Declan and Siobhan knew that their journey on the Titanic would change their lives forever. They never could have expected that by boarding the Ship of Dreams they were taking a step onto what would soon become their Ship of Nightmares.
What’s it About?
The gossip had spread across Ireland. People talked of her speed, size, and how even God couldn’t sink her.
Titanic—the ship that could forever change their lives.
With Ireland on the brink of war, passengers Siobhan and her husband Declan board the luxury steamer headed to America. While her husband dreams of a better life in a new country, she dreams of a life on stage, singing for audiences young and old. Having read the stories from her husband during the three years he helped build the ship, Siobhan is excited to see all the lavishness carved into every inch from the bow to the stern. Unfortunately, their third-class tickets hinder their ability to explore the deepest secrets of the first-class areas.
Determined to experience all the ship has to offer, they steal clothes from the cargo hold and pose as members of the elite, vowing to talk to no one. Their devious plan goes awry, however, as they soon find themselves not only invited to dinners and parties, but they are making friends with the rich and famous interested in helping Siobhan’s dream come true. Can they run the con long enough to make it to New York? Or will their lies catch up with them? And will it matter when the ship is headed toward a fate no one thought possible?
Angela Christina Archer has once again transported us to another time and place, this time from a small rural village in Ireland, to the wooden decks of the illustrious Titanic, and ultimately to the bright lights of New York City. While it’s hard to read this book without immediately comparing it to the 1997 film, or the true events of history itself, I would say that something Ms. Archer has done exceedingly well is provide us with a glimpse beyond the first class cabins and passengers the film and history books often prefer to focus on, and instead lets us walk the hallways of third class. That’s not to say we aren’t also introduced to a few familiar faces from history, including the stalwart and lovable Molly Brown, to the loving Astors, the top-hat wearing Mr. Guggenheim, and even the white-bearded Captain Smith. Beyond these known names though, we get to know the passengers and stories for those who were relegated to remain in the bowels of the ship.
For our lead characters, and so many others who shared the lower decks with them, the Titanic was not merely a pleasure cruise transporting them from one place to another. She was their salvation from poverty and war, bringing them to a land of promise. We see the years of toil and struggle that went into being able to afford just one ticket, rather than simply winning it with a lucky hand of cards during a poker game a la Leonardo DiCaprio. We also witness the immense heartbreak that went into leaving one’s country and family behind. For so many, they knew that they would most likely never be able to afford a return ticket home for a nice “visit”. The process of taking those steps onto the infamous ship was, in essence, a death of their former life which had to be mourned before they could fully celebrate the new adventure upon which they were embarking. To see that so many inevitably left one death behind just to move closer to another more permanent death is a whole other kind of heartbreak unleashed upon us. This book is certainly an emotional journey from start to finish, but for fans of Titanic history I would say it’s worth picking up.
Series: The Wildflower Women Collection, book 4. I can’t recommend this series enough. Each book is a stand-alone, set in four very distinct periods of history. They are all connected in a way by the presence of a strong female-lead, trying to find a place in the world with the love of her life supporting her through all the obstacles they might face together as a couple. While it’s not necessary to read this series in order, I would say just keep in mind that the third and fourth novels are probably the most emotionally taxing of the bunch. You might want to build up to those!
Final Impressions: My biggest piece of advice when embarking upon this read is to plan it out when you can finish it all in one sitting. We all know the inevitable tragic fate that will befall this ship. However, we’re constantly held in a heightened level of suspense wondering what will happen to not only our beloved lead characters of Siobhan and Declan, but also the family and friends traveling along with them, as well as each and every character they happen to meet along the way. The iceberg is a constant shadow we know is lurking just beyond the horizon, and I have a feeling that if you put it down at any point you might find it hard to pick back up for fear of discovering which characters will survive or perish. In that sense, it’s actually a fairly quick read as I found myself picking up the pace with every page our married couple spends upon this ill-fated ship, desperate to find out if they’ll realize their American dream. I also spent about the last half of the book in tears, so again, aim for one sitting! My only complaint with this book came in the very very end, which felt too rushed. We almost have the opportunity to learn how some specific characters met their fate, but instead we just get a quick listed mention of who lived or died, even though we’re presented with a survivor who could have provided more of a first-hand account of what happened. Other than this rushed ending, it’s an interesting historical read of love and ambition.
Smut Level: We might see reference to an automobile kept in the cargo hold of the Titanic, but don’t expect any post-coital sweaty hand-print moments in this read. A few kisses here and there, with everything else a fade-to-black. This tale rightfully focuses more attention on the emotional connection between Siobhan and Declan, especially as the sad fate of the Titanic crumbles around them.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Long Valley Press. 264 Pages.