If The Romance of the Forest (hereafter ROF), were a film, it would be gorgeous - crumbly ruins, Swiss Alps, lakes, weeping willows, dark prisons, skeletons in basements. Guillermo Del Toro would be all over this shit. And if M. Night and Del Toro had a lovechild, he would direct this rambling exploration of victimhood. Don't expect a hero, expect, as another reviewer aptly put it, "a whole lot of freaking tears" and fainting, with frequent poetry breaks (I skipped all of the poems. Sue me). Another reviewer didn't seem to like the epigraphs. I thought they were freakin' brilliant. Especially all the Macbeth. Somebody has to have done their thesis on Macbeth + ROF, or the world is not a fair place.
If you're looking for something that won't take you a month to read, read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (kudos to the reviewer who suggested that). Longer, but better, and the plot moves quicker. Don't get me wrong, the last 60 pages of ROF will have you shredding your nails and dropping your jaw like a mental patient. It's that twisted. It just takes a lot of nature scenes, sighing, "harassed feelings" and anxiety to get you there. Indeed, get ready to "get pissed off at Adeline" (thank you previous reviewer!).
La Motte and son are more interesting, yes. But Louis (son), is the precursor to Stephenie Meyer's Jacob and Theodore (not a La Motte) is, you guessed it, sparkly Edward. It devolves into a love triangle at some points. Pierre (father), starts out the story, disappears, comes back at the end. He's conflicted, not a good guy and we're left doubting that he ever will be completely good. And that, my friends, makes for an interesting read.
Read this visually so that you can enjoy the scenery. If you can't, you might just get bored. But there's a lot to unpack here, if you're willing to take on the real work it takes. I think the last 60 pages make it worth it.