Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Review: Echoes of Titanic by Mindy Starns Clark and John Campbell Clark

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good characters, intersting second half
Cons: Very slow moving first half
The Bottom Line
Despite strong second
Half and some real characters
Not author's best work

Echoes of Titanic Never Fully Left the Dock

While I know many people are fascinated by Titanic and the horrid events that surrounded that fateful voyage.  I'm not one of them.  I just find the entire story so depressing.  So it was with some reluctance that I picked up Echoes of Titanic.  The only reason I did was because it was written by an author I normally enjoy and her husband.  It failed to live up to her normal standards.

Kelsey Tate is the rising star and heir apparent to her family's investing company.  Her great-grandmother, a survivor of the Titanic disaster, took what her father and started and turned it into a profitable company, even during the Depression.

Today, Kelsey is being honored in a public ceremony for earning the company a quarter of a million dollars.  But as she starts her speech, a man interrupts from the back row claiming that Kelsey's great-grandmother wasn't who she claimed to be.  Later that night, Kelsey finds an employee and personal friend dead in the company's offices.  What is happening to her life?

The characters in the book were certainly fine.  Mindy Starns Clark definitely has a pattern for her heroines, especially in her stand alone books, and Kelsey fits perfectly.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, and I was certainly rooting for her to learn the truth about her family's past to save the company in the present.  Through flashbacks we also get to know great-grandmother Adele, and those scenes were just as real to me with great characters.

Which, frankly, was one of my problems.  Watching these characters from the past knowing their fate early on was so hard.  It's one reason why I've never watched any of the movies about the disaster.  Investing that much into people who will die is too heartbreaking.  I'll definitely take responsibility for that part of me not enjoying the book.

However, the book clocks in around 390 pages, and it could easily shed 100 of them.  Normally, Mindy's books start with a bang that draws me in.  While the opening events were certainly entertaining, the story soon began to drag.  Parts of it were obvious early on, and the rest just moved forward slowly.

Once we got past the half way point, things did pick up and I got into the story again.  The ending was logical and certainly suspenseful.

The book was certainly well written.  It brought the present and the past to life in ways that drew me into the story.  I never stumbled over anything that pushed me out of it.

Unfortunately, the overall effect was just average.  Echoes of Titanic will appeal to those who find the history of the ship and the survivors interesting, but it's not the author's best effort.

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