It has been a while since I visited this beautiful metropolis, I think it might be 7 years already but who's counting, right?
It’s a beautiful city, filled with wonders and a lot of bookshops where I can browse for days on end. I still have books on my bookshelf waiting to be read, that I bought in the few times I’ve been there. It’s good that I went by car, because it would’ve been impossible to carry.
Of course I had to read this novel, but Edward Rutherford. I’ve read Paris before, which was amazing. London was the obvious next choice.
I like his novels because of their journey through time.
My preferred era is the early 20th century, when ladies began to be a bit rebellious, but there was still enough chivalry between lovers for it to be romantic, without it turning towards explicit scenes, as is now the common currency.
London, starts out a bit earlier than that, even before any civilization was yet to be settled upon this island on the shore of Europe. We quickly go from there, towards the Roman Empire and the train ride never stops.
The horrors and persecutions during the medieval times.
The theatre and journeys to the far end of the world filled with discoveries during the reign of Elizabeth, the virgin-queen.
The massacre of the black Plague.
The revolts of the common man against injustice.
The intrigue of the upper class to reestablish its stronghold.
The fate of the workers, the upper class, woman, all told from the beginning until the very end in the late nineties. 1990’s to be exact.
I found it a very interesting read, especially because instead of having to digest that historic facts in a meagre way, Rutherford made it possible by using fictitious characters to really savor the events taking place. I’ve learned so much about this city and its role in past and present events that I again awed by the wonder of having walked the streets. It might not be a city as romantic as Paris, but the quiet and distinguished atmosphere that you can find there, feels more like home than any other city I’ve been to.
The only thing that I’ve had difficulty with was the sudden time lapses. With each new chapter, a new era began, which made it difficult to stay engaged. It meant learning every subtle thing about its characters from the beginning. There intents, intrigues, emotions were all new again, albeit they bore the same names as in the previous chapters. It made it harder to stay captured in the moment.
Paris, for example, was far more capable of holding my attention. The timeline wasn’t rigid and instead of dividing era’s into chapters, they all kind of blended into each other, which made for a very entertaining view on its history. One that made me want to read his other works as well. Even though London wasn’t bad at all, because each chapter could hold my attention, the added difficulty of having to merge back into the story again and again, might have held me against trying any of his works on a short notice.
With Paris being finished in 2013 and London in 1997, he might have learned a trick or two in that time. As for the future, I already have New York on my bookshelf, as a gift for my birthday so I’m sure to revisit his novels once again.