An engaging, fresh take on a familiar story

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4.5 stars

I received a complimentary copy through BookishFirst and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.

Luck of the Titanic excited me, because of the fresh angle it was taking with the fascinating and tragic event. I had no idea until I picked this up that there had been Chinese passengers on the Titanic, much less than six of the eight onboard survived, an omission from the public record due to the anti-Chinese sentiment in the US at the time.

So, this book provides a great possible story for what they might have been like, following Valora Luck. I admired her enterprising ways, from trying to get her brother and herself jobs in the Ringling Brothers Circus and finding a way to simultaneously ingratiate herself with first-class passengers like the Duff-Gordons, while also meeting up with her brother Jamie and the other Chinese laborers in third class.

Stacey Lee also beautifully recreates the atmosphere of the Titanic, immersing you in the journey in all its opulence and/or comfort, and culminating in the dark night of the 14/15 of April, during the sinking, when everyone is struggling to survive.

On that note, given some of the revelations of the sparse facts of the real life Chinese passengers, I had some issues with the ending. I know the aim is to show the tragedy of it all, but it just felt like too intense of a gut-punch.

For the most part, I adored this book, devouring it more or less in a single sitting. If you also have a fascination with the Titanic, you need to read this book.