Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes, Rebecca Stefoff (2019)
This nonfiction book is an adaptation for younger readers of Jill Jonnes' history of the Eiffel Tower. It's more than just the story of the Eiffel Tower; it places it in the context of the time and purpose for which it was built, the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. It's a great approach, but sometimes it felt like the book talked more about other things than it did about the Tower. The Eiffel Tower faced a lot of hurdles and opposition, yet the narrative kind of glosses over a lot and things happen very quickly. There were a few typos and the formatting was kind of odd at times - the main narrative would sometimes be interrupted by a page spread about another topic often not directly related to the Eiffel Tower or even the Fair, and instead of putting it at the end of a chapter, it would just appear when you turned a page, even if the previous page ended in the middle of a sentence, which I really don't like. It takes the reader out of the story in the most jarring way. I enjoyed all the pictures, although the blue tone of a lot of them blurred the images. 3 stars
The Last Dress From Paris by Jade Beer (2022)
A dual timeline historical fiction novel that takes place mostly in Paris. In the 1950s, Alice's husband is the British ambassador to France. Married life isn't quite what she imagined it would be, and when she meets Antoine, her heart is pulled in another direction. In the present day, Lucille's grandmother asks her to venture to France to retrieve a Dior gown from her youth, but the trip turns into something much more than Lucille bargained for. I really enjoyed this book! Paris is always a wonderful setting, and I was so drawn into Alice's story. I loved seeing the way she blossomed with Antoine and how taken he was with her. Her closetful of Dior dresses sounded so glamorous, and I found myself Googling images of the dresses. I wasn't as crazy about Lucille; she sounded a little innocent and clueless at times, but I liked her journey to find her grandmother's dress. That there was such history and such memories behind the items of clothing was really interesting. Of course, family secrets abound, but the story unfolds nicely, if not a little predictably. 4 stars
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