I managed to get through book 1 of GB Stern’s Matriarch Chronicles (The Matriarch, 1925), but the frenzied dizzy prose packed with detours exploring the densely packed family tree of the Rakonitz family was a tad unpleasant to bear. We follow the decline of the family when a diamond or ruby mine fails to pan out, causing financial ruin and the deaths of a few of the head uncles and one of the fathers. Anastasia is the uber-matriarch, not coming to terms with the lack of funds and jetting off to Paris and parts beyond (the main branch lives in London), leaving her granddaughter Toni trapped in a hotel in Paris without any money. Toni emerges as the next likely matriarch, but I can’t stick around for the grand reveal. She’s in love with her first cousin, Daniel, who actually isn’t related to her b/c her aunt adopted the bastard child of her cheating husband and called it her own. Unfortunately, although Danny is enamored with Toni, he spots glimmers of the matriarch in her and realizes that if they get together he will never be free of this cursed family.