This story takes place in the town of Saumur. That's where Eugénie and her very normal family lives. Her father is a miserly former cooper that hides his fortune from her wife and daughter and made them live in an old, cold and poor house that he doesn't want to repair because, well, money must be spent and that's what he tries to avoid at all cost. Reading this made me mischievously smile from time to time because let's face it, we've all met a Felix Grandet in real life, at least, once. A person that only accumulates money just to see it on the table. He needs to know it's there so he can feel secure. He doesn't have a coat in a 20°F winter afternoon but he sure feels secure seeing a pile of money somewhere in the house. The way those people think it's truly amazing. They want to make a lot of money, they don't want to spend a dime and before they realize, their lives went by without actually living. They get old and die, or get hit by a bus and die young, and they can't take the money to their graves or above, or to whatever we go after we die. If we go somewhere. Ironically, their heirs enjoy that money without moving a finger to get it, except being born in that family to, consequently, become an heir, but they don't have control over that. Anyway, I don't know what I was talking about exactly, but it seems a good time to say that Balzac described places, situations and characters to the last detail (it doesn't get tedious, most of the times). It feels you're there, living in a solid house three centuries old, sharing moments with poor Eugenie, chatting about how every men that approaches her has an agenda. That's the other side of the story: people being around other people just to see what they can get out of them. Some young men are sent to visit Eugénie with eventual marriage proposals, because their families knows about her wealth. Of course that hypocrisy is not something that only appears in the upper class, but she learns that her only true friend might come from a usually overlooked lower class. Her kindness, her noble spirit coexists with the miserliness of her father, with the materialism of her world. She is the opposite of selfishness, and knows that happiness can be found in helping others, too.This brilliant novel tells a story about the effect that money can have over people, how it affects family relationships, or any kind of relationship, for that matter; but it's also about love, that neverending search of love, whether you find happiness in that material world most people desire or not.