The backdrop of this touching story is a disaster that shook the world when it took place and can still unnerve people even after more than a hundred years. So yes, the book talks about the Titanic, its beauty, its splendour and then, of course, about its sinking. But then it goes beyond to dwell upon the lives of the survivors, which was why I picked up the book.
A tragedy as monumental as the sinking of a ship, especially one like the Titanic, can be very distressing. But every time people talk about it or refer to it, the focus is on those who lost their lives. But what about those who didn’t? What about those who managed to survive? What was life like for them after the tragedy? How did it affect them knowing that so many others didn’t survive, including their friends and family?
Gill Paul has tried to explore this facet which makes the plot very interesting. And what is more, the story lives up to the expectations of the plot. She has woven a touching story around the lives of those who survived and the toll it took on them. It dwells on the emotional stress and trauma the survivors go through and how they try to put the pieces of their lives together. Reg the steward, Annie the mother, Juliet, the unmarried, pregnant, English lady and Mr Grayling, the American businessman, are the four survivors that the book talks about.
As Gill Paul says, ’In this novel, I wanted to explore what it felt like to be on the Titanic and survive’.
Thus she has tried to bring together fact and fiction in this book. While the main characters and their experiences are essentially figments of her imagination, their onboard experiences are based on actual events. The story actually picks up after the tragedy when the author describes how the survivors struggle to get back to everyday life, some more than others. Gill describes the trials and tribulations of the survivors, their feelings of guilt, at times shame and at other times of joy and good fortune too.
The factual piece has been researched very well, and she gives information about the ship, its splendour and luxury in great detail.
All in all, a fascinating read, though I found the murder of Molly a bit unnecessary.
And the book ends with an epilogue which I find a very interesting way of wrapping up a story, tying up loose ends. It leaves the reader with a sense of closure.
A 5/5 rating.