This year is the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which set sail on April 10, 1912. With the rerelease of James Cameron’s Titanic in theaters (in 3D!), the ship and its tragic fate have never been more prevalent in pop culture. We’re bringing you five book picks to sate your curiosity about this infamous ocean liner.
The House of Velvet and Glass
For Katherine Howe’s much-anticipated second novel after her hit debut The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, the author takes us to Boston in 1915 after the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Sibyl Allston lost her mother and sister in the tragic destruction of the Titanic, and she is still bereft from their deaths. Stuck with her difficult father and pleasure-seeking, scandal-ridden brother, Sibyl decides to take her destiny in her own hands. This book is sure to delight those interested in the time period surrounding the Titanic, as well as those curious about the aftermath of the accident.
Though Kate Alcott made headlines after she revealed her book only sold after she changed her name, it’s her novel The Dressmaker that is really newsworthy. Tess is a seamstress, and she receives the opportunity of a lifetime when Lady Duff Gordon takes notice of her. She’s hired to be Lady Duff Gordon’s personal maid on a voyage on the new ocean liner called the RMS Titanic. When tragedy strikes and people act in ruthless ways Tess couldn’t have imagined, she is left to her own devices to try and sort things out. For those looking for a first person view of what happened during the accident, The Dressmaker is the book to pick up.
Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World
Perhaps you’re interested in the lives of the rich and famous — after all, there were plenty of those types aboard the Titanic. Hugh Brewster weaves the stories of the Titanic’s most interesting passengers with an overall account of what happened on the ship from the beginning to its cold, dark end at the bottom of the sea. If you’re looking for a non-fiction account of the tragedy along with stories about some fascinating people, Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage is sure to pique your interest.
Shadows of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived
Any way you look at it, what befell the Titanic was a true human tragedy. Perhaps you’re interested in the ship, but want something a bit more uplifting? Then Andrew Wilson’s book is for you. Instead of focusing on the lives lost, Wilson looks at the survivors and shares their amazing stories in his book Shadows of the Titanic. He looks at the aftermath of the ship’s destruction, and through letters, journals and other primary sources, reconstructs what happened after the Titanic’s tragic sinking. Though this book isn’t necessarily a happy account — after all, the survivors were psychologically scarred by the events — it’s an interesting look at the surviving passengers.
Charlotte Rogan’s debut novel isn’t exactly about the Titanic, but its events mirror that tragedy so closely that anyone interested in the ocean liner shouldn’t hesitate to pick up The Lifeboat. The year is 1914 and Grace Winter is traveling across the Atlantic Ocean with her new husband, Henry. But a mysterious explosion incapacitates the ship, and the passengers must be loaded into lifeboats as they watch the majestic ship sink. There’s just one problem: Grace’s lifeboat is overcrowded, and for her to live, someone else must die. This is a novel of difficult choices, as well as the value of one life versus another.