Today as part of The Destined Tour, I am happy to introduce Allison Kraft, author of Destined, a time travel romance that places two vampire hunters on board the doomed Titanic. This week marks the centennial of Titanic's ill fated maiden voyage. Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912 and after just four days at sea, she collided with an iceberg at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14. By 2:20 A.M. Titanic was beneath the ocean waves, gone. Except her legend lives on. After one hundred years, the public is still fascinated by the doomed liner. The Unsinkable Ship sank on her first sea crossing. Was it a slap in man's face for daring to think he could conquer nature? Whatever the case may be, Titanic will forever be an unsinkable legend. Ms. Kraft, a Titanic enthusiast, shares her love for this great ship in her novel, Destined. If you are interested in Titanic, you will enjoy her book. Allison's meticulous attention to detail is carefully woven into her story. Today, I am pleased to invite Allison Kraft onto the blog to share a piece on Titanic's second class. Please make sure to stick around at the end for her giveaway and my review of her book. Here is Allison:
First, I want to thank you for hosting me today during my blog tour. It’s great to be here, and I’m excited to meet everyone! I was asked to write something about the Titanic today, and chose a topic that is a big part of Destined: the ship’s second class.
The Titanic’s Second Class
By now, it’s hard not to know something about the Titanic. There are enough books and movies out there depicting her maiden voyage and tragic sinking that you’d have to live in a cave to have never heard of it. But one thing many of those books and movies don’t mention very often is the second class. They weren’t the glamorous wealthy, nor were they poor immigrants. The second class were sort of like today’s equivalent of flying in Coach. They were the people who could afford to travel comfortably, but couldn’t (or didn’t feel the need to) upgrade to the luxurious accommodations of the first class. They were businessmen, families on vacation, single women traveling to meet up with fiancés or family. Basically, they were regular folk like you and me. (That isn’t to say there weren’t regular folk in other classes. Not all of the steerage passengers were broke or downtrodden, and not all of first class were millionaires.)
When writing Destined, I made the choice to set my Titanic story in second class. Everyone writes about the luxury in first and the hardship in third, because those are more dramatic. I wanted to do something different, and since my characters wouldn’t have been able to afford to travel in first class, second was the logical way to go. It let me shine a light on an area of the ship that’s usually in shadow and feature some of the passengers no one’s ever heard of, but who had stories just as interesting as those of the Astors or the Strauses or “the unsinkable Molly Brown.” (Who, I might add, was never called Molly while she was alive. The only nickname she went by was Maggie.)
It was said that on the Titanic, the second class traveled in a luxury nearly equal to the first class of most other ocean liners. While they didn’t have much space on the ship (about 1/3 or less than the area the first class was given), they had comfortable cabins with running water and heaters, nicely-appointed public spaces and even had their meals prepared in the same kitchen that made the first class fare. The men had a richly-paneled smoking room, the women a large, bright lounge/library. There was a covered promenade deck for cooler weather that unofficially became the children’s play area, and they had their own elevator that would take them from deck to deck. In other words, they had it pretty good.
There were a few notable passengers in the second class, although they only became known after the disaster. Some of these had brief cameos in Destined. Lawrence Beesley, a teacher from England traveling to visit the U.S. and Canada, would go on to write a book about the sinking that became a staple among Titanic historians. Eva Hart, who was 7 years old when she boarded the ship, would later become one of the more outspoken survivors, often interviewed in Titanic documentaries and active in the fight against allowing salvagers to dive to the wreck. Edwina Troutt was another second class passenger who was later featured in many interviews and became a frequent and beloved speaker at conventions and other Titanic-related functions. She was 27 at the time of the voyage, and died in 1985 at the age of 100. And, of course, the famous band were traveling as second class passengers. Sadly, they all perished.
The band weren’t the only casualties, unfortunately. Out of the 284 people traveling in second class at the time of the sinking, only 118 survived (about 41%), and most of that 41% was made up of women and children. All 24 of the children were saved, while only 13 of the 97 second class women on board died. In a dramatic contrast, only 14 men out of the 167 traveling in second class made it off the ship alive. Of all the classes and crew, second class had the lowest percentage of men saved, at 8%. Even the third class men had a higher survival rate at 13%. The moral of the story? If you were a man traveling on the Titanic, the worst place you could have been on April 14 was second class.
