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The Knowledge of Water (1996)

by Sarah Smith

Series: Reisden (2)

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233488,951 (3.53)11
During the devastating floods of 1910, Perdita Halley, a young woman studying music in Paris, finds herself falling passionately in love with Baron Alexander von Reisden, and together they flee a madman with dual personalities and confront the theft of the Mona Lisa.
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Synopsis: Perdita is nearly blind but is a piano virtuoso. She's in love with Alexander, a man much older than herself, but not enough to give up her music. Alexander loves Perdita but feels that he may physically hurt her since he was abused as a child. His cousin, Dotty, doesn't like any of this. A woman is murdered and Alexander is suspected briefly, but turns his talent for diagnosing people with mental illness into helping the police find the murderer. There is a question of whether some paintings have been forged or not and Perdita's guardian/detective tries to help solve this mystery. These stories are layered over Paris in the rain and the destructive flooding of the Seine River.
Review: While this is a technically well written book, at the end of the 10th chapter I was ready to put it down and read something else. However, the plot picked up a bit. The real purpose of this book is to examine the plight of talented women in the late 1800s - early 1900s. The ending is less than satisfactory, leaving me wondering why I finished the rest of the 99 chapters. ( )
  DrLed | Oct 28, 2015 |
In this book, Sarah Smith better catches the atmosphere of Paris and turn-of-the-century France than in the sequel to this books, A citizen of the country, which I happened to read first.

The book has basically the same problems as the previous one, viz. too many characters, unconvincing characters, too many things going on, and lacking an interesting story. Usually, detective and mystery have gripping stories, and historical fiction is also usually characterised by a strong plot, but this seems exactly what Smith's books lack. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 3, 2011 |
I have a habit of browsing through bookstores with no destination in mind. Often, I come across a book that for reasons unknown strikes a chord with me and I MUST own it. Even more often, these books turn into a disappointment. Fortunately, not the case with [The Knowledge of Water]. I barely set it down to eat and sleep. Wonderfully told. I felt as though I were in the conservatory and running down the flooded streets of Paris. And I couldn't wait for the end, but I also dreaded that it would be over. Thank you Sarah Smith! ( )
  tiddleyboom | Apr 11, 2010 |
The boy comes back from "The Vanished Child." Now he's living in Paris as a doctor pursuing the beautiful Perdita, who's a concert pianist. Also, a flood. ( )
  picardyrose | Jul 28, 2008 |
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Wikipedia in English (1)

During the devastating floods of 1910, Perdita Halley, a young woman studying music in Paris, finds herself falling passionately in love with Baron Alexander von Reisden, and together they flee a madman with dual personalities and confront the theft of the Mona Lisa.

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Book description
Set in Paris during the flood of 1910, the story involves two lovers who met three years earlier, but whose relationship was interrupted. Now, as Perdita Halley arrives in Paris to study the piano, her affair with Baron Alexander von Reisden takes on a new and dangerous life. At first they are surrounded by scandal, but soon a murderer is stalking them.
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Sarah Smith is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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