Book: Crossing on the Paris
Author: Dana Gynther, this is her first novel.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewers: Consultant Alila, student Selina, lawyer Abby R. and stay-at-home-moms A Military Mommy and Megan V. Want to know more about our readers? Just click their names to see their bios and get links to their reviews.
Publisher Summary: In 1921,the SS Paris leaves Le Havre on her maiden voyage. Aboard, passengers dine in glittering grandeur on French cuisine, served by hundreds of unnoticed servants and chefs. Below the waterline, the modern oil-fired engines throb day and night. And for three women, this voyage will profoundly change their lives.
Traveling first class, elderly Vera Sinclair is reluctantly moving back to Manhattan after thirty wonderful years abroad. In cozy second class, reveling in her brief freedom from family life, Constance Stone is returning after a failed mission to bring her errant sister home from France. And in the stifling servants’ quarters, young Le Havre native Julie Vernet is testing her wings in her first job as she sets out to forge her own future. For all three, in different ways, this transatlantic voyage will be a life-changing journey of the heart.
I love historical fiction so I thought this period piece about three women from different walks of life crossing the Atlantic in 1921 would be just up my alley. And, in many ways, it was. The descriptions were vivid and the characters were interesting, each with a fully drawn backstory illuminating her particular reasons for making the trip.
But in the middle of the book, the story got bogged down in too much description and introspection, with not enough action to keep the momentum of my interest going. The events that brought these three women together repeatedly began to feel a bit contrived and the subsequent reaction of each a little too “on the nose”.
Nevertheless, it you like stories about women who live in a different time period, I would recommend the book. You will come away with greater insight into how the thinking and actions of women are somehow the same across history while still naturally arising from the specific constraints of the world they live in.
At first I was a little nervous about reading a multi-perspective book but Crossing on the Paris was really easy to follow. The transition between characters was smooth and I didn’t forget about one character while I was reading the other. I really felt like the characters came out of the page, they seemed like such real people. My only issue with the book is that it sometimes gets a little slow. I would warn readers, it’s not totally light reading. There are some things that might make a couple readers uncomfortable, I’m not really sure if I can say without spoiling it, just be prepared.
Abby R. Bio
As a huge fan of Downton Abbey and Titanic, I was really looking forward to reading Crossing on the Paris. Unfortunately, for me, I think the book worked better in theory than in execution. Dana Gynther created three complex, intriguing characters and did an awesome job setting the scene for their voyage, but the characters’ meetings on the ship always felt too contrived and predictable. As a result, I found myself preoccupied with Gynther’s creation of coincidences for her characters instead of allowing myself to get lost in her writing and the characters’ stories. My favorite parts of the book by far were when Gynther focused on each woman’s own experiences on the ship — I think I may have enjoyed this more as a collection of three individual stories rather than the forced combination approach.
A Military Mommy Bio
Crossing the ocean on a huge ocean liner seems romantic. The dancing, the glitter, wining and dining; however, it’s rare that the reality of such a crossing enters our mind. Crossing on the Paris offers us a glimpse into the lives across all classes.
Through the novel, it is easy to gain insight into the personal lives of the three female protagonists. Despite the differences in social class, the women are able to develop a type of friendship and support system. I really enjoyed the novel and couldn’t put it down.
Megan V. Bio
I was excited to read Crossing On The Paris by Dana Gynther, a historical novel about the passage from Paris to New York as seen through the eyes of three women in different social classes. I found the three different plot lines to be stale and predictable. It seemed as though the author filled the story with unnecessary details in order to make the story long enough. While it was an easy read, I never found myself captivated by it.
I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy read and foreseeable love stories.
Thanks to Gallery Books for providing us with advance copies of Crossing on the Paris for review. You can find them on Twitter and on Facebook. Author Dana Gynther can be found on Facebook and on her website.