On that cheerful note, if you’d like to read more about this section of the ship, there’s a post over at my blog with more details and photos of some of the rooms: Titanic Tuesdays Second Class. You can also find Allison on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Shelfari.
Click on all the banners for more details on the tour. Allison is offering a Grand Prize to celebrate her tour consisting of a $25 gift card from Amazon and a signed copy of her novel, Destined. For your chance to win leave on comment on this stop and visit the other participating tour stops for more chances to win this great prize:
I am happy to offer you a chance to win an ebook copy of Destined as well. Please fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. You can read my review of this great book below. A big thank you to Allison for being here today and for offering a chance to win a copy of her book.
Destined by Allison Kraft
While flying across the Atlantic on the centennial anniversary of the Titanic's tragic maiden voyage, Apolline Greer, last in a long line of vampire hunters, finds herself suddenly transported from her airliner cabin to an eerily familiar ocean liner cabin—as well as the entirely unfamiliar body of her ancestor, Noelle Greer. Upon learning that she is, in fact, on board the very ship she’s been fascinated with all her life, she knows there's only one thing to do: get off as soon as possible. But whether by destiny, freak coincidence or a really vivid dream, Apolline finds that her trip back in time comes with three very good reasons to stay on board: Alexander Walker, a handsome and charming fellow vampire hunter; Cristof, the vampire that has tormented her family for generations and very likely killed her own mother; and Sasha, the vampire Noelle was sent to kill. Time, however, is not on Apolline's side. The Titanic is on a collision course with destiny, and she only has four days to complete her quest. What seemed like more than enough time at the start quickly becomes too short as she finds that hunting vampires on a luxury ocean liner is much more difficult than she expected. Sasha and Cristof become more elusive as each day passes, while her feelings for Alexander become increasingly complicated. As that fateful night approaches, will she regret her decision to stay and witness history first-hand?
Mass Market Paperback, 290 pages
Published August 24th 2011 by CreateSpace
Four stars: A must book for any Titanic enthusiast.
Apolline Greer, a vampire hunter, slays another vampire and prepares to head home. She leads a lonely life as slayer. Her job requires her to keep to the shadows without friends or family. Being a Greer, means that she must produce a female heir to continue the line of hunters. Most Greer women don't marry the men who father their children, which makes it easier to fulfill their obligations. The night before Apolline is to leave Ireland, she heads to the local pub to take her mind off tomorrow's flight; she hates flying. Her revelry is cut short when she notices the older gentleman in the corner. Cristoff, a vampire, who has hunted down the Greer women for years. The next day on the plane, they hit turbulence and Apolline bumps her head. She awakens to a strange male voice and an unfamiliar setting. Apolline discovers that somehow she has transported back in time, and she is now inhabiting the body of her ancestor, Noelle Greer. Apolline is now in 1912 aboard the ill fated Titanic. As an avid Titanic connoisseur, Apolline knows everything there is to know about the doomed liner. Luckily, she learns that they have just departed from Cherbourg, she can get still get off because there is one more stop before Titanic sets out across the Atlantic on a collision course with a deadly iceberg. Before she can leave the ship, Apolline meets Alexander a handsome fellow vampire hunter. She has never met another hunter. Then she runs into Cristoff. She reluctantly stays on board in hopes of destroying the vampire. Can she somehow kill the creature that has stalked her family for centuries and change her destiny or will she perish with the Titanic?
What I Liked:
- What is it that draws us to the Titanic? I know I am one of many people who are intrigued by the Titanic, even now a hundred years this week since her deadly maiden voyage. I absolutely loved the attention to detail that Ms. Kraft uses in this book. It is clearly evident that the author is well read and informed on the famous steam liner. In fact, the part I enjoyed the most was the discussion at the end of the book where she shares her research and explains how she tried to make everything as historically accurate as possible. All the characters aboard the Titanic, aside from Alex, Noelle and the two vampires, are authentic Titanic passengers. Ms. Kraft even analyzes female fashion. As romantic and lovely as all the gowns are from this era, she makes it abundantly clear that dressing and moving was extremely cumbersome. If you want to read a fun, well researched book filled with all things Titanic, I would highly recommend Destined.
