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An Elegant Solution, by Paul Robertson

Murder, mystery, and math? That’s the premise behind An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson which delves into the history of Leonhard Euler and the Bernoulli family in Basel, Switzerland.

This book was a complex and challenging read. It took me about eighty pages to really get into it, but once I had mastered the premise, I was hooked. Then later when I was looking up the real-life history on Wikipedia, I felt like I was reading about people I actually knew.

Robertson writes in a poetic, lyrical style. The back of the book says “History Suspense” but I wouldn’t describe it as genre. I found it to be more akin to a literary novel. For example, There’s a Faustian theme that I didn’t quite grasp until the end, that completely blew me away.

Part of what made An Elegant Solution so challenging is Robertson’s excellent use of world building. It’s almost like reading a fantasy book by Tolkien because Euler’s world was entirely different than our own. There were different customs, traditions, educational systems, and diction. After reading this book, I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on what life was like in 1700s Basel.

If you’re looking for a good beach novel, this isn’t it. But if you have the fortitude to handle James Michener, than you might really like Paul Robertson.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

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