Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: Titanic Read Along.

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Titanic Read Along.
Date Posted: 4/1/2012 4:21 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
Back To Top

We can treat this like we would a monthly read along thread.  Please give Alerts to any possible spoilers.

I am reading The Dressmaker.  This has had some so so reviews, I hope that I like it.

Date Posted: 4/1/2012 6:56 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

I'm anxious to discuss that one. I didn't hate it, but had issues with the way the characters behaved.

Date Posted: 4/1/2012 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

I am about a third of the way through The Dressmaker.  Like you, Cathy, I have issues with the way the characters behave.  I don't know what to think of Lucile.  Maybe she is just bipolar!  But to go from tender and vulnerable one minute to cruel the next....I could get that occasionally, but not in nearly every interaction.

As for Tess, she swings from meek and servile to strong and independent.  I can almost understand her a little better.  I think strong and independent is her true nature, but she was pushed down by an emotionally abusive father and forced into service.  And now she's put herself in the same situation with Lucile in the pursuit of her dream.  It will be interesting to see throughout the book if she makes the transition fully to her true nature.

I did like the way the author treated the sinking of the ship.  It was a significant event, but obviously not the main point of the book...just a plot device to stage the story.  There were a couple of glimpses that I had never considered before.....the lifeboats full of first-class passengers being lowered past the steerage levels with people reaching out to them.  And the sight of the half-sunk ship against the moonlight described as "oddly beautiful" or something like that.

Overall, I am enjoying it.  I had to force myself to put it down and go to bed last night!

Date Posted: 4/1/2012 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

Here's an interesting bit about Kate Alcott and her latest author name you might find interesting.

I thought the characterization was a bit odd as well, everyone seemed to flip at the turn of a switch. My biggest issue was the class distinctions, or rather lack thereof. The upper crust didn't buddy up with their servants like that. A friend at Goodreads just listened to it on audio, and she was chuckling at the narration/narrator. Or should I say servant girl Tess's perfect upper crust English accent. I didn't hate this book, but I certainly didn't love it either.

Date Posted: 4/1/2012 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
Back To Top

I suppose I'm cheating a bit since A Night to Remember is not fiction and was not written quite long enough after the actual sinking to be historical. I've had it on my TBR for so long though and just never seemed to get around to it for some reason. Only about 50 pages in and really enjoying it so far. I learned something interesting just by reading the Foreword, and the passenger list (survivors and those who perished) in the back is just heartbreaking.

A Night to Remember--Foreword (in part)

In 1898 a struggling author named Morgan Robertson concocted a novel about a fabulous Atlantic liner, far larger than any that had ever been built. Robertson loaded his ship with rich and complacent people and then wrecked it one cold April night on an iceberg. This somehow showed the futility of everything, and in fact, the book was called Futility when it appeared that year, published by the firm of M. F. Mansfield.

Fourteen years later a British shipping company named the White Star Line built a steamer remarkably like the one in Robertson's novel. The liner was 66,000 tons displacement; Robertson's was 70,000 tons. The real ship was 882.5 feet long; the fictional one was 800 feet. Both vessels were triple screw and could make 24-25 knots. Both could carry about 3000 people, and both had enough life-boats for only a fraction of this number. But, then, this didn't seem to matter because both were labeled "unsinkable."  Robertson called his ship the Titan.

Sort of eerie how this Robertson came so close to the facts of what happened fourteen years later. I looked Futility up on Amazon and it looks like it was re-released in January. I guess they anticipated some interest with the anniversary of the Titanic disaster.



Last Edited on: 4/1/12 4:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/1/2012 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
Back To Top

Terri, don't worry about it.as long as it is about the Titanic or one of the sister ship, fiction or non fiction this is the...

EVERY MAN FOR THEMSELVES READ ALONG!  YAY!

Date Posted: 4/2/2012 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
Back To Top

I am reading Lawrence Beesley's account of the sinking of the ship--he was one of the survivors whose testimony figured prominently in the hearings on the UK side....so far, it's an interesting mix of fact recounting and moralizing....

