By the Light of the Silvery Moon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Her lips fell open when he said her name. Goose bumps rose on her arms, and she pretended it was from the cool breeze that picked up as the ship’s speed increased. “Thank you for everything,” he whispered softly.
As the Titanic sets sail on its maiden voyage to America, sets of lives begin to converge — the compassionate, generous Amelia, going to meet a suitor in America, gives an extra ticket to Quentin, a man down on his luck. Little does she know that he is actually the estranged son of a wealthy businessman, and that both his heartbroken father and bitter elder brother are both also on the voyage. As the fateful journey continues, she finds herself — and her heart — even more entwined in their lives.
This Christian historical fiction romance novel grabbed my attention because it took place on the Titanic, which happens to be one of my obsessions. As a piece of fiction, it was kind of disappointing. As a Titanic novel, it was only okay. As a romance novel, it was actually pretty good. And as a piece of Christian literature, I was pleasantly surprised with how the author worked in a “modern” (well, 1910s) retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son.
The Prodigal Son tie-in added a theological depth to the story that saved it from simply being “preachy.” All three characters of the parable were portrayed realistically in the millionaire and his two very different sons, and in their reunion, their words were direct quotes from Scripture — perhaps a bit too blatantly obvious, but it worked into the story without sounding too cheesy. The romance story line had enough ups and downs to make it believable, and I liked the ending, even if it was rather predictable. The author dealt with the actual sinking of the ship and its aftermath in a way that was heart-wrenching and reverent, very appropriate.
On the downside… the first few chapters of the novel were a bit hard for me to get through. There were way too many coincidental meetings with awkward dialogue (the ones that feel like you’re in a RPG video game and are being forced to go talk to each of the townspeople somewhere, so they can quote you two lines that tie into the story line and give you the information you need… much too forced and unrealistic). There were also far too many foreshadowings of the ship’s doomed future It seemed like every random stranger the characters encountered were either afraid the ship would sink, or be boasting about how the ship was unsinkable. I’m pretty sure we all know what happened to the Titanic, so these contrived conversations seemed even more convoluted.
Some parts of the story seemed underdeveloped. Amelia was an alright character if you could forgive her the flaw of having absolutely no flaws, but her backstory — her search for her mother — was never resolved. We’re introduced to a shady character from Quentin’s past, but it’s a one-scene thing that never gets brought up again, even though I know if I were Amelia, I’d have wanted more of an explanation.
Overall: If you can suspend reality enough to handle characters and a plot that are a little too “perfect,” and you’re a fan of the Christian romance genre, you’ll love this one.