A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever. The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets. When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn. Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over… New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage.
Paperback, 325 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by HarperTeen
Three stars: Set sail on Titanic with some werewolves.
Tess hurries down the cobbled street. Anxious to get to the shop to fetch the laces for the boots of her employer. The shadows are lengthening, it is a dangerous hour for a young lady to be on the street. Men leer on the corner and Tess is reminded, yet again, of her vulnerability as a maid. She scurries along, dreaming of her imminent freedom which will hopefully begin in a week's time. She is to set sail on the Titanic with her employers to America, where she plans to give her notice and begin a new life. Suddenly a man dashes around the corner and grabs her hand, informing her if she wants to live to come with him. Frightened she follows. To her horror, wolves come running down the street. Wolves here in Southampton? Once the beasts melt into the shadows, the man releases her and she runs home terrified. The next day on the Titanic, she is threatened by a strange man, trying to steal her employer's valuables. Her rescuer is, once again, the strange man from last night, the wealthy Alec, heir to his father's steel fortune. Things are not as they seem, Alec has a secret, he is a werewolf, pursued by a dangerous organization known as The Brotherhood. They are powerful group of werewolves looking to coerce him into servitude. Tess unwittingly finds herself caught in the power struggle, while losing her heart to Alec. Will she be killed by the malicious leader of the werewolves or will she die during the sinking of Titanic?
What I Liked:
- I love a good historical book and Ms. Gray does an excellent job of bringing the Victorian era alive. I especially enjoyed learning more about the life of the people who were in service to the wealthy. Their lives were difficult, and they had little chance to dream and have their own lives away from the employers. The Titanic is an excellent microcosmic example of the class divisions. We follow Tess as she navigates from her quarters in the third class steerage up to the lofty decks of first class to serve her wealthy mistress. I liked learning more about the barriers facing the working class.
- I love anything pertaining to Titanic, I know I am not alone in my fascination with the doomed liner. This week being the centennial anniversary of the sinking, I wanted to finally read this book. Ms. Gray takes us into the heart wrenching terror of the sinking and presents us with a star crossed pair of lovers caught in the danger.
- I really admired Tess. She is a young lady caught in very trying circumstances. At a young age, she was forced along with her sister to give up her schooling and enter a life of service to help her family. Her mistress is definitely a nasty woman. In spite of everything, Tess rises above it all and maintains her dreams of freedom and a new beginning in America. Time and time again, she is forced to hold her tongue against the nasty barbs. I don't know if I could handle that type of treatment. Once she meets Alec, she again is faced with the cruel divisions of class. A third class girl like her could never be with a first class boy like Alec, yet she dares to dream. She has so much courage. Definitely an admirable lead.
- I especially appreciated that Ms. Gray did so much research on the lives of the servants during this time period. She uses the information to create a vivid picture of life for the servants. It was an eye opening experience to learn, even at the beginning of the 20th century, that people in servitude led such bleak existences.
And The Not So Much:
- I was excited to read this story hoping to glean more information about Titanic. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Titanic was really not a big focus in the story, except of course, for the dramatic chapters covering the sinking. The story delves more into the paranormal aspects of the werewolves and Titanic is, for the most part, nothing more than a backdrop. At the end of the book, the author discusses her details on the Titanic and I was not happy to discover that much of it was fictionalized. If you are looking to read this for the Titanic aspects, you may come away a bit discouraged.
- This book utilizes, yet again, the famous Titanic love theme of a pair of lovers, one from first class, the other from third, who meet and fall madly in love over the span of four short days. Then comes the dramatic iceberg collision and sinking and you are left wondering if they will survive. Unfortunately, even despite the paranormal twist of the werewolves, I was bored of this well worn theme.
- The added werewolves were fun, but there was some flaws in the story. Without going into too many spoilers, one of the werewolves runs loose on the ship and inadvertently kills a man. There is a discussion about destroying the "dog" and then it is decided to wait until they dock to get it tested for rabies. Then the whole issue is forgotten. For me, this whole scene is ludicrous. First of all, if a werewolf terrorized people and killed someone, there would be a big uproar. Second it is just not realistic and I found it really detracted from the story. The same thing with the ending, again I won't go into too much detail, but overall it just didn't work for me.
Fateful is a book that recounts the life of a servant girl on board Titanic. While I did enjoy the character of Tess and learning about her life as a maid during this time period, I was overall disappointed in the book. The Titanic is for the most part just scenery until the sinking and many of the elements are fiction. The werewolf theme is also a bit far fetched and has flaws and overall just did not fit well into the Titanic setting. The book was entertaining but I can't wholeheartedly recommend it. If you are looking for a book with exceptional detail, historical accuracy and a believable paranormal twist, I would recommend you read Destined by Allison Kraft, instead.
"Beauty is no guarantee of goodness;"
"Because the big trunks they're hefting, the bundles of clothes the women hold close---those aren't supplies for a sea voyage. They're the foundations of a new life."
"His gaze is dark and devouring. Something blazes within him as he looks at me, but I can't tell if it's anger or desire."
"It's impossible to spend years of your life in a house with a woman who thinks you're lower than dirt and not let it get to you from time to time."
"There is something wild about him even in his human form, something that wants always to be free."
"It's so odd to think that these people I've come to know-- the ones society puts in three different boxes---might all be friends if things were just a bit different."
"Around me, in each direction, the ocean stretches out to every horizon. Even aboard this enormous ship, I am one small speck in infinity---so entirely alone."
"The sun has begun dipping below the horizon---a sliver of orange-gold light sliced by the dark line of the ocean."
"Even in death, it matters whether your dress had been trimmed with lace, or whether your shoes were polished oxfords instead of worn brogues. It's the difference between a grave your loved ones can visit and being dropped into the water in a sack with stones at your feet."