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,400
Back To Top

I've started The Dressmaker, but am only about 50 pages in. The Titanic has sunk (no spoiler alert there!) - and like Christa noted above - the author handled that very well. We didn't belabour the point, didn't go on and on about what we can only imagine was whole-scale fear and panic.

I really like the author's writing style. With very few words, she can evoke an image and put the picture in our minds of what she is describing. I so appreciate this kind of talent. I could see (along with Tess) the young, well-dressed woman with a red parsol and a splendid hat with a deep green ribbon walking down the sidewalk. And I could sure imagine the craziness while people waited to board the boat and Tess's panic at trying to secure a place.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the book ... I (currently) know nothing about the news coverage, investigations and other events that unfolded after the Titanic sank.

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

Kelly, I'd never heard much about the investigation of the sinking and the hearings, and that was the part I found most interesting. Plus Molly Brown of course cheeky

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

Yes, yes!  I love Molly Brown!  I want to be Molly Brown when I grow up.  The only problem with the investigation and hearings is that I don't know enough to be able to tell what is based on reality and what is total fiction.  Minor spoiler alert:  Was there really an uber-rich couple accused of bribing sailors not to go back and pushing people away from their mostly-empty lifeboat??

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,400
Back To Top

Christa, I dont' know how you are about reading Author's Notes before you finish a book (I nearly always do so I am a bit more educated as I'm reading the book). If you are so inclined, the Author's Notes at the back of the book may help clarify your question a little as to what is based on reality and what is total fiction.

I have also skimmed some internet resources a little bit about Lady Duff Gordon - an interesting woman IRL.  ... Kelly

Lucy Duff Gordon - Lucile



Last Edited on: 4/3/12 1:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/3/2012 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,400
Back To Top

Look at this amazing picture of Molly Brown! Such attitude, strength and intelligence! You're right, Christa ... we all need to be her when we grow up!

Molly Brown

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

Gotta love a woman who smirks!  LOL!

I don't like to read the author's notes until the end, but like all good books, I know this one has prompted me to do a little research on the characters when I finish the book!

Date Posted: 4/4/2012 9:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

I finished The Dressmaker last night.  Even with all the flip-floppy characters, I loved the book up until the last two sentences.  Then I wanted to throw the book against the wall!  I was soooooo disappointed!

SPOILER ALERT!!!  DON'T READ BELOW IF YOU HAVEN'T READ TO THE END OF THE BOOK!

 

 

 

So here's Tess....just decided that she's happy and complete going forward in her life without a man paving the way. At the huge suffragist rally, inspired by the massive crowd of diverse, brave women, sitting on the big horse.  Triumphant, even!  Then Jim comes through the crowd and says, "Can I help you down?"  And she says, "Yes."  The End.  SERIOUSLY????  What about the symbolism of all that??  I'm brave and complete and triumphant...until the guy who caught my eye asks to help me DOWN.  Why couldn't he ask to come UP with her?  Why couldn't she get down HERSELF and then they walk away TOGETHER side by side???  Seems like there could have been some way to show that Jim acknowledges that she's a different kind of woman who wants to be a partner in the give and take of life, not always taking from him like Lucile did from Cosmo.  I finished it three hours ago and I'm still mad at it!

 

 



Last Edited on: 4/4/12 11:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/6/2012 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,400
Back To Top

I finished The Dressmaker and all things considered, really liked it. It won't end up on the top 10 of the year list, but it was worth my time and has left some lingering thoughts - always a good thing.  

As suggested for this read-along, I have written a review. There aren't any real spoiler alerts; however, people who haven't read the book yet may want to only skim the reviews so as not to be unduly influenced.

To respond to Christa's post: I personally liked the ending! She & her fella had already talked about shared dreams & hopes. They were obviously in love and I was concerned that misunderstandings were going to keep them apart. I was delighted that the author found a way for true love to blossom and that the hope shared by these two survivors was alive and well and living in New York City.

