This is the first thing that I have read by Maupassant and I found it very enjoyable. It is very much a 19th century French novel, which I mean as a great complement. It focuses on the life of a woman in the French gentry and starts at the moment she leaves the convent in which she has been schooled completely unprepared for the realities of life, its squalor, deception and evil.
The book records her various disappointments and betrayals and is full of all the things that a good 19th century French novel should have - murders, love affairs, debts, and sex scenes that push the limits of what could be written. I am a huge Zola fan and it was Zola and Flaubert who were the primary influences on Maupassant which shows. The prose is constantly fascinating, and very much in the French naturalist tradition. Good fun with its melancholy bleakness. I'm definitely going to read more Maupassant.
I do not believe that "A Woman's Life" is the best translation of the title "Une Vie".