CROSSING ON THE PARIS by Dana Gynther has a great cover. Some covers just make you want to pick a book up and devour it. This is one of them.
The year is 1921. Word War 1 is just behind us. The world is opening up and people are lightening up. A fabulous new cruise ship is about to set sail from Le Havre, France. Her name is SS Paris. And she’s a beauty.
Three women, of different generations and class, are about to embark on a trip that will impact each of them, monumentally.
Vera Sinclair comes from a background of wealth and high society. She is of an advanced age and in dreadful health. Vera’s decided, reluctantly, to return to Manhattan, after living in Paris for over thirty years. Years she cherishes. Vera is obviously settled into first class.
Constance Stone is a married mother of young girls, traveling alone, returning home to New York, after failing to bring her wayward sister home. Constance is ensconced in second class.
Then there is Julie Vernot, a French young woman, embarking on her first job, slaving away in the bowels of the ship; vulnerable.
Most people are fascinated with life aboard ship, especially back in the days of the super-liners. Travelers sailed with trunks full of formal wear and brought all their jewels along. They often had maids and pets with them. The dining rooms were decked out lavishly with the finest china and glassware; breakage be damned. CROSSING ON THE PARIS will take you on this journey, and, give you a thoughtful and emotional ride. Filled with characters you can relate to, this story will warm your heart. And make you think.
Vera has her maid and her elderly dog traveling with her. She’s already thinking she’s made a disastrous decision. She’s missing her best friend, Charles, and the ship hasn’t even left the dock. But, Vera is not long for this world. And Charles does not “do” sickness. Vera attacks stacks of journals she’s penned over her lifetime. Each one seems to undo her even more.
Constance is enjoying the time away from her stodgy husband. She does miss her girls. But she is not sure if she has made the right choice in a husband. She has become restless and is vulnerable to the ship’s very attentive doctor. As the passage gets midway, she begins to seriously consider leaving her husband. Will she?
Julie descends into steerage to begin her new job. The workers are poured into dormitory style cabins and rarely have the opportunity to see the light of day. The matron in charge is downright mean, and some of the co-workers are even meaner. It doesn’t help that Julie has a birthmark on her face that is quite noticeable. And she is embarrassed by it. So, when a young man working in the engine room, comes on to her, she is thrilled that for the first time a man is interested in her. Watch our what you wish for.
Not only do we get to peek into the rich life onboard this magnificent ship, but we also get the behind the scenes tour that is not often offered. I loved experiencing the meals at the captain’s table, but I also enjoyed seeing what goes on in the kitchen as the chefs prepare the sumptuous meals.
These three women from such very different backgrounds, come together in a unique and thought-provoking way. They seem to bump into each other from the first day. But it’s not until almost the end of the story that they truly come together.
There are plenty of books about women. But this one is special in more ways than one. Women can and do help each other out. And it’s rewarding to see the results here.
My book came as a galley from Gallery Books; a division of Simon&Schuster Inc. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read this book early. It’s a winner.