Sunday, April 22, 2012

Titanic: The Long Night by Diane Hoh

Published March 27, 2012.

Author website.

Elizabeth Farr never wanted to return to America. During her family’s vacation abroad, she has fallen in love with England, and is despondent when her father refuses to let her stay. Returning to New York means having her debut into society, and that means a swiftly arranged marriage. Elizabeth will never go to college, never learn to be a reporter—as she sees it, her life is over as soon as the Titanic reaches port. Of course, if she’s unlucky, her life will be over far sooner than that. 

 As Elizabeth and her family settle into their first-class cabins, Katie Hanrahan, a young Irish girl with dreams of finding fortune in America, makes her way to a steerage berth. Both girls have plans for the future, but love and death are about to intervene.  (

More kudos to Open Road for continuing to bring back the cheese.  While TITANIC isn't YA horror, the author carries the weight.  But in a good way.  TITANIC: THE LONG NIGHT proved to be a novel that transcended time, most likely because it's already a period piece.  It still read well despite the fact that it is an older title.

The two POVs alternate between Elizabeth, a first class passenger, and Katie, a third class passenger.  Unfortunately for me I just finished watching the Titanic miniseries on ABC and I'm getting plotlines crossed.  Hopefully I can keep them straight.

Elizabeth and Katie never really interact at all during the story except at a distance.  They both notice each other, make flattering comments, and towards the end actually come bodily close when they're trying to get on the boats.  But outside of that, and the grander story arc of the Titanic itself, their stories remain separate.  I had a real worry at the end that Hoh would pull an illogical ending out of it all and make everyone whom we've come across as a reader survive despite the OVERWHELMING odds against that happening.  Thankfully realism won over and while there were a couple of "oh, I'm not too sure that would work out like that" moments, they slipped easily enough into the surrounding story that the didn't seem too fantastical.

Elizabeth was a bit of a brat that wanted to go against all of the wishes of her parents and go to college and not marry the drone they scheduled her to marry and all of that.  And then she ends up meeting a boy on board that really forces her to see the forest for the trees and makes her fight for her right to party live her own life.  No, it wasn't a third class boy but one from first as is a much more plausible storyline.

Katie is going to New York to make a better life for herself and ends up falling in love on the way (also with someone of her own class as, again, classes mixing on the Titanic was, well, pretty nonexistent).  Of course it's to a boy that's more than likely horrible for her because he's a womanizer but I'm sure she'll settle his ways in the brave new world.

Elizabeth wasn't immensely likable within the context of the story but as a modern woman looking back she was only bucking the system, something most teenagers have a tendency of doing, especially when they're not susceptible to brainwashing.  Of course there were suffragettes at the time but I can't help but question just how set in her ways Elizabeth rightly should have been, having been indoctrinated from birth and all of that.  But I'm okay with it.

Katie's much more the free spirit, better able to be so since she doesn't have the confines of money and supposed class pushing down on her.  Or she doesn't have a stick wedged firmly up her bum.  One way or another.  She's basically the embodiment of everything that Elizabeth wants to be.  A nice irony there.  But it works and I found that much more believable than Elizabeth's situation.  Less pressure and all of that.

At the end of the day TITANIC: THE LONG NIGHT was definitely an excellent addition to all things Titanic in this world.  It has far more realistic love stories going on and Hoh did an amazing job of painting a picture of the shattering worlds of these passengers as the ship was sinking.  It was hard not to tear up reading it.  When it comes to the Titanic it's hard to think up something original to keep a well-known story fresh but Hoh's writing kept it all alive.  Love stories galore but the writing was killer.  I couldn't have asked for more.

Ban Factor: Low - No swearing, no sex, nothing really unsavory.  It's set in 1912 after all.  If the banners have something to complain about with this one then they're really running out of ideas.
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