My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Edward Rutherfurd has done it again. He has written a novel so interwoven with fact and so filled with real people and historic events, that he convinces us from the first words that his fictional characters are as real as the non-fiction ones he surrounds them with. Replete with historic detail, filled with little known facts, some of them far from trivia, such as the massive scale of the French troop mutiny in WW I, and the daring dismantling of the Eiffel Tower elevator system so that Hitler could not use it during his triumphant entry into Paris in WW II. In fact the whole series of sections detailing the Eiffel Tower and the Parisians’ reactions to it over the years is a delight. I had no idea the original plan had been to dismantle it after the Fair.
But —-- and this is a major but --- if you, as a reader, decide to tackle this 1000 page plus tome, be forewarned. It skips back and forth in time mercilessly. Without a score card, if you are like me, you will forever be forgetting just who begat whom and how the generations fit from one period to another. Because this book is NOT written in even remotely chronological order. It begins in 1875, then soon after, is in 1261. Then we are back in the 1800’s and then in the 1400’s and 1500’s. And so it goes. Right up to 1968.
Only after reading the whole book did I discover two pages at the very beginning, with the family trees of the six families who constitute the fictional characters through the ages. And on my very new Kindle, these family trees were totally illegible. The microscopic print size could not be enlarged as it can in any chapter, and the images are so faint as to be useless.
So my advice is, buy this one in paperback. That way you can flip back and forth and keep track of the players.
One question to the author. Would it have been so much to ask, Mr. Rutherfurd, that you begin the story at the beginning and tell it in chronological order? It would have taken much frustration out of the reading and would have lost nothing in the process. It’s a technique James Michener used magnificently in his Chesapeake a half a century ago. It works. And it certainly reduces reader frustration.
Still in all, a masterpiece.
View all my reviews
• Romantic Road ~ Takes you on a chase across Europe with our heroine who finds herself in a series of precarious situations. She encounters a handsome stranger, but is he helping her, or is he dangerous? This story has hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humour
• The Memory of Roses ~ The story of a secret and how it impacts two generations of the McQuaid family. It unfolds on the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu and is a tale complete with beautiful and passionate women, handsome and fiery men, and an intriguing mystery.
• Delighting In Your Company ~ Delighting In Your Company is a paranormal romance set on an exotic Caribbean island, featuring a handsome ghost and an adventurous heroine who travels back in time to solve a mystery!
"Delighting In Your Company is a unique paranormal romance that brings together island folklore, history, and mystery with an unlikely romance between the past and present that had me going through a torrent of emotions and made it impossible to put down." -- The Romance Reviews
• Sonata ~ Sayuri McAllister has just arrived home to Vancouver to find that a robbery has taken place at her family home, and it is being investigated by her old flame. She also has a new stepmother with a charming brother who is intent on bedding and wedding the rich and beautiful Sayuri. It’s a confusing and difficult time for Sayuri, especially when dangerous accidents happen to her father and herself – or are they accidents?
• Abigail's Christmas (short story) ~ An enchanting tale of love and romance, with a magical touch of fantasy.
"Abigail’s Christmas is a sweet and special story that honors both love and the holidays." -- Sizzling Hot Books