This is one of the books which Sue wrote while yet in the dark mood, while, seeing the triumphs of vice and the defeats of virtue, he doubted whether there were really any God in the world, or any excellence in human nature. The characters are represented in different grades of beauty or deformity, but the plot is so laid as to prove, that, if you make the temptation strong enough, the best is sure to yield. Such books are not entitled to, and will not obtain, the popularity of “The Mysteries of Paris” and “The Wandering Jew,” for our souls not only shrink from the facts, but deny the inferences.—Still they are full of talent, and will be read from the strong individuality with which characters and passions are marked. We only wish the reader may hold in mind that Sue has entered a better period now, where Hope and faith begin to cast light into the dark places, even into the foul dens of human wickedness.*
“The Hotel Lambert, or The Engraver’s Daughter . . .” New-York Daily Tribune, 3 September 1845, p. 1.