I have wanted to read this forever ... but it took coming upon the film version on tv to actually do it.
I found the tale of revenge and lust and greed to be one of the best "classics" I've ever read. It is suspenseful and clever and funny - and wildly entertaining. Balzac also includes tidbits of day-to-day life in mid nineteenth century Paris, which I found fascinating.
This is truly one of the world's classics, Balzac being one of the great observers of human social interaction. This was made into a very good film starring Jessica Lange as Bette, but there was an even more fabulous Masterpiece Theatre version many years ago. Worth looking for.