The Titanic Sisters

Written by Patricia Falvey
Review by J. Lynn Else

1912. Sisters Nora and Delia board the Titanic to start their new lives, one as a governess and one as a maid. But when disaster strikes the ill-fated ship, the two become separated. Delia is picked up by the Carpathia, but her sister’s name isn’t on the list of survivors. Believing her sister dead, she steps into the governess job and introduces herself as Nora. Meanwhile, after falling out of a lifeboat and hitting her head, Nora wakes up in a hospital with no memory of who she is. The wealthy woman who found her unconscious on the Carpathia takes her under her wing and shows her how to care for someone without strings attached. Alternating narration between Delia and Nora, the story follows the sisters as they begin journeys of self-discovery in America.

For a book with “Titanic” in its name, there’s little of the ship other than generalizations. Nora’s and Delia’s observations mainly involve the menus and the fancy-dressed women. While Delia has craved adventure all her life, she sure avoids experiencing anything on the ship. Falvey never hits a strong emotional chord as the sinking begins. Thus, if you’ve had an interest in the Titanic since its discovery, like me, this book disappoints.

Nora often uses the word craic. I enjoyed seeing her roots come out, but that’s pretty much the only cultural word sprinkled in. Characters-wise, the sisters are extremely passive and switch from being likable to unlikeable rather quickly. They are largely inactive in plot movement while things change around them. Setting-wise, there are a few moments in Texas that hint at beauty, otherwise, I felt largely disconnected from it. Admittedly, I had high expectations with the “Titanic” tease in the title; however, this is a light read about second chances with a satisfying ending.