Monday, 23 April 2012

Book Review - THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER BY LEAH FLEMING

Genre:  Historical Fiction
Published:  Simon & Schuster  (Jan 2012)
Source:  Publishers
My Rating:  8/10

About the Book:

For May Smith, travelling with her husband and baby girl Ellen, stepping foot on the Titanic marks the start of an incredible journey.
But when the 'unsinkable' Titanic hits an iceberg one cold dark night, May's dreams are instantly shattered. Jumping from the sinking ship at the last minute, May loses sight of Joe and Ellen. Distraught, she is pulled into a lifeboat. Minutes later, the real-life Captain Smith swims to the lifeboat and hands May a baby swaddled in blankets.
Beside herself, and in virtual darkness, May believes the baby to be Ellen. This rescue is witnessed by fellow survivor, Celeste Parkes, married to an American industrialist who is on her way back to Ohio after her mother's funeral.
In horror, they both watch the death throes of the mighty ship; May traumatised, knowing her husband has drowned, Celeste wishing her husband had been on board and out of her life.
As the dawn comes up, and the two women are rescued by the Carpathia, a friendship is formed, one which is destined to transcend the Atlantic and social differences between them and last a lifetime. Then May makes a shocking discovery.......

When the Titanic went down it changed so many lives forever and this book tells the fictional story of three families for whom the Titanic cast a long shadow throughout the generations.

We first meet May Smith, her husband Joe and baby daughter as they eagerly await the train that will take them away from the cotton mills of Bolton to Southampton to board the Titanic and begin a new life in the United States.  They are C class passengers.

Celeste Parkes is in 1st class and has been attending her mother's funeral in England.  She's going back home to her young son and a cruel bully of a husband in Ohio.

Their fates and an everlasting friendship is sealed on that terrible night.

As news of the Titanic's sinking reaches the world we next meet young father Angelo, an Italian, waiting in New York for the return of his wife and baby daughter...who he has never seen....but soon realises that they have perished....though he refuses to give up hope.

This sets the premise for all that is to come as the years pass and May, Celeste and Angelo all begin new lives and try to put the sinking behind them but it never really goes away.

A lovely way of moving the story along in the beginning was by the letters between May in England and Celeste in the USA and we see how the experience has changed them as people and given them more confidence to deal with the challenges that came their way.

I was totally engrossed at the start but my interest started waning about half way through, the story just didn't capture my imagination or held my attention and I didn't rush to pick it up and read on.  Then as the book neared its obvious conclusion I found it engrossing again.

Overall, I enjoyed most of it and would probably read another book by Leah Fleming.

Special Thanks to the publishers, Simon & Schuster, for sending me this book.


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