Zola tried to defend the "scandalous" nature of this book saying he was writing about characters without souls, human animals, in a very naturalistic way. I see if this was his aim he totally failed as this was melodrama at its best. The dingy,
monotonous life of the main character is relieved through an affair with her husband’s friend. It's interesting that Therese is the title character when she doesn't actually speak till about a third of the way into the novel, and then it's a huge monologue about how terribly unhappy she's been. The lovers decide the only way they can find happiness is to kill Therese's husband, and spend the last half of the novel feeling Terribly guilty about it. I have to say this is probably my favourite Zola so far. The melodrama didn't feel quite as forced as in L'Assommoir and the characters were more likeable and interesting than in Nana. It was visual and gritty and entertaining and reminded me that I really do need to read more Zola.