Rarely do I get so excited about a book. Rarely do I see all of my wildest expectations come true. I really, really loved Paris. And I’m just as excited to read every single other book by Edward Rutherfurd.
Paris is built on a simple concept first established by author James Michener. The author creates several families and then tells their stories, and the stories of their ancestors and descendants over a certain period of time. Intertwined in the narrative are major historical events and people that make the reader feel like they’ve actually experienced all of this firsthand.
From the minute I opened Paris on a plane back to New York from San Francisco earlier this month, I was hooked. Despite the dozens of characters, often with the same names, and the jumps between centuries (the first hundred or so pages go from the late 1800s to the early 1300s), this book is so very easy to read. It’s so easy to get lost in, to get wrapped up in the narrative, because Rutherfurd is one thing: a master storyteller.
Each anecdote, if you can call them that, features such lively and well-developed characters. I couldn’t believe how much I got wrapped up in one 80-page story and how much I grew devoted to the characters. I loved each “flashback” so much that I was so sad to see that episode end, but with each chapter, my attention was back. I never, ever felt bored reading this book and at almost 800 pages, I can’t even express how rare that is.
I explored the building of the Eiffel Tower and I walked around Monet’s lily pond, and I felt like I had lived through the horror of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. I’m on the point of gushing here, folks.
People who love stories, read this book. People who love character development, read this book. People who love history, definitely read this book. It descends into gimmicky often, but you become so enthralled that you don’t even care. Read this book if you’re planning a trip to Paris or if you’ve always wanted to. It’ll make you get to know the City of Light on an intimate, personal level.