Book Review: CROSSING ON THE PARIS by Dana Gynther

Publisher: Gallery Books
Released: November 13, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher

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 year is 1921. Three women set out on the impressive Paris ocean liner on a journey from Paris to New York. Julie Vernet is a young French woman from a working class family who has just gotten her first job as a crew worker on the ship. Escaping her small town and the memory of war, she longs for adventure on the high seas…

Constance Stone is a young American wife and mother who has traveled to Paris to rescue her bohemian sister, Faith, who steadfastly refuses to return to America and settle down. Constance returns home to New York, having failed at the duty her father asked of her…

Vera Sinclair, a rich, ex-patriate American is leaving France after thirty-one years to live out her remaining time home in America. Over the course of the transatlantic voyage, she reflects on her colorful life and looks forward to a quiet retirement. While each of these women come from different walks of life, their paths cross while at sea in a series of chance encounters. The powerful impact these disparate lives have on one another make for a magnificent and unforgettable read.


In June of 1921, the Paris is making its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. The paths of three very different women will intersect on the ship, each one using the journey to reflect on her life.

Vera Sinclair is a wealthy, first class passenger on her way back to New York after decades of living in France. Vera’s life was full of glamour and adventure, but now she’s very sick and wants to return home. As she spends the journey reading over her journals, she begins to question some of her past choices.

Constance Stone was sent to Paris at her father’s request to bring home her free-spirited sister. After failing in her mission, she heads back to America as a second class passenger on the Paris. Constance has always been the dutiful daughter and wife, the devoted mother to her own three children, but at what cost? Seeing her sister’s freedom in France makes Constance doubt her own life and happiness, or lack thereof.

Julie Vernet is a young, naive woman leaving her home in Le Havre for the first time. World War I has taken a great toll on her family, and she sees her new job as a steerage class waitress on the Paris as her escape. For Julie, life aboard ship is harsh, and her experiences make her desire to improve her circumstances even stronger.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked how the book’s chapters were divided into the five days of the journey, and each character told her story about that day. I also liked how the author weaved in bits and pieces of the women’s histories. This was not a fast paced book. It was a character-driven story, and the characters were well-drawn and easy to connect with.

I also loved the vivid descriptions of life aboard the Paris on its first transatlantic voyage, from the romance and glamour of the upper decks to the struggles of those “below the waterline.” The author captured the essence of the 1920s beautifully.

CROSSING ON THE PARIS is a bittersweet tale fans of women’s and historical fiction might enjoy.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.