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.
Janice is a favorite of mine so it should come as no shock to anyone that I’m reviewing one of her books today and another tomorrow [or that I’m absolutely itching to get my hands on her new contemp, Picture Perfect, coming /cry/ February 1! So long to wait!].
I’m a bit conflicted about this book. Though a wonderful read, part of me was hoping for more of a Titanic-the-movie type book. More on the Titanic rather than as much off before the sailing. I understand why – groundwork needed to be set to explain why Tessa was on board and Jacquie wasn’t. And to give the background for Nathan, his mother and his mother’s friend – but I wished for more both on the ship and afterward.
Something Janice managed to do was a bit different than most Titanic novels. Mostly she followed those who survived. This won’t come as a great shock to those who read it as the people she follows – and we become well-acquainted with – are the hero, the heroine and the lady’s maid to the heroine. That’s not to say all of the characters survive [or don’t] but that we don’t spend time with other characters. They’re met and become ‘real people’, but mostly we’re with fictional characters or lesser known real people. The Astors are mentioned as are the Strausses etc, but we don’t get to know them.
I would also have liked more after the sinking. Because I *always* want to know more about what happened afterwards in a good book. I’m sure the hero/heroine go on to have their Happily Ever After but what form does that take. Children? What kind of husband/father is the hero and how does he help the heroine overcome her childhood trauma? What happens with Jacquie and the gardener? Not just in the few days after Titanic sinks but what is the long-term consequences? And I would have loved to see a bit more of what was going on in the gardener’s head.
All of that may make it sound like I didn’t enjoy it but that’s most assuredly not the case. It’s a case when I wish the book was twice as long [though I’m sure Janice is glad it wasn’t ;)] because I want more!
Overall rating: 8.25 out of 10