Review: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Last Saturday I spent a happy afternoon reading Dana Gynther’s new novel, CROSSING ON THE PARIS.
The novel follows three woman – a first-class passenger returning to New York after decades abroad, a second-class traveler going home to Massachusetts after an unsuccessful attempt to persuade her Bohemian sister to leave Paris and come home to help with their ill and aging mother, and a young French woman who has accepted a job on the Paris, a luxury liner starting her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.
The novel switches between the three characters’ points of view but never seems choppy or confused. In fact, Dana Gynther “hands off” the narrative at moments when the three women’s paths collide (generally unexpectedly) and weaves a flowing, cohesive story from these women and their experiences at sea.
CROSSING ON THE PARIS falls somewhere between historical fiction and women’s fiction. I’d call it the best of both – without the worst parts of either. The story moves quickly, the characters are engaging and often funny. Gynther’s supporting cast is well-developed, from the nasty supervisor who watches poor Julie Vernet with an eagle’s eye to the charismatic doctor whose unexpected affections make second-class passenger Constance Stone re-think her settled Massachusetts life. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and read it in a single afternoon.
The ending surprised me – in more ways than one – and I found it particularly nice that although the outcome was not the one I anticipated I enjoyed it even more than I would have enjoyed the expected one. In that, too, Gynther has done a fantastic job.
CROSSING ON THE PARIS gets a “Highly Recommended” mark from me – if you’re looking for a winter read or a gift for someone who likes either women’s fiction, historical fiction, or general fiction with a historical bent, this book should definitely be at the top of your list.