Genre

General Fiction / Historical Fiction / Young Adult

Audience

Highschool & Up

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2020

Themes

Trust, Family, Relationships, Pride, Psychology, Memory, Titanic, England, Oxford

 

Reviewed by

M.S. Ocampo

This novel is a tale of two young women: Taylor Romano, who is studying abroad in modern-day Oxford, England and Ava Knight, an heiress and aspiring photographer who is traveling with her father on the Titanic. Yes, that Titanic. What exactly connects these two together? This is the mystery that Taylor has to solve along with the mysterious death of Ava Knight’s descendant. The story alternates between Taylor’s modern day mystery and flash backs covering Ava’s days on the Titanic.

Read an Interview with the Author Here

While aboard on the grand ship, Ava Knight is asked by a Serbian solder to spy on the passengers in hopes of getting information that could potentially stop (or start) a world war. Those who know their history will remember that World War I started in 1914, two years after the Titanic sank, but the signs of political unrest are already starting to show on the ship.   

One thing that Taylor and Ava have in common is that it’s hard for them to trust people, especially when someone breaks that trust. Both struggle with trusting their respective fathers because they seem to be hiding something. Taylor’s father acted strangely before his death and her worst fear is that he had an affair. Ava also suspects her father of having an affair with one or more of the passengers on the TItanic. Taylor has trouble trusting the dead Lady Maebeline Knight’s companions, since they were the only ones who were around when the Lady died. In turn, Lady Knight’s butler doesn’t trust Taylor since she is a stranger to him. 

Subscribe to Our FREE Email & Get Weekly Catholic Books for as little as $1

There’s a stark contrast between Taylor’s story and Ava’s. Taylor interacts with just a few people: Lady Knight’s butler, a young boy who chauffers for Lady Knight, and a few people in her college program. Ava, on the other hand, gets to meet a colorful cast of characters aboard the Titanic such as the clairvoyant Galena Lakovic, Lieutenant Plavsic from the Serbian Army, Seaman Caleb Donahue, and even a Jesuit priest. There are also some characters from the actual history of Titanic such as Mrs. Margaret Brown who people might also know as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and Bruce Ismay, the chairman and managing director who is a self-proclaimed social Darwinist. The ironic thing about Ismay is that while he ends up surviving the sinking of the Titanic, his life afterwards was one of depression and solitude.  

Much like the famous James Cameron movie, there’s a stark contrast between the upper class and the lower class and Ava finds herself somewhere between them. She and her father have upper class tickets, but Ava develops a romance with the lower-class sailor Donahue. Her photography hobby is another way that she interacts with the lower-class passengers, as there are scenes of her taking pictures of people on the deck or around the ship.   

Subscribe to Our FREE Email & Get Weekly Catholic Books for as little as $1

I recommend this novel for fans of Gothic mysteries such as Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre. The Catholic themes are a lot more subtle. The Jesuit priest character, while based on a real person, doesn’t stick around long, but he mentions Divine Providence and a greater narrative than what ordinary people can see. I think the major themes in this book are pride and trust. The upper-class characters (Plavsic and Ismay) state ideas of social upheaval and survival of the fittest, but their arrogant ideas are harshly reflected by the devastation at what was to come for them. In turn, Taylor and Ava both learn that while their suspicions can uncover harsh truths, putting trust in good people can help them cope. 

Join Here for FREE to Never Miss a Deal

Find new favorites & Support Catholic Authors

Jesus Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Mark Restaino, Illustrations by J.P. Alcomendas

This delightful picture book lets young readers imagine the daily life of the Christ Child while also teaching simple prayers.

Lance and the Veil by Kevin Rush

She was Christ’s comforter, he, his executioner. Can the two find love in each other’s arms?

See No Evil; A Father Gabriel Mystery by Fiorella De Maria

In Post-WWII England, nearly everyone has something to hide—even kill for. Father Gabriel starts uncovering the truth, bringing souls the chance for redemption.

Absence by Kaye Park Hinckley

Absence will chill you with the stark reminder that human beings are not just bodies, but souls whose spiritual influence cannot be suppressed, even when the bodies have gone missing.

Night Prayer by Brother Bernard Seif, SMC, Ed.D., DNM

The Motto Suaviter Sed Fortiter (Gentle But Strong) informs this historical mystery novel about the founding of the Salesian spiritual family and its various branches.

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

This is NOT another DaVinci Code, but it is so cleverly disguised as one it makes the perfect gift for your anti-Catholic friends and family.

Welcome Courtney Guest Kim, Our New Classics Editor!

Courtney Guest Kim joins us to help readers figure out where to start in the long and renowned roster of Catholic Literary Classics!

Miracle at the Mission by Joseph Lewis

Visions, miracles, and a plot to assassinate the President of the United States – not the expected summer trip for two high school boys.

Dying for Revenge by Barbara Golder

After her husband’s murder Dr. Jane Wallace moves to Colorado to nurse her grudge against the world and ends up tracking a serial assassin.

Saint Magnus: The Last Viking by Susan Peek

A young Viking Prince evades a warlord while finding his own harrowing path to sainthood.

The Mission of Joan Of Arc by Philip Kosloski, Alexandre Nascimento, and Jesse Hansen

Voyage Comics’ dynamic interpretation of the Life of Joan of Arc is based on the play written by St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

Medal Knight Vol 1 by Voyage Comics

A young inventor in the 1920’s finds out his patrons intend to use his robots for crime. To fight back he becomes a hero inspired by the miraculous medal.

Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor

A dark fantasy along the lines of Revelation itself.

Shooting At Heaven’s Gate, by Kaye Park Hinckley

How does an ordinary boy become a mass murderer?

A Good Girl by Johnnie Bernhard

When an old man dies his daughter must trace her family tree to find the ability to forgive him.

I am Margaret by Corinna Turner

A dystopian nightmare that asks what you really believe and how far will you go to defend it.

Revelation by Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor takes us into the mental experience of one of those people Jesus condemned.

The Lost Vessel by Mark Adderley

McCracken joins a treasure hunt for Captain Nemo’s lost ship in this exciting adventure that adds another chapter to Jules Verne’s greatest creation.

Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

A young girl goes pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago on behalf of her brother and finds her place in the world.