What I’m Reading Wednesday

Book_Cover_19Dear Beatriz Williams,

I cannot thank you enough for writing such a page turner, with so many twists and diversions, and yet ends with all loose ends beautifully tied up. Seriously. I was enthralled with the stories of Violet and Vivian in The Secret Life of Violet Grant with the agents, double agents, Europe on the brink of the WWI and two strong (and often times sassy) female leads.

Your novel of historical sorts introduces many a character, fictitious and historical (hello young Albert Einstein!). I thought, no way will this novel end without me having unanswered questions about how so-and-so ends up, or what happened to you know who? None of that! You strung me along for 432 pages and in the end I had a perfect picture of how everyone turned out in the end.


I’m also grateful for the historical note at the end, because I admit, I wanted to ask how in the heck does someone’s imagination craft such a tale? A female atomic physicist in the early 1910s, an aspiring New York magazine writer in the 1960s, and a mystery that links the two generations together.

If anything, as a writer myself, I would have enjoyed seeing how Vivian’s article for Metropolitan turned out in the end. Was she promoted from her fact checker position with other duties as assigned, including pouring coffee? What became of that story? I mean, I don’t want to spoil it for others, but we know it wasn’t the real story. But it must have been front page news, right?

Alas, I guess I will have to rely on the ‘ol imagination.

Ms. Williams, thank you for sharing a glimpse of that fantastic imagination of yours. For weaving some of your own family’s history into a novel that introduced characters we would want to be friends with.



What I’m Reading Wednesday

More than a century after Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage, her story lives on.

Hazel Gaynor’s The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of The Titanic, is a story of historical fiction inspired by true events and passengers.

Gaynor’s novel begins in Ireland in 1912, where a group of 14 from a small village prepare to set sail for America with the hope of a better life. One of the passengers is 17-year-old Maggie, who reluctantly boards with her aunt, the only surviving family member she has, while her love stays behind.

Gaynor’s story also takes its readers to Chicago in 1982, where Grace Butler learns of her great-grandmother Maggie’s stories of Titanic. Hearing her story Grace starts on her own path of healing after losing her father.

The Girl Who Came Home is inspired by the true events of a group of Irish emigrants from County Mayo, Ireland who travel on Titanic to awaiting relatives in America. Eleven of the group of 14 were lost. The main character Maggie, is based on two of the youngest girls in the group (Annie Kate Kelly and Annie McGowan).

Gaynor includes some passengers based on fact and actual Marconigram messages transmitted from Titanic and Carpathia within its pages also pulls you into the tragic tale of that fateful night in April.

Hollywood has tried and so have authors, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine the terror that was the night the Titanic sank to her resting place. But thanks to creative minds like Gaynor, the memories of those saved and lost are remembered more than 100 years later.