Downton Abbey meets Titanic in this sweeping historical novel about three women of different generations and classes, whose lives intersect on a majestic ocean liner traveling from Paris to New York in the wake of World War I.
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.
Gynther skillfully interweaves the tales of three women sailing from France to America in 1921 on the grand ocean liner that gives this solid debut novel its name. Vera Sinclair, a wealthy, elderly woman dying of breast cancer, doubts her decision to leave Charles, with whom she's shared a long companionship based in "mutual, rich and true" love, move back to Manhattan for her final days. Constance Stone, a "quiet, responsible" mother of three, is returning to a passionless marriage after failing to bring her rebellious sister home from Paris. And Julie Vernet, beginning her first job in the steerage dining room, hopes to escape the haunting memories of the war that killed her four brothers. In their five days at sea, these women encounter people who force them to contemplate their choices and identity. In Gynther's capable hands, the Paris comes alive in historic detail. Each of these women has a distinct and interesting voice, and the bonds they form with one another feel strong and meaningful. Gynther switches smoothly between their points of view, weaving a wholly satisfying, nostalgic journey from beginning to end. Bon voyage.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Well written but boring
This book is well written, in my opinion. I liked how she described the settings and the characters. I wanted to love it, I felt like I was there. All 3 women were boring to me. I just didn't care.
So disappointed in this book. I threw in the towel and gave up about halfway through. Completely boring characters and subjects. This one could have and should have been so much better.