Friday, September 3, 2021

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee


The story of the Titanic is one that we all know, but Stacey Lee gives us a new perspective on that fated voyage with Luck of the Titanic.

Valora Luck dreams of escaping London and becoming a circus performer with her brother in New York City. Although she has a ticket for the Titanic, she's turned away at the gate because she's Chinese and the US has recently passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Thus begins her ruse - she drapes herself in a mourning veil and sneaks aboard as a widowed English aristocrat. Once onboard, she must deftly navigate her two identities - her real one, as a Chinese-British acrobat desperate to convince her brother to join her once they get to New York- and her fake identity as an imperious upperclass London socialite.  The deep striations in society are highlighted by the differences between the third class and first class experiences on the ship; Valora is charismatic and is able to move between the two worlds with relative ease, but she knows