Stacey Lee is auto-buy author status. Lee is the QUEEN of historical fiction and Luck of the Titanic is no exception. I feel like every new Lee book I love more than the last – which I never even thought was possible. Luck of the Titanic is action packed and with the most suspense from any of Lee’s books because you know what’s going to happen. Can we ever truly escape fate? Keep reading this book review to witness how much I love this book!
Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Luck of the Titanic is a stunning suspenseful masterpiece. Directly addressing the racism not only on the Titanic, but also in the US with the Chinese Exclusion Act, I knew from the beginning that this would be emotional. But, y’all, I was not prepared. Stacey Lee delivers a setting that makes the gilded halls and freezing waters come alive. At the same time, Luck of the Titanic has fantastic characters nursing struggling flames of ambitions. The ways you want to root for Valora while being juxtaposed with that dread in your stomach.
Because we all know of The Titanic for a reason. Throughout the book, as the time ticks down, I could not put Luck of the Titanic down. As readers we witness Valora’s plans, even if they’re half baked, they’re made of love and desire, ambition and family. It’s so easy to empathize with her almost infectious determination. And as readers we watch Valora’s story unfolding on the pages in a bustling and simultaneously ominous setting. The ways that our racism and elitism follow us onto the waters.
How some things become possible and others are merely cemented. The ways the frozen waters tell a story about who gets to survive and who doesn’t. Who society and people believe are worthy. All of these elements come together to form a book like a perfect storm. It will sweep into your heart and, like any truly amazing book, leave you a bit different after the last page. What an emotional masterpiece.
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