A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Written by Rebecca Connolly
Review by Bonnie DeMoss

On April 15, 1912, Arthur Rostron, the captain of the Carpathia, is awakened and notified of a distress call from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg and is in grave trouble. Rostron immediately begins to strategize the response of his ship, which is over four hours away. Although he is not sure of the amount of damage, he is determined to get the Carpathia to the aid of the Titanic’s passengers. Braving icebergs himself, he pushes the Carpathia to the limit in order to assist.

On the Titanic, Kate Connolly is enjoying her time in third class with newfound friends. But in the middle of the night, strange sounds lead her out into the corridor looking for answers. She eventually finds the ship is in trouble, and she has very little time to escape. Although third-class passengers are not warned or helped in any way, she manages to make it to a lifeboat, from which she watches the Titanic sink. Will rescue come in time?

In alternating chapters, we follow Captain Rostron as the Carpathia attempts a heroic rescue, and Kate Connolly as the survivors try to stay alive, praying for help. We learn of heroes like the captain, and then of others who did little or nothing to help. We suffer with the freezing and cry with the bereaved. But we also salute a man who did what he could to bring others to safety. Although there is much historical fiction out there about the sinking of the Titanic, this is a unique and inspiring look at the rescuers from the Carpathia, who managed to bring over 700 people to safety. It is also a tragic and heartbreaking look back at that terrible night. Highly recommended.