- I appreciated that the entire time travel concept was simplistic and not bogged down with scientific plausibility. Instead Apolline hits her head and wakes up a hundred years in the past. Neither the reader or Apolline understand why and how, or if she is even really there or if it is a dream. This quick transition makes it easy to slip into 1912. My favorite aspect of having a modern day girl in the past was that Apolline knew everything about the short voyage and she relayed all this information to the reader. Time and time again, she bumps into someone who has a significant role in the accounts of Titanic. Witnessing history through the eyes of someone in the know added to the tragedy. Imagine being on board the ship, knowing that many of the people you encounter will not survive. Would you be tempted to try and change history?
- After the sinking of Titanic, I enjoyed some of the twists and unexpected developments that occur toward the end of the book. I was surprised at the direction of the story. I can't say much more without revealing spoilers.
- I liked the inclusion of the trip to see one of the Titanic exhibits that is currently on tour. I was excited to read about many of the items that were recovered. I immediately looked up the exhibit to see if one is near me. I also loved that she uses an actual photo from a Titanic exploration for the book cover.
- I admit, I was a bit disappointed to find that Noelle was traveling in second class. I was hoping that she would be in first class, rubbing elbows with the famous rich passengers with whom we are all so familiar. At the end of the book, Ms. Kraft explains that she chose to place her characters in second class because all the attention in the past is on either third or first class. After reading this, I had a new appreciation for her efforts to bring to light many of the second class passengers. All the characters interacting with our protagonists are drawn from history. Don't worry there are plenty of sightings and mentions of some of Titanic's most famous passengers.
And The Not So Much:
- While the inclusion of vampires on Titanic added a fun paranormal twist, I found myself wishing for a little more detail on Cristoff. The vampires aren't fleshed out, you don't have a full understanding on all their characteristics. This is not a big issue since I was far more interested in Titanic than the vampires.
- As I mentioned earlier, I liked the simple time travel element but it remains muddled as to whether the trip back in time had any effects on the future. Was there some type of butterfly effect or not? Also it was unclear as to what happened to Cristoff after the sinking of Titanic. I guess I just wanted to know if Apolline's trip was already a part of history or was it a new development.
- This book does rely on a well worn Titanic theme, the quick blooming romance between new acquaintances on the short lived voyage. The reader will then agonize the entire book wondering if they will survive or if it will be the typical case where one of them dies. I won't say here to eliminate spoilers, but Ms. Kraft does take this familiar theme and add some unique twists.
Destined was a surprising, fun read that recounts the time aboard the legendary Titanic. Ms. Kraft is obviously a huge fan of Titanic, and her love of the topic shines through in this book. The novel includes a complete discussion on her research and how it all fits into the story. If you are intrigued by Titanic and want to read a book to mark the momentous occasion of the centennial anniversary of the sinking, which is this week, then I would highly recommend Destined. This book sucked me in and didn't let go, and I admit it has been awhile since I was fully engrossed into a book. Ms. Kraft allows you to see history unfold through the eyes of someone who has knowledge of the impending disaster which makes the read so much more entertaining. Get a copy of this one.
"The ship. The darkness. That impossibly starry sky. The mysterious man holding me, keeping me from falling overboard. The emptiness. The silence. The panic."
"People have always been fascinated by death, and the more dramatic, the better."
"I was seeing the Titanic in person. My fingers itched to reach out and touch the wall, the furniture---anything. To touch history."
"The moon was a thin crescent overhead, surrounded by the thousands upon thousands of stars that twinkled impossibly bright against the black velvet night."
"Forget vampires; turn-of-the century women's undergarments had just taken over as the epitome of evil as far as I was concerned."
"After all, unlike me, he wasn't facing the prospect of squeezing himself into a bone-crushing torture device masquerading as underwear."
"Other than those few instances, everyone I met was just another nameless face, destined to one day be no more than a faceless name on a list of survivors."
"They say that everyone has a soul mate out there. One person in the whole world whose heart fits perfectly with their own. One person with whom they are meant to spend their life."
A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.