An epistolary novel written from the point of view of Rose Bazelet, a 60 year old women, determined to oppose the modernization, or destruction, depending on your point of view, of old Paris. The Emperor and his Prefect have crafted a plan to tear down much of the city to make way for the broad boulevards and buildings that now define Paris. While many were in agreement with their plans, the longer it wore on, the larger and more vocal the opposition became. Rose is a fictious example of this minority living on one of those very real streets, the Rue Childert. She tells the story of her life through a series of letters written to her husband who died a number of years prior.
I love de Rosnay's descriptions of Paris, of the house, and life at this pivitol time in French history. I felt that telling the story through letters was well-chosen and enjoyed reading Rose's ramblings and reminences as she spoke to her husband. The love between the two was palpable, as was the connection between Rose and the young flower girl Alexandrine. Yet I never felt emotionally invested in Rose's story, despite how both likable and sympathetic a character she was. I think that if I had felt a stronger connection to her this book would have been clear four star material, instead of leading to my waffling back and forth for a long time before coming up with a rating. Ms. de Rosnay continues to intrigue me with her storylines and how she tells the story of little talked about French history. Though this book left me wanting in the end, I can definitely say that I will be recommending it to others.