That is one point that made me wonder about this novel. The character of Constantine is not exactly positive, he is very cold and distant, and while he doesn’t mistreat Constance, he is far from being friendly or welcoming. Nevertheless, I didn’t find him unpleasant, and I think neither does Constance. In a way, she is upset he is not interested in making theirs a real marriage, even if, don’t get me wrong, Constance is not in love with Constantine. I think she is more outraged, and she feels like he deceived her, since that was not the supposed agreement.
Constance is a cultured woman, and she has no prudery; she is not really upset when her husband proposes her to have an affair with Sylvain, I think that, if Constantine was willing to make it something permanent, she would have even agreed. I don’t think Constance wants a love marriage, but for sure she wants what she has the right to have, and I think she will manage to obtain it, in a way or the other. I’m pretty sure that, of the two, it’s Constance who is the stronger, and in the long run, she will be the one with the power.
Complex story, complex writing style, but if you have the patience, and the courage to start it, I think you will find this is a very original insight in an uncommon era and setting for a novel.
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott