Full of the author's joie de vivre, this tale revels in the artistic life of 19th Century Paris. Three friends, perfect companions for each other, try to make their way as painters in the Bohemian climate of the left bank of the Seine, but then Little Billee falls in love. The object of his affections is Trilby, a gamine figure of the streets and artists' model.
Trilby is under the influence of the strange Svengali who hypnotises her to make her sing. It is not Svengali, however, who is responsible for Trilby's downfall. Du Maurier surely lays that blame on the class system of the time. It is not Trilby's lifestyle that brings tragedy but Victorian attitudes - the worthy encompassed by the inevitable. It is a love story brim full of rumbustious reminiscence with dark undercurrents about mesmeric possession of the soul - an obsession of the period.
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