The Captain’s Daughter
The Captain’s Daughter opens with two very different women taking the famed ship Titanic to America, neither anxious to be aboard, and both unsuspecting of how the looming iceberg will shape their futures. Irishwoman May Smith is accompanying her husband and baby daughter in third class, hoping for a better life; first-class passenger Celeste Parkes is returning to her abusive husband after attending her mother’s funeral at home in England. When the women end up in a lifeboat together, Celeste takes the distraught May and her baby under her wing, and their friendship only solidifies as the years pass. May takes daughter Ella back to England, and Celeste eventually works up the courage to take her son Roddy and run away home. Celeste’s family takes in May and Ella as the First World War rages, and their lives continue to intermingle, even after May succumbs to a wicked infection. But her death is really only another beginning for Celeste and Ella; May leaves this world revealing a secret about that long ago night which will change everything.
Spanning from 1912 to 1959, The Captain’s Daughter ties the tale of the two women and their families to the night of the sinking. Ella’s survival is based on a legend of Captain Smith handing a baby into a lifeboat after the ship went down, while Titanic heroine Molly Brown makes an impression upon Celeste. The characters are vibrant and well drawn, with actions made believable through devastating circumstances. Not only do we experience the loss of the Titanic, but we also live through the tragedies of both world wars. My only complaint is that the book is a bit slow in spots, but the grand opening and even more heartfelt ending make it an entirely enjoyable saga in which to lose oneself. Recommended.