Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Paris - Edward Rutherfurd

Title: Paris
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Publication Date: 4/16/13
Pages: 809
Genre: Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: I love Paris.
Date Completed: 7/5/15

Summary: Rutherfurd explores the history of Paris through the eyes of six families. He skips around throughout history and generations, centering around the turn of the twentieth century and the building of the Eiffel Tower. 

What I Thought: I put this book On Reserve because of my francophilia. I honestly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I thought it would be more of a historical learning experience than an enjoyable fictionally driven one. 

Initially, the idea of the book does seem a bit daunting to the reader. How can one be expected to keep multiple generations of various families straight? Honestly, this ended up being far less strenuous than I expected. Rutherfurd provides a simple family tree and timeline in the start of the book to which I continually referred. With that simple tool, it became fairly easy to keep things straight.

By its nature, the book almost veers toward the idea of short stories rather than a cohesive novel. Rutherfurd does have plenty of ribbons entwining the generations and eras, but many of the characters only appear in a chapter or two. The reader is given a glimpse of their life and story and left to connect it into the bigger story of the families and of Paris itself. Surprisingly, this approach really did not bother me. Normally, I think I would like more exploration into characters' stories; yet, here, the long chapters and the broad picture being painted alleviated any longing I may have otherwise felt. 

For a long book, Rutherfurd's hopscotching through time creates the illusion of a more fast paced story. The only time I really felt the length was when the story moved into the twentieth century, particularly the occurrences around WWII. I do not know what it is about that era, but I so infrequently am interested in its stories (Of course, there are exceptions). Overall, the book flowed well and kept me engaged. I enjoyed it and its unique premise enough that I put the rest of Rutherfurd's similar works (London, New York, etc.) On Reserve.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Perhaps at some point. 
If You Liked This Try: Life After Life / People of the Book / The Iron King

A Reduced Review: A series of stories all connected by the magic of Paris; well worth the time of any history lovers or francophiles.

I'm proud to remind you that this book is on my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge list.  I'm so excited I joined this challenge for the first time. I am enjoying having some structure to my TBR and the change to make intentional choices about what I read next. Make sure you check out the rest of my list and follow the challenge throughout the year. 

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