her place as a shepherdess.
Ah, well. That is what I get when I get caught up in expectations. George Sand was such a boundary pusher in her personal life, I thought maybe she would reveal this lecherous older dude as you know, inappropriate and creepy and rape-y. Ha!
The novella is roughly divided into three parts. The first is a bit of a framing story. Second is the substantive widower-falls-for-young-girl tale. Lastly, there is almost an anthropological examination of the wedding traditions of French peasants, as seen through the actions of our happy couple.
The wedding traditions portion was my favorite. It was completely unexpected, and incredibly detailed, down to songs and calls and responses that were performed during the multi-day festivities. Honestly, it made me want to read a nonfiction account of the goings-on.
So, if you are looking for a short read by a notable author and are interested in French wedding traditions, pick this up. Otherwise, you might want to move along to something else.