Kelly

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 4/6/2012 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
Back To Top

Apparently I should be reading The Dressmaker...my book is dry, repetitive courtroom testimony from the survivors. It is choppy and absolutely no emotion. No one spoke on the boats waiting for rescue nor was there any panic to speak of. Ugh it's so dry I need a drink...ooh maybe I should have a madress...

Date Posted: 4/7/2012 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
Back To Top

Oh, Kelly, don't get me wrong.  I'm glad they got together and hope they live happily ever after!  But I just didn't like the way it went down.

Date Posted: 4/7/2012 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
Posts: 1,751
Back To Top

Just finished The Dressmaker and Christa I have to agree with you. The end made me go "what??"

I was skeptical going into the the book after reading some of the comments on here but I did enjoy it. I agree that Lucile's mood swings got to be quite annoying but I enjoyed learning about some of the aftermath of the Titanic. I had no idea there were hearings and found that to be the most interesting part of the book.

Date Posted: 4/10/2012 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

I finally picked up my Titanic book, Titanic Affair by Amanda Grange (free on Kindle today). It is definitely keeping me turning the pages, but a bit of a light read, although that's what my brain was in the mood for. Girl is being chased by the lacky of her wealthy suitor (who she wants nothing to do with). Her godmother magically has a ticket to first class passed along to her, which she gave to said heroine. She's only planning on taking the boat to Ireland, but things get complicated and she doesn't get off. Butting horns with self-made millionaire and of course it is two wuv fowever. I'm almost done and everyone's on the Carpathia with the evil bitchy woman who wants her daughter to marry the hero plotting to keep our two lovers apart.

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 4/10/2012 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
Back To Top

Thank goodness I finished my T. book. It was awful!  A  bazillion pieces of testamony from survivors repeating which boat was deployed at what time...ugh no personal moments or insight! But stay tuned cuz I'll be posting it soon!wink

Date Posted: 4/10/2012 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
Back To Top

Bonnie--which book did you read?

I really need to put away the Kindle Fire and finish A Night to Remember.  We have book club at work Thursday and I was planning to  pass it on if someone else is interested.

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 4/10/2012 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
Back To Top

Titanic A Survivor's Story by Colonel Archibald Gracie.

Date Posted: 4/10/2012 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
Back To Top

Ah, I was afraid of that. I have that one on its way to me. Oh well, its short, right?  =)

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 4/10/2012 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
Back To Top

Yeah it is a quick read if you don't mind sleeping between chapters! BUT you never know you might love it. I am always amazed at the differing opinions of the same book. Let me know what you think!

Date Posted: 4/15/2012 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
Back To Top

I finished A Night to Remember today. Some might find the book a bit dry but I found it very interesting. Lord interviewed survivors and researched newspaper and magazine articles to write this rather short (199 pages including the passenger list) nonfiction account of the disaster. There was not a lot of tedious detail in this book but I thought it did an adequate job of describing what was known at that time of the sinking, and the rescue of the survivors by the Carpathia. It always makes me sad to think of all the lives lost that night, and the passenger list at the end of A Night to Remember makes those losses seem more personal in a way. So many wealthy people went down with the ship--but so many more 2nd and 3rd class passengers also died. I can't help but think of the terror those people must have felt when they realized they were about to go into the ocean. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the events that took place as the ship sank. You shouldn't, however, expect details about the appearance of the ship or the personal lives of the passengers. The only thing that is missing is a list of the crew members of the ship including who was lost and who was saved. I gave the book four out of five stars and I do plan to read the sequel, The Night Lives On in the near future.

On another note--I watched a documentary on the history channel tonight about an expedition that took place in 2010, I think. It gave new insight to how the ship actually sank and why it broke into two pieces. The crew constructed this incredible map of the ocean floor and where different pieces of the ship came to rest. They "imaged" pieces of the ship that no one knew existed. Great documentary.

ETA: Bonnie--I'm saved!!  The person who was supposed to be mailing A Survivor's Story to me bailed after they accepted the request. I'm not going to reorder at the present time. =o)



Last Edited on: 4/15/12 10:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Page: