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Book Diva Review: Paris: The Novel

parisnovel Paris: The Novel, by Edward Rutherfurd is a novel of immense historical value.

This reader gained a lot of knowledge throughout the pages, beginning with the 13th century, and the main families that carry forward through the centuries. Each family becomes involved in societal events, including the French Revolution. Each family meets, separates, and meets again, at a future time period.

The families range from skilled workers to aristocrats, and within the familial, lies generations of conflict, from one family to another. These conflicts play out through various periods of time, and are interesting in and of themselves. Anger and hatred play out in surprising ways.

I was fascinated and enthralled with the descriptions regarding the building of the Eiffel Tower and the intricate architectural revelations surrounding it. I reread some of the pages because it was extremely intriguing.

I had no idea of the dynamics and genius behind it. I had no idea that sections were created beforehand, carted to the site, and put together as if they were pieces in a puzzle, fitting perfectly into each other. It was amazing to read about it.

I also had no idea that it became a political issue, causing protests and anger within the Parisian community/communities. Even though the building of it gave many individuals employment, the outcome was not necessarily a grand one, initially.

From family life to goals and accomplishments, I found the historical aspects to be enthralling and filled with accurate and minute details due to Rutherfurd’s penchant for accuracy.

Paris, the city of light, was so much more than that during the late 19th century. It was a city thriving with individuals involved in the arts, sciences, entertainment and magnificent architecture, including Notre Dame. Socialism and politics were heavy topics of conversation, and within each generation, those issues are played out.

The stories of the main characters are fascinating to read, and filled with details beyond imagination. It is almost as if we are there, within the streets of Paris, inhaling all of its magic, exhaling the experiences before us. Edward Rutherfurd is known for his extensive research and documentation, and Paris: The Novel, is no exception in that facet. His brilliance shines through, and his masterful way with words enhances the story line, and illuminates Paris, the city, as no other individual could, through the historical novel aspect.

At over 800 pages, there are too many pages to encapsulate the entire story line. Suffice it to say that I highly recommend Paris: The Novel.

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Book Diva Review: New York: The Novel

newyork novel I am an avid reader of Edward Rutherfurd, and have read every book of his. New York: The Novel is an ambitious endeavor, and indicative of the structure and format of his previous novels.

The characters and their familial lines repeat throughout the pages, as they play into future generations of the same families.

I felt that some characters were not necessary to the whole, and that others were too drawn out. The generational aspect as far as the characters were concerned was nice, but I felt that more individuals could have been written about in a more in-depth manner.

The “Master” family and their trials and tribulations could have been dealt with in a lesser manner, in my opinion. I realize Rutherfurd was trying to capture them in all areas of the periods of time, but at times it felt forced, and at other times it felt rushed. A few less pages could have narrowed much of it down to a more realistic approach, I felt. But, still, the descriptives were strong and illuminating, and written with the minutest of details.

I did appreciate the diversity captured within the pages, and the societal standards and mores of the time periods, and how they relate to individuals and their mindsests. Medicine and its antiquated way of curing individuals is explored, as well as mortality due to influenza outbreaks and mortality, especially in children.

From the rivers-upstream and downstream Rutherfurd’s word imagery was magnificent and brilliant in depicting the trips taken by canoe, small boats, larger vessels, etc. He also infused the pages of these trips with astounding word-visuals of nature and all of its enhancements. I could envision everything through Rutherfurd’s masterful use of details and prose. Transporting goods and transportation to get from one place to another, via the river, is described in such a manner that it filled my senses.

Overall, I enjoyed the historical aspect, and commend Rutherfurd on his research. He left no stone unturned as far as his grasp of the eras, and his documentation is strong. There is no doubt that he was steadfast in that area.

I am a native New Yorker, and I have traveled much of the areas and routes described within the pages. Of course, this was in modern times, not centuries past. Through Edward Rutherfurd’s amazing illuminations I could imagine, and see before me, the scenarios he described.

I am glad to have read New York: The Novel. I recommend it on a historical level, more so than for the story line. I would actually give this a 3.5 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest.

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