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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

Paris: The Novel - Edward Rutherfurd

An exciting, complex adventure through French history, Paris kept me captivated for over 800 pages - or rather what ended up being an entire month's worth of audiobook listening time. This may have been 5 stars if I had read it rather than listening. Finding the family tree on Edward Rutherfurd's website helped me keep track of the centuries worth of people and their connections, but also gave me some spoilers.


The noble family of the De Cygnes, the Le Sourds who descend from criminals, the bourgeois Renards and Blanchards, Jewish Jacobs, and working class Gascons all come together to form an intricate family history to compliment the ongoing drama of Parisian history.


From the burning of the Templars to the liberation of Paris and the end of World War II, Rutherfurd creates characters that pull the reader into their era. Interesting historical tidbits are continuously weaved into the story - definitely a big plus to me. I remember being disappointed when the author's London felt like a series of short stories, but Paris does not feel that way. It was still jarring to be captivated by a storyline or person only to have the novel shift to events a century earlier or later, but the ties of betrayal, revenge, and a romance or two tied everything together.


I could feel that one family had a right to their negative feelings toward another, but then another secret from the past would be revealed and change my thinking. Family feuds built on half-truths or outright lies, denials of feelings because of differences in class, and abandonment due to strict adherence to societal expectations all cause ripples through time and affect much more than the current generation.


Reading a book that covers several centuries, I knew that I would read about the death of characters, yet I was still touched by each one and was sad to see them go.


I have a few more Rutherfurd books on my shelf and I feel more inclined to move them up the TBR after listening to this one.