I think that my first comments about this book should be a warning – do not read this book thinking it will be like Sarah's Key
. The two books are written in an entirely different manner from each other and just because you liked one doesn’t mean you will like the other – sort of my situation. The only similarity is their ability to draw the emotions of the reader.
This book is essentially written as a very long letter from the main character, Rose, to her deceased husband in the lead up to their home ultimately being on the destruction list during France’s eminent domain struggle. I would say that this is more of a character study of Rose in particular and is full of emotions and self-revelations. There is not a lot of action occurring in the novel, even when she flashes back to earlier events – the emphasis is put on Rose and her emotions. With that being said, I couldn’t stand Rose. The choices that she makes throughout her life would not be those I would make and it made it very hard for me to respect her. Her whiney-ness grated at my nerves.
The overarching historical thread in this narrative is the fight over eminent domain in the 1860’s. Some of the characters support the revitalization effort of Paris and then there are those that done, such as Rose. It was an interesting aspect of French history that I was not aware of previously.
Overall, this story was just alright for me. The descriptions of the people and settings were vivid and the writing style was beautiful. I think my issue was with the characters – that I couldn’t identify with them that turned me off a little bit.
The audio presentation was well done. I appreciated the narrator’s French accent and pronunciation of all of the places within Paris. She also had a great pace to her speaking.This book was received for review from the publisher - I was not compensated for my opinions and the above is my honest review.