Monday, 15 October 2012

Book Review: Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson

About the Book: When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.

My Thoughts: I've always been fascinated by the Titanic, and would likely read almost any fiction book set on the magnificent ship.  We are also avid cruisers, so the setting of this novel definitely can't be beat.

As you can tell from the above book synopsis, the storyline is a bit of a stretch as far as believability goes.  It's not often that a rich, society girl falls in love with the gardener enough to be willing to leave her riches behind - though women blinded by love often imagine themselves capable of almost anything, so it's still in the realm of possibility.  But that Tessa, a girl who had never been off her family's poor pig farm, would be able to impersonate a high society lady with only 2 weeks training, is definitely a stretch.    That being said, the characters themselves were very well developed and I was able to see past the storyline difficulties and was still caught up in the relationships and how everything would all play out. The author's descriptions of the ship and characters onboard were fantastic and made it easy to envision the drama as it unfolded.

One thing I thought was very believable was Iris (Jacqueline's lady's maid) and her reaction to having to be subserviant to Tessa, who was from an even lower class than the maid herself.  

There are several spiritual themes dealt with in the book, including the abuse Tessa endures from her falsely religious father which naturally twists her view of God, deceit on the part of several characters, forgiveness and grace.

As in any book of fiction set on the Titanic, you know how the the Titanic will end up, but you don't know what will end up happening to the characters. There were also several relationships that had a bit of mystery or intrigue involved.  Both of these factors caused me to want to read on to discover how everything worked out - and I was not disappointed with the ending.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy of Queen of the Waves - a book in the American Tapestry Series.

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