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Dana Gynther’s “Crossing on the Paris” is a post-WWI historical novel set in 1921. The SS Paris, a French luxury liner, leaves Le Havre on her maiden transatlantic voyage. Three women board in France and keep crossing paths on the ship without realizing at first how much they have in common. Though they are of different generations, social classes and temperaments, the three manage to form a bond on the crossing.
Wealthy ex-patriot and first-class passenger Vera Sinclair, elderly and ill, is returning to Manhattan after living abroad for 30 years.
Second-class passenger Constance Stone, a dutiful daughter and wife, is returning to Massachusetts from Paris after failing to persuade her younger sister to return home. The voyage affords her unaccustomed freedom from family life. Her sister is living the Bohemian life, free to do whatever she pleases, and Constance wonders if she could ever be that carefree and happy.
Third is Julie Vernet, traveling in steerage (third class). She is a French girl leaving home for the first time, hoping for a new and better life. She has taken a job waiting tables aboard the ship and observes life below deck.
The SS Paris is the fourth character on the voyage that brings these women together.
In this tale of the five-day voyage, the author gives the reader a carefully researched look at life on a luxury liner that carries the very wealthy as well as the exploited poor. The book is at times slow-paced and the story line predictable, but in this debut novel the author writes convincingly about three women who are from different circumstances and at different points in their lives.