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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crossing on the Paris...Review

About the book:
Downton Abbey meets Titanic in this sweeping historical novel about three women of different generations and classes, whose lives intersect on a majestic ocean liner traveling from Paris to New York in the wake of World War I.

The year is 1921. Three women set out on the impressive Paris ocean liner on a journey from Paris to New York. Julie Vernet is a young French woman from a working class family who has just gotten her first job as a crew worker on the ship. Escaping her small town and the memory of war, she longs for adventure on the high seas...

Constance Stone is a young American wife and mother who has traveled to Paris to rescue her bohemian sister, Faith, who steadfastly refuses to return to America and settle down. Constance returns home to New York, having failed at the duty her father asked of her...

Vera Sinclair, a rich, ex-patriate American is leaving France after thirty-one years to live out her remaining time home in America. Over the course of the transatlantic voyage, she reflects on her colorful life and looks forward to a quiet retirement.

While each of these women come from different walks of life, their paths cross while at sea in a series of chance encounters. The powerful impact these disparate lives have on one another make for a magnificent and unforgettable read.

Three different women board the ocean liner, Paris, for three different reasons. Each woman has a lesson to learn and an issue she must resolve.   In alternating chapters we learn each woman's story as as the novel moves from second class to steerage to first class over the five day journey from Paris to New York.

Crossing on the Paris isn't a fast paced story with action.  Instead, it is very much character driven and like the ocean liner in its title, the novel moves along steadily, but not quickly. Historically, this is a well researched novel.  It's sumptuous and rich in detail and historically, the book is fascinating.  The differences between steerage and first class always amaze me and Dana Gynther's descriptions are fantastic.

This is a story I enjoyed and yet I didn't love it.  There were a couple of scenes that made me uncomfortable, but I understand why they were there.  Some parts I skimmed and others I absorbed.  Constance, Julie and Vera all come together towards the end of the book and their story is one that will resonate with many women who understand the need and longing many of us have to connect with one another.  It's not the most happiest of books and the ending surprised me a bit, but it fit with the story.  I'd love to know more about Julie and how her story ends.

Thanks to Simon & Shuster for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Dana Gynther here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/12

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. Too bad the story wasn't what you expected. I try not to be too optimistic with each book I read and then wait for a surprise, hopefully a good one.

  2. The premise of this book sounds wonderful. I love your review and how you mention that some pasts you skimmed and others you absorbed. I can certainly relate to that.

  3. I felt the same as you about this book. I enjoyed reading it and thought it was well written, but I didn't love it.

  4. A very nice review. I do enjoy historic fiction, always a nice mixture. :) Thanks for stopping by my site as usual. I really like how your site has developed. Nice job.

  5. This sounds fascinating, thanks for your review!

  6. Interesting, you had me at Downton Abbey & Titanic. I think I need to put this on my "to-read" list.

  7. I'm not a huge fan of character driven stories - I'll have to think about this one.

  8. I enjoyed this book when I read it earlier this year. I will agree that there are certain scenes in this story that could make some readers uncomfortable. Looks like I liked it better than you did, but oh well, that's what reading is all about.


  9. I like the idea of this book. Will watch for it when it comes to Australia.