My daughter gave me this books as a gift because she knows how much I like Paris. It is one of my favorite cities to visit. There is always something to discover. I was excited to begin reading this tale of several families and how their lives intertwined over a few centuries. Unfortunately, I found it confusing and difficult to follow. I’ve read many books that jump back and forth through time or from one character’s perspective to another’s and had no difficulty following the story line. But with this book the thread that connected them, I found difficult to follow and was constantly having to go back and reread sections.
In my opinion I think he uses the names of the main families as a clue to what their lives are ,what their family qualities will be and potentially what their futures will hold. Cygne in French means swan, Sourd means deaf, Gascon means boastful, Blanchard is a derivative of blanchir which means to whiten and Hadley, the american name in the story has no connection to french vocabulary. Here is an one example that leads me to believe the author used the names as clues. The Gascon brothers both have personalities that tend to be boastful which leads one to his demise and gives one the opportunity to change his life.
There are maps provided in the book that allow you to see how Paris changes over the centuries from the small, walled city on an isle in the river to the sprawling beauty we know now. But since the story jumped around so much, I found myself going back and forth constantly have to look at the maps for reference.
It wasn’t a bad book. For me I just found it long and tiresome. But if the history of Paris intrigues you and you want to see the progression of French families through several centuries, how their lives cross paths and are connected then you will enjoy this book.