Thursday, September 28, 2017

London - Edward Rutherfurd

Title: London
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 1154
Genre: Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: I've read some of Rutherford's other books.
Date Completed: 9/20/17

Summary: As is his style, Rutherfurd tracks several family lines through the generations in conjunction with the history of London. 

What I Thought: I have read several of Rutherfurd's books now. I find his style so unique. Few other authors are willing to tackle a project of such magnitude, but Rutherfurd returns to this formula again and again.

I've realized that I much prefer reading his books about cities or areas where I am already familiar with the history. Since he is focusing on the lives of fictional characters living in the midst of history, it helps to have a bigger picture idea of what is going on. He doesn't use tons of space to lay a foundation, although I thought he did a bit more of that than usual in this one. 

I've realized with these books that I often enjoy the first half more than the second half. Rutherfurd does a better job of helping you track the generational lines in the first half. By later chapters, he seems to get lazier about guiding the reader and helping you connect the dots. This book was particularly interesting in that regard because at about the three-quarters mark, one family had four daughters and those daughters ended up marrying into just about every other family Rutherfurd had been tracking. While I liked the idea in theory, it also made things more confusing to me. 

Overall, I like these books. However, they are an intense commitment. Rutherfurd has no fear of long length. You have to be ready and willing to take it on. And, you have to be ok with leaving characters just as they are becoming beloved. Suddenly, you are reading about their descendants, six or eight generations later. Still, if you have the time and inclination, I think Rutherfurd's work is fascinating and entertaining.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Doubtful
Other Books By Edward Rutherfurd: Russka / Paris

A Reduced Review: This extensive history of London is exactly what I've come to expect from Rutherfurd, though the charm of his unique style has worn off for me.

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