Compared to Bel-Ami, this was a slower-paced read, but the writing is nonetheless beautiful. I was captivated by Maupassant's sensitivities in his descriptive skills in general.
It is a carefully crafted story of an aristocratic lady with a sheltered bring-up who has lived through shattered dreams about love, unhappiness in marriage, betrayals by husband, best friend and friends, disillusions with the mores of her times and disappointment with life in general. Maupassant writes with compassion where the protagonist is concerned, and with clear-sighted satire on the subject of religion and dogmas.
The setting is mainly in a seaside suburb of Rouen, with some diversion to the island of Corsica, all beautifully portrayed. The times are in the early 19th century.
I was totally transported by the writing, whether it was the twists and turns of the story, or the enthralling descriptions of thoughts and emotions, or the refined painting of places and scenes. My only complaint is that the ending seemed to be a bit abrupt.