I’m not one to pick up historical fiction novels often, but I loved Patti’s novel on Becoming Mrs. Lewis (yes, referencing CS Lewis’ wife), so naturally I had to read this as well!
Thank you Berkley for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.
Synopsis: When Savannah’s history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking. Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.
As someone who loves Savannah and grew up in Baltimore (the two cities the boat was traveling between), I felt it was destiny to want to learn more about what happened. This was such a beautifully written and extremely captivating story. There is a dual-timeline in this story flashing between the past and present, and I really wanted to spend more time in that past more than anything. The characters were extremely well developed in both story-lines, I can’t complain much! What an awesome read!