It is hard for me to write about all of the reasons that this was a great book without giving away spoilers. I was in the library picking up only a couple of things, when I saw it on a shelf and made the all-too-common mistake of stopping to look at it. As usual, I left with more than I went for. I then did what I almost never do, when after reading the introduction I promptly skipped to the end. I had to know if the book was going to break my heart.I won't tell you how it ends, but I read the entire thing even knowing the ending already, so that says something.
From the front cover of the book, I knew it was going to be a good story, and like many others, the true stories are often the best. "The great love affair of the Enlightenment, featuring the scientist Emilie du Chatelet, the poet Voltaire, sword fights, book burnings, assorted kings, seditious verse, and the birth of the modern world." How does that not sound like fun?
Engagingly-written, the pace is very quick, and I found myself wondering if the lives of the characters were so truly stuffed with interesting events, or if the periods of boredom merely went unmentioned. It delivered not only a fascinating story, but was not overly-colored by the opinions of the author, who let the words of the protagonists speak for themselves in many instances. It is a love story, a history of thought, and even the heavy physics and calculus are explained in an approachable way.
I highly recommend this book to any of my readers who have not already enjoyed it. I myself plan to add it to my collection very soon. I also received several books for Christmas, so expect more reviews soon!