Monday, July 13, 2009

Distant Waves: a Novel of the Titanic by Suzanne Weyn

Five sisters grow up together in unusual circumstances. Mimi and Jane are the older sisters, while Amalie and Emma are the twins. Blythe brings up the rear as the baby sister and is born after her father has died. The girls' mother has an unusual gift, to say the least, and one that is at the height of popularity at the turn of the century on the East Coast.

Spiritualism is alive and well, and Maude Taylor, medium, is doing her best to raise her five girls at something that is accepted by those with finances and a wish to talk to the dead. Eventually, her talents lead her to the small town of Spirit Vale, New York. It is here that a community of mediums have banded together to co-exist and make a living. The girls all grow up in the most unusual of circumstances, but it is their fate that will change their lives inevitably.

Jane, in her younger years, had the pleasure to meet Nikola Tesla and his curious inventions. When she and her older sister Mimi decide to run away to New York City for the day, their future fate is sealed. Mimi becomes a companion for a young wealthy French lady while Jane meets Thad and has trouble trusting her feelings. During this time, their mother has been in constant contact with famous English medium W.T. Stead. With unusual circumstances and even more interesting relationships, the girls and their mother find themselves in England on the eve of the maiden voyage of the Titanic. But will they heed the feelings, warnings, and trust in the spirit world, or is it something more scientific that is going on?

Suzanne Weyn has created a YA turn-of-the-century historical fiction filled with true-life historical figures, such as Ehrich Weiss, Nikola Tesla, John Jacob Astor, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to name a few. And whilst this historical plot is being read, the reader can't help but see sicence fiction come into play, making this book a unique blend of both genres. The sinking of the Titanic is not what you may think happened... This is a PERFECT pair for the non-fiction book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.

On a personal note, I picked up this book for the beautiful cover, and it does encompass my favorite historical era, but I was pleasantly surprised to see which direction the author was taking this book. Not at all the norm, but one that will appeal to those fans of science fiction as well as historical fiction. Readers may have to suspend belief some toward the ending, and although the first part of the book was not as filled with intrigue as the last part, it ended up being a surprising and pleasant read.


Anonymous said...

this is the best book i have e ver read, i love it.I am so glad i read it.if people are looking for a fiction book about the TITANIC, this wuold be the book i wolud get. oh and ig there is someone out there that knows a good TITANIC book that is not fiction please tell me because im doing a report on the TITANIC in school so that would be great.

Arcelia Dawn Gonzalez said...

i agree :) its veryy ahmazingg i cant put it down !! i Take It Everywhere with me Im Almost Done But pick uhp one of these copies :)

email me at:

id love to hear everyones opinions!!

Sunni said...

My middle school students love this book too and I agree that the cover is very appealing. Obviously, with a dress on the cover, I see the majority of the student who pick it up being female. I am working on trying to break them to this habit!