Although Kate Chopin is better known for her second novel The Awakening and her numerous short story collections, her first novel merits critical inquiry. At Fault was published in 1890 and aside from its confident, flawless prose, it also explores the complicated and sensitive subject of divorce.
Thérèse Lafirme is a young resourceful widow, quite capable of running the plantation she has inherited from her late husband. A few years after his death, she falls in love with David Hosmer, a recent immigrant to the south from Missouri. But she refuses his proposal when she learns he is divorced, condemning him for what she calls “cowardly behavior”. Thérèse persuades David to undertake a difficult task: re-marry his wife and attempt to reform her faults instead of abandoning her to them.