Friday 1 October 2021

A Discovering Diamonds review of The Girl on the Carpathia by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts

1912 /Titanic
North Atlantic Ocean

North Atlantic Ocean, 1912. Kate Royston is a witness to history as the RMS Carpathia responds to the Titanic’s desperate SOS. Kate plans to escape personal tragedy by fleeing to Europe but everything changes when the Carpathia races to save the Titanic's survivors. Forced to return to New York, Kate abandons her hope of escape and becomes embroiled as a vital witness in the high profile Senate investigation of the disaster. Fueled by public rage and political in-fighting, the investigation becomes a witch-hunt. Although Kate knows the truth she’s terrified that pitting her eyewitness account against ruthless, powerful men will leave her ruined. As she struggles to make a decision, her heart leads her to two men  -  a powerful lawman and a handsome young radio operator. 

Can Kate find happiness in the midst of tragedy?

Meticulously researched and using actual witness testimony, The Girl on the Carpathia begins where most Titanic stories end and answers the questions “What happened next?” and "Who was to blame?" '

The Girl on the Carpathia is the story of a young woman on the ship that saved victims of the Titanic disaster. I'm singling this out as a diamond because it is one of the few independently published novels I've read that held my attention...

Kate is a mystery. She knows about disaster and the ensuing loss and devastation wreaked on one person’s world which is why she has ended-up as a governess to a family on the way to Europe. And now her fortunes change for better, and for worse. Helping the survivors, she overhears conversations that embroil her directly with the investigation into the sinking.

You think you’ve read all there is about the Titanic but this is a new take and it’s good, very good. The scenes aboard the rescue ship and the sight of the wreckage are fresh and moving, and even if the court room drama of the inquest has been done before, it still holds the attention. 

What could be better is the construction - investment in a terrier of a nit-pick technical editor would turn a very good book into a stunningly brilliant one. As it is, points of view appear too fast and furious – quite literally – so we lose one character just as another comes in, and you long to get back to Kate. Overcome that if you can; it’s worth it.

The major flaw for such a well-researched novel is one I find all too often in historical fiction – the (mis-)use of titles. Nobody addresses an English Countess of X as “Countess” but as Lady X and so on. See my piece about lords, ladies and titles on Helen Hollick’s blog:  

Despite my comments, a very good novel. Highly recommended. 

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Jeffrey Manton

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