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.