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on 26 November 2013
Really not one of his finest. In his early novels there was a straightforward progression of the chronology from the far distant past to some roughly contemporary point. By the time you'd read four or five the style was practically a cliche but it was an effective storytelling method. This one doesn't progress in that way, it opens in the late 19th century wanders around in that period for a while and then shoots back to medieval Paris and then back to the 19th c and repeat.....till the reader has lost the plot. Most of the focus is on the period from the 19th C onwards with a big chunk in WWII (which is the same Paris in WWII that any number of other authors have done much better. I wonder if the publishers forced him to add the other time line just to ensure that the St Bartholomew's Day massacre and the revolution were included...? I don't really understand why he has done this style change, Paris has a rich and fascinating history which would have ideally suited his original approach, which is narrative history with the characters being used to illuminate key events & periods. The characters are too thin & stereotypical to standalone; tart with the heart, aristo with attitude, hardworking artisan zzzz. The plots such as they are are equally thin and hackneyed. In its defence it rolls past the eyes as an undemanding read and the occasional interesting nugget of information just about kept me going through the 800 pages. Probably a good read whilst digesting a christmas dinner or whilst riding out a winter germ but otherwise I'd read his earlier stuff; Sarum, London, The Forest and leave this well alone.
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on 16 April 2017
I have previously read New York and London, both of which had a thoroghly enjoyable thread running through it with many wonderful sideshoot stories to keep you well entertained. I loved them.
So, I thought I would give Paris a go.....For starters I was a little concerned that the story kept jumping back and foward from the 15/1600s to the 1800s working it's way up to the 1950s or so. So many characters distributed over the centuries obviously generation linked but as you were time hoppjng it was difficult to remember who was who..
As with his other works some facinating historic items were included with wonderful detail. But along with all this toooooo much deep historical comment and far too much family history and socio-political indepth narative. Very tedious in places but not skipable.
Sorry Edward not one of your best but I did continue to the end.!!
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on 23 March 2017
All the ingredients that make his other books compelling reads are present here but he's managed to mess things up by focusing so much of the book on one historical period - the late 19th / early 20th century. To break up this story he decided to have a non-linear timeline so we are bounced around different periods in history. It doesn't work.

The "modern" part of the story is generally rather dull with the exception of the story of the building of the Eiffel Tower. The real delights in the book are all in the older historical sections for example the account of the The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre is wonderful.
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on 15 March 2017
I REALLY tried to persist with reading this book and I was enjoying it up to a certain point........... but spread over 600 or so years is just too much, too many words and too much detail I was actually reading this in the run up to a trip to Paris. I started it in January and now it's March. I got about half way but couldn't bear to read any more. I just got sick of nothing much happening after 400-odd pages. Sorry. I couldn't do it any more! My plan was to beat the 23 books I read last year by trying to read 35 this year. I'd better start downloading some short stories to catch up!
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on 27 April 2017
My one complaint is that the story jumps about. One chapter you are in the present day. In the next you are in the fifteenth century.

However, if you enjoy history, I think you will find this an excellent book. I learnt a lot about the building of the Eiffel Tower. .
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on 7 May 2017
I lived in France for 12 years in both the Lot and Brittany. One Christmas my husband spent several days there so a few of the places Mr Rutherford mentioned are known to me. I believe we had six or seven visits, including celebrating my daughter's 18th birthday there as well. In fact it is high time I returned. But all that aside, I was delighted to have found that of all people to write about Paris that it was Mr Rutherford! I have read all his books and thoroughly enjoyed every one. He and he alone has the power in his pen to bring alive a place and all the people he writes about. I look forward to his next book!
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on 21 March 2017
Really LOVE this author but this one was not one of his finest... It missed the progression of the time showing the interesting chronological modification, which I so much appreciated from his previous books. Good story telling, but not so engaging and unfortunately I had to push myself to carry on reading until the end...I definitely lost the plot. I don't really understand why he has done this style change, as his previous style was much better. I guess he just wanted to have a change, but in my opinion it did not work. If you never read his work, start with Sarum, London and New York. Those earlier books were definitely great to read but Paris was not.
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on 4 April 2017
Another grand historical novel from this author who interweaves families and history so that you care about what is happening to each and every one, whilst absorbing history at the same time. written with pace and vigour.
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on 9 June 2017
Delightful! Goes through the history of Paris, without being tiring. I love the way Rutherford writes that just transports you to the historical facts. You are part of the story.Excellent book.
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on 27 August 2017
As a fan for many years I enjoyed this novel. Rutherford's vision continues to amaze me.
Highly recommended. I strongly advise others to read this and his other books.
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