Saturday, 6 March 2010

Historic Saturday (7)

The Distant Wave: A Novel of the Titanic

Suzanne Weyn


Weyn's historical novel climaxes with the sinking of the Titanic, but it begins in 1898 when narrator Jane, the second of five sisters, is four years old and observing her mother, a medium, contact the spirit world for the first time. That same life-changing day, on their way to a spiritualist community outside Buffalo, N.Y., the newly-fatherless family is caught in an artificial earthquake caused by real-life scientist Nikola Tesla. The beginning of the novel centers on the girls' mother's spiritual work, with Jane unsure of her mother's clairvoyance. Science has an equally important role, as Jane becomes obsessed with Tesla, following his career in the paper and then seeking him out. The story's pace is slow, but it picks up as the years pass, and Jane falls in love with Tesla's assistant, Thad. After a trip to England, the sisters find themselves on the Titanic. The interplay of science, spirituality, history and romance will satisfy.

I went into this book with high hopes. While not truly disappointed in the book, I still wasn't very pleased.

The writing is wonderful and Jane is the best of the five sisters to narrate. All of the stories fit together well and it was very interesting to see the many relationships throughout the novel. Not to mention how adorable Thad is.

My problem is that this advertises itself as a novel of the Titanic, when the Titanic doesn't even come into play until the last third of the novel. The last third was action packed and full of romance and excitement, but it was all crammed together into 100 pages, when I feel that it could have been expanded and that 100 pages could be an entire story all their own worth at least 300 pages. The best part of the book was rushed and I just wish there was more of it, or at least that it could have been the novel's main focus. The Titanic is such an interesting thing to write a novel about and I don't know of any YA books that tackle this "directly".

For those of you who read my review of Sovay, you know I dislike false advertising. Even though I truly did like this book, I couldn't give it more than a three star rating. I wanted a novel about the Titanic and that's not what I got. If you just want a novel about the time period, I strongly encourage you to read this. If you like historical fiction, read it. But if you want a novel focusing on THE TITANIC, this isn't the best one for you.

--Julie

1 comment:

  1. I could not finish this book. It looked good but I just couldn't get into it and finally gave up.

    ReplyDelete

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