Fontane's enchanting seventeen-year-old heroine, Effi is married off to Geert von Innstetten, an austere, workaholic civil servant twice her age. Set in Bismarck's Germany, this luminous and moving tale of a socially suitable but emotionally disastrous match, shifts from childhood idyll in Brandenburg, to a remote Baltic port and back to Imperial Berlin. With Effi Briest, Fontane brilliantly demonstrates the truth of his comment "That women's stories are generally far more interesting". His taut, ironic narrative depicts a world where sexuality and the will to enjoy life are stifled by narrowmindedness and circumstance. And in his humane unsentimental portrait of Effi, who refuses to bow to convention, he offers us a reading experience that is at once touching and unsettling.