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London: The Novel
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on January 14, 2014
This novel had all the right ingredients to be my next favorite: English history, generational families, over 1,000 pages, and enough complexity to require a few pages of maps/diagrams at the beginning. Unfortunately, in the end I ended up feeling sort of underwhelmed by it. Maybe it is the fact that in order to fit 2,000 years worth of history into one book (even one of this size) you end up like you're just skimming across the top and missing any depth. I think the larger problem, for me at least, was that Rutherfurd includes such an enormous cast of characters that as soon as he starts getting into detail on any certain one and I was just feeling a connection, it is time to move on. Sometimes this shift is one of several generations leaving you with questions about what happened to those characters you had just started caring about and craving more character development. His writing style is somewhat confusing because there are several sections in each chapter from different characters' points of view and sometimes you have to read for a minute before you realize who he is talking about, but I didn't feel that was a huge detriment. The historical details that he does share are interesting and I didn't notice any glaring errors, but I feel like this novel read more like a series of short stories than the epic novel that I was expecting. That being said, I do have New York and Sarum on my shelf that I still intend to try out.
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on January 8, 2014
If you are looking for a long book to entertain you during inclement weather, and you are a fan of James Michener. This is the book for you.
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on January 7, 2014
Rutherfurd presents a grand sweeping historical novel of London, ingeniously following the same genetic bloodlines across the ages. However, he works in some egregious errors of fact, that left me questioning all the rest of the history he blends in. The style seems to be very much that of a much better writer of historical fiction - James A Michener. Most of the plotlines are well thought out and some characters are quite interesting; but same tail off into irrelevancy (I wished some characters off-stage!). Workmanlike prose but not particularly engaging.
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on January 1, 2014
good intro into history for those who don't like reading text books, had everything in a book mystery, suspense etc
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on December 31, 2013
History is interesting but hard to tell what is 'invention' and what is probable fact. The storylines are a bit 'mushy' for me.
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on December 17, 2013
If I had read London before Paris, I might not have read Paris. Even though there is some really interesting facts about the history of England he weaves his story around a few families who evolve in wealth and stature over the years. I was astounded to learn that large tracts of East Anglia had been controlled by the Danes. That the pound sterling originated in the 12th Century and still is British currency is impressive.
However, I enjoy being fed worthwhile research in a novel.
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on December 8, 2013
Ponderous and slow-moving. Read this while in London so it was interesting and insightful. If you plan to travel to London, it's definitely worth reading. If not-be prepared for a long slog through characters and plot.
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on December 7, 2013
Lost myself in this novel! It is long and sometime you end to concentrate hard on the story as it goes into great detail. Sometimes I got lost down a bunny hole but persevere -it's a book that transfers you to the historical times: you can see feel and smell the surroundings as if you've stepped into the pages of the book. I've recommended this to many friends who are fans of historical novels.
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on December 3, 2013
A wonderful novel which sticks very closely to the history of England from B C to the present. Highly recommended
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on November 16, 2013
For anyone interested in visiting London this is a great way to understand its soul and add to your travels
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