Friday, April 13, 2012

Titanic, The Long Night - Diane Hoh

Two teenagers discover true love aboard the doomed ocean liner

Elizabeth Farr never wanted to return to America. During her family’s vacation abroad, she has fallen in love with England, and is despondent when her father refuses to let her stay. Returning to New York means having her debut into society, and that means a swiftly arranged marriage. Elizabeth will never go to college, never learn to be a reporter—as she sees it, her life is over as soon as the Titanic reaches port. Of course, if she’s unlucky, her life will be over far sooner than that.

As Elizabeth and her family settle into their first-class cabins, Katie Hanrahan, a young Irish girl with dreams of finding fortune in America, makes her way to a steerage berth. Both girls have plans for the future, but love and death are about to intervene.

Titanic, The Long Night is a very nice YA story focusing on the lives of four young passengers on board the Titanic.

The main character is Elizabeth Farr, a first class passenger, travelling with her parents. Elizabeth main problems are convincing her parents that she wants to go to Vassar instead of marrying the man they want her to marry. Also in first class is Max Whittaker, returning to New York after studying art in Paris, he had a falling out with his parents about what he wants to do in life and can only afford first class because his grandmother sent him the ticket. Also aboard are third class passengers Katie Hanrahan and Paddy Kelleher who plan to find themselves a new life in America.

Both girls are aware of each other but they never interact. Each has its own trials to face, namely finding love, and their story serves to show us how the different classes were organised aboard and the different priorities these people had.

With a simple, straight story, Hoh keeps us interested while she relates the details of the unsinkable ship and what happened during those days on the sea till tragedy occurred. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the long night, as the title puts it. One can almost feel the anxiety of some and the obliviousness of others regarding what was really happening. As a curiosity I should mention that one of the secondary characters, a Mrs. Molly Brown, was a real person and an actual passenger of the ship. We will have more information about her later in the week.

Without overdosing on the historical details Titanic, The Long Night makes for the perfect introduction to what happened to the Titanic. While it is young adult it can also be pleasant literature for all ages.

Grade: 4/5

This review was written for the Titanic Week taking place at Historical Tapestry. Thank you to NetGalley and Open Road for providing me with a copy

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