Three women, Vera Sinclair, Constance Stone, and Julie Vernet are all travelling on the SS Paris, a ship on its way to America. The ship leaves on its first voyage from Le Havre on June 15, 1921. The women are all unrelated to each other; their paths cross while on the ship. They each have their own story as to why they are on this journey.
Vera Sinclair is an elderly woman who after thirty years abroad is finally moving back to Manhattan. She brought both her maid Amandine, and her dog Bibi along with her. She is fortunate enough to travel in first class.
Constance Stone is a wife and mother of three children, travelling in second class. She was on a mission to find her younger sister, Faith, in France and bring her home in an attempt to make their mother better, but she did not succeed.
Julie Vernet is not travelling in any class, but is working in the servants’ quarters in her first job. She is a young French girl leaving home for the first time to create a future of her own.
The three women first cross paths on the day of the departure. Somehow they manage to be standing next to each other and have their picture taken, which later appears in the newspaper. Throughout the five day journey, they all make each other’s acquaintances and become closer than they thought. They all help one another in unexpected ways, using their own experiences as advice.
Vera is near the end of her life, and has some regrets. Constance is having some trouble in her home life, and Julie just does not know what she wants to do with her life. The SS Paris gives all of them unforgettable moments, and through their conversations they all seem to figure out what they are supposed to do. Constance and Julie both meet men at unpredictable times, making them learn what is truly important to them, as well as teaching them valuable lessons. All three women end the voyage with a little more knowledge than they had upon boarding.
Author Dana Gynther writes a novel that, while fiction, is also very realistic. Any of the events in the story are plausible and could happen in real life. She uses simple storylines, but they are filled with all the essential elements of a good book. She tells the story of three very different women who when placed together in tight quarters realize they have more in common than they thought.
Throughout the five days, the characters slowly uncover more about themselves, what they have been through, and what they hope to accomplish. I liked reading this book because it had the viewpoints of three different generations. I got a glimpse at what life is like at each stage of a woman’s life; all of their lives are similar to what people in the real world go through. The stories were very believable, which added to the genuineness of the book.
There are ups and downs, funny parts and parts that are not so easy to visualize. While this novel is set in the early 1920s, most of the storylines can be transcribed to today. I have heard stories from friends who have travelled on vacation on a cruise or to a resort, where they met people who ended up becoming some of their really good friends. Gynther does a magnificent job of writing a story that is extremely relatable to her readers’ lives.
“Entrancing… a graceful tale, written with wry humor, of three women separated by class, age, and temperament…. Richly and sensually drawn.” ~ Roberta Rich