Short summary - A Love Episode - A Page of Love - Émile Zola

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - A Love Episode - A Page of Love
Émile Zola

Part One
Hélène Grandjean remains a widow shortly after moving to Paris. Her daughter Zhanna is sick, the girl is prone to seizures. The attending physician cannot come and the woman turns to another, who lives in the neighborhood, Dr. Henri Deberel. The doctor gives the patient medicine, calming the mother that the convulsions will stop and there is no danger.
A few days later, Jeanne recovers and Helen comes with her to the doctor to express her gratitude. The doctor is not at home and she is met by his wife, Juliette Deberel, who is discussing the theatrical premiere with the guests. During the discussion, Madame Deberel expresses sympathy for Helene in her position as a widow. Without waiting for Monsieur Deberel, Helen leaves.
Abbot Juve, who gives Helene a job, encourages her established relationship with the Deberelle family, because she leads a too solitary lifestyle. He asks Helen to visit one of his sick parishioners, Aunt Fatya.
At Aunt Fatu's, Helen meets Dr. Deberel. Aunt Fatu speaks well of him and hints that Helen is interested in him.
During the meetings with the patient, a mutual interest arises between the doctor and Helen. Madame Deberelle invites Jeanne to take a walk in their garden with their son Lucien. Swinging in the garden, Helen falls and injures her leg.
Helen does not get out of bed for several days. She remembers her happy marriage and she wants to love again.
Part two
Abbot Juve advises Helene to marry, but her chosen one must be a good father to Jeanne. The abbot points the woman to her brother, Monsieur Rambeau, an old acquaintance of her late husband. Monsieur Rambeau is not indifferent to her, he loves the girl and Jeanne loves him, but Helene is indifferent to him.
Helene spends a lot of time with the Deberel family. She develops a friendship with Juliette, but women have little in common. Helen admits to herself that she loves the doctor.
Juliette decides to organize a children's ball. By chance, the doctor finds out that Monsieur Rambeau wants to marry Helene. At the ball, he spends all the time next to Helen and confesses his love to her, but Helen asks her to leave.
Part Three
In the month of Mary, Helen and the doctor meet in the church. They go home together, but they don't talk about love.
Zhanna again has a seizure and Helen spends all the time with her daughter. The doctor could not stand it, comes and again confesses his love to Helen. Seeing that Jeanne is sick, the doctor does not hide that the situation is serious.
The doctor does not leave Jeanne and the disease recedes. Helen confesses her love to him. While Jeanne is recovering, the doctor comes to Helen. Jeanne begins to be jealous of her mother and is hostile to the doctor. Now he has to hide his visits from the girl.
Having recovered, at the invitation of Juliette, Jeanne again comes to the garden of the Deberel family. Helen suffers seeing the doctor with his wife.
Helene confesses to Abbot Juve that she is suffering from love. The abbot guessed whom she loved, but still advises her to get married. Her husband will be an honest man and Helen will love him.
Part Four
At a dinner at the Deberels' house, Helene notices that Juliette is being looked after by an admirer of her younger sister Pauline, Mr. Malignon. Helene feels sorry for Henri. From Aunt Fatu, she accidentally learns about the meeting place of Juliette and Malignon. In a modified handwriting, Helen writes a letter to Henri, in which he tells where his wife meets her lover.
Tormented by remorse, Helen comes to the meeting place and informs the lovers to leave, since Anri will come now. The surprised doctor finds Helen. Deciding that she made a date with him in this way, Henri confesses his love for her, Helen is unable to resist.
Part Five
Juliette is infinitely grateful to Helene, who now thinks only of a date with Henri.
Jeanne falls ill. Helene is advised to go to Italy, to a different climate, but she cannot part with Henri. Having learned about this, Juliette enthusiastically invites everyone to go together, taking Polina and Malignon with her.
Jeanne is getting worse and the doctors believe that the girl has transient consumption.
Juliette organizes Jeanne's funeral. Henri leaves on business and cannot attend the funeral. From grief-stricken Helene does not leave the lord of Rambaud, but she thinks of Henri.
Two years pass. Hélène, now Madame Rambeau, is leaving Paris with her husband. Before leaving, she learns that a girl was born in the Deberel family. Anri remains in her past.