Description (from publisher):
‘The opulent age of empires is ending, but the great queens of the sea–the magnificent ocean liners–continue to reign supreme. Despite the tragedy of the Titanic, the race to build ever larger and more luxurious floating palaces continues, and passengers still flock to make the Atlantic crossing in style.
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.’
This story is beautiful and rich in detail. The reader follows three different women, in different places in their lives as they cross the Atlantic on board the SS Paris. Julie is just starting out in life, with her first job as a crew member on this ship. She has never left home and is eager to explore the world from her view in steerage class. Constance is on her way home from an attempt to get her sister to return home from Paris, France, where her family feels that she is living too freely. Constance is at the prime of her life, wondering about the choices she has made and whether she wants to live with them. She is in second-class. Finally, we come to Vera, who is elderly and is returning home from a thirty-year stay in Paris. She has a debilitating illness and reflects upon her life and the choices she has made from the luxury of first class.
I loved how this novel features the story of these three women and how the crossing is different for each class. In steerage we see how people are crowded together and have none of the luxury that is in first class or even in second class. In second class we get a glimpse of the nicer side of the boat, but we long for the glitter and shine of the first class cabins and dining areas. The detail that Gynther puts into this novel is engaging and weaves a wonderful picture of the exciting adventure of making a transatlantic ocean crossing.
The three main characters all have separate stories to tell and different lives to tell us about. I love how they are separated and then are all woven together with ease. I really enjoyed reading this novel as it had a story line that was easy to follow and to get sucked into. The characters were lovable and I wish we could have gotten a glimpse into their lives after the voyage, but Gynther decides to end the story there, which makes sense, but I would have liked to see where the characters ended up. A book to love if you enjoy the luxury of the Titanic without the shipwreck and if you enjoy an engaging story with likeable characters. I enjoyed this one immensely.
Overall Rating: 4.5
Title: Crossing on the Paris
Author: Dana Gynther
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.