April 10, 2012
100 years has passed since the dramatic demise of the Titanic and many fascinating features are appearing in the news. There are an extraordinary number of non-fiction narratives on the shelves about the ship, the tragedy, the victims, and survivors and even a cookbook re-creating the meals served on board. Two new releases in the Fiction department look very appealing to me. Whether Titanic-inspired or not (they are) these strike me as simply great stories.
Kate Alcott (a pseudonym) is a journalist who had always been intrigued by the Titanic disaster and more specifically, by the lives of its survivors. With her professional eye for detail and story, she found a particularly colourful character during her research around whom she deftly projected an imagined tale. The Dressmaker is the result. Much of the action in this novel stems from the investigative hearings which took place following the sinking. Romance and moral angst appear, of course, to keep us riveted!
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan also fictionally echoes the Titanic but more vaguely; the featured ill-fated vessel is named the Empress Alexandra. But, as with The Dressmaker, this novel’s story flourishes in the ethical dilemmas and emotions rising from post-sinking investigations and trial. Author Charlotte Rogan, who practised writing as a surreptitious diversion while raising triplets (!), was inspired by reading old legal texts and by time spent sailing as a youngster when she learned to appreciate on-board hierarchy and decision-making protocols. Both experiences influence the thrilling study of truth and integrity as survivors recount and defend behaviours that took place within The Lifeboat. The strategizing and posturing sounds a bit like a heated episode of TVs “Survivor”! I am certain this remarkably well-reviewed book will be a bestseller.
And just because I know I piqued your interest above … click to be taken to amazon’s peek inside. It’s a gorgeous book!