The Three Cities Trilogy: Lourdes, Volume 1
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They are of interest primarily, I should think, to people who want to understand Zola's feelings and thoughts about science and religion. If you are writing any kind of study of Zola and his works, you MUST read these. But the vast patches of description and the occasional sappy interactions between characters add an all-too-frequent element of impatience and boredom to the experience of ploughing through these works. I am glad I read them, but I wouldn't want to do it again, even though I agree with Zola about the merits of science and the pernicious nature of most religion.