BookBrowse Reviews The Seine by Elaine Sciolino

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The Seine

The River that Made Paris

by Elaine Sciolino

The Seine by Elaine Sciolino X
The Seine by Elaine Sciolino
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2019, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2020, 304 pages

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A vibrant tour of the Seine from a bestselling New York Times foreign correspondent based in France.

Of the 24 members who reviewed Elaine Sciolino's The Seine: The River that Made Paris for BookBrowse's First Impressions Program, 23 gave it a 4+ rating, for an overall average of 4.6 out of 5.

What it's about:
From the source of the Seine in Burgundy to its ultimate destination in the English Channel, Elaine Sciolino takes us on a glorious journey. We visit barge operators and people living on house boats, as well as vineyards, chateaus, and fascinating spots along the river in Paris (Joy E). The book covers topics such as the river's source, history, geographic features, influence on the arts, and iconic status as a symbol of Paris (Mary Jane D). There are stories of wineries, fishing, barge life, songs, and movies (Colleen T); readers will discover lots of well-researched facts and interesting historical anecdotes about what has drawn so many people to Paris and made the River Seine world renowned (Barbara O).

Many praised the book as detailed and well researched:
Sciolino has written an exhaustive volume, viewing the Seine from virtually every angle (Mary A). This history is rich and bound to entice anyone to at least imagine seeing this river in their lifetime, if only in the many films in which the Seine plays a part (M K). The book is filled with fascinating facts related to the River Seine (Sandra L). It is so thorough that it is most rewarding to take it in by small mouthfuls, so as to prolong the enjoyment and also to fully digest the information (Katherine P). Sciolono has stitched the past and present together into an easy-to-read story; the delights keep coming as she digs deeper, and it's a useful journey to take (Rory A). This is a marvelous history of a river and the people it has touched throughout the centuries (Christine B).

Readers enjoyed the stimulating style of writing:
Sciolino writes in a breezy and very engaging style, and she includes loads of interesting and little known details about the river (Barbara E). The beautiful way the book is written makes you feel that you are following the river (Veronica E). The writing style is easy to read and makes all the facts flow like a comprehensive story (Mary Jane D); the book has a journalistic style, but some portions actually read more like a novel than a travelogue (Susan N). Sciolino's love of every inch of the Seine, 777 kilometers (483 miles), shows in her lovely descriptions of the river (Lee M).

Overall, our readers loved The Seine:
As a Francophile, I enjoyed this book very much. It is very well written and filled with interesting facts and stories about the Seine (John A). It was a real treat to read this book! The author's passion for France and the Seine is very much apparent (Karen S). There are so many interesting things about the Seine that one would never think of. Even if one has never seen the river, the author brings it to life (Carolyn S). A good book prompts questions and explorations, and I can easily imagine a book group discussion on the many topics presented here (Mary G). I loved this fascinating exploration of the Seine (Carol C).

The book comes highly recommended, especially for travelers to France:
This wonderful book provides a rich history of the extraordinary places along this river (Deanna W). Every serious traveler to France should read this book before leaving home (Mary A); those traveling to France would find much to enhance their travels here (Chris W). I recommend this to romantics, travelers, history buffs and anyone else looking for a good book (Portia A).

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in October 2019, and has been updated for the November 2020 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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