A Family for the Titanic Survivor by Lauri Robinson
I have to admit I almost stalled out of this story on page 2, when we were blithely told about an Irishman, in Ireland in 1912, having saved up ‘pennies, nickels and dimes’ to bequeath a legacy to his daughter. The Irish used British coinage from 1826 to 1928, as a quick Google search will tell you, so this should have been ‘pennies, shillings and crowns’. And a legacy of 500 pounds total, NOT 500 dollars.
I took a deep breath and decided to keep reading, and I’m glad I did, because this is genuinely a very nice story. The author wisely chooses not to dwell too much on the horrors of the night the Titanic sank, introducing us to our heroine Bridget and explaining how her kind-heartedness ends with her caring for a little girl, daughter of wealthy first-class parents, that night instead, saving her life and eventually delivering her to her uncle Karl Wingard, a wealthy New Yorker. Through Bridget’s eyes, Karl comes to see the tragedy in another light, and eventually ends up campaigning on behalf of the second and third-class passengers the White Star Line tried to pretend didn’t exist.
I’m not sure I quite bought into Bridget’s oh-so-easy acceptance into New York’s elite. Her accent (something which is barely mentioned) would have marked her out among them, and I think there would always have been people who smirked behind their hands at Karl marrying Elsie’s nanny. Karl and Bridget’s romance was believable, and the scenes aboard the Titanic and the details about the survivors felt legitimate, but there was a bit too much here which didn’t feel right - starting with the currency disaster on page 2, which honestly, I can’t quite believe slipped through editing. It threw me off right from the start. I liked the concept, and I definitely like the fact that Harlequin are branching out in their category historicals and looking outside the usual time periods but the execution here missed the mark, for me. I’ll give it three stars.