disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review
I don’t know about you, but stories based around the Titanic have always intrigued me. The Titanic Sisters by Patricia Falvey was published through Corvus on 7th November and tells the story of fictional sisters who boarded that fateful vessel in April 1912.
Nora and Delia Sweeney have grown up in Kilcross a rural village in Donegal, Ireland. Although sisters, they’ve had very different experiences of family life. Nora is favoured by her mother and pampered at every turn whilst Delia, the bookworm of the family is totally shunned by her mother. Delia seeks solace with her father, a man of few words, but someone who loves the outdoors as much as she does. The girls had once been close, but over the years their mother has dug a wedge between them which seems irreparable.
When a letter from America arrives at their farmhouse it offers both girls a chance to escape their rural community and to have a better life on the other side of the Atlantic. Their mother decides that Nora will be given the opportunity to work as a governess for a wealthy family, even though her younger sister would be much more suited to the role. She tells her to do all she can to persuade her new, rich widower employer to marry her. There’s money in with the letter to pay for a first-class ticket aboard the Titanic for one of the girls.
Delia is bitterly disappointed that her mean spirited sister will get the opportunity for a new life, whilst she is left at home to skivvy for her mother, with no prospects to improve her position. But her father has different ideas, he can see how much his daughter wants to break free of the village and so he arranges a position for her as a maid, and instead of Nora having first-class passage to New York, the girls will share a cabin in steerage and travel to America together.
Nora resents having to travel with her sister, and once in steerage does her best to get away from Delia at the first opportunity, but when disaster strikes it could be too late for her to realise just how much her sister means to her.
Delia survives the sinking of the Titanic, whilst it’s believed that Nora has drowned. As Delia arrives in New York after her rescue, she sees both her future employer and her sister’s and a misunderstanding soon sees her taking the governess’s role instead of her own. From there we follow Delia as she forms a strong bond with her charge and also starts to fall for her employer. Meanwhile, Nora is alive but has lost her memory and has been taken in by rich Mrs Shaw.
I don’t want to ruin the rest of the plot from The Titanic Sisters, but the story builds well, with lots of twists and turns. We watch the two sisters develop and their characters change thanks to their experiences since the sinking of the Titanic. Will their paths cross again, and will they be able to forget their differences and make a new life together in America?
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