Pierrette is the story of the life and death of a young woman, Pierrette Lorraine. Pierrette, an orphan, lived with her grandmother until the failing health of the grandmother caused Pierrette to be placed in a children's home. Her only other relatives are two much older cousins, brother and sister. They are retired from the cloth trade, called "mergers" at the time. They are well off but very cheap and grasping. They think Pierrette may be due an inheritance from the grandmother so they take her in and become her guardian.
The cousins make Pierrette be an all purpose servant in order to,in their minds, pay for her room and board. They ruin her health in the process and commit what are even in 1840 criminal acts of child abuse, acts that will ultimately lead to early death. Pierrette has one loyal friend, a boy her age, about fifteen now (prime marriage years). There is a lot of drama involving the marriage plans of the cousins and the search for a suitable husband for the girl. The novel is replete with plots and deceptions. The cousins are pure evil.
In the perhaps most interesting segment of this short novel (maybe 150 pages) we see how child abuse was dealt with by the legal system.
Pierrette is described by Goodreads reviewers,most of whom liked it a lot, as do I, as a "tear jerker".
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I have now begun work two in The Celibates Trilogy, The Vicar of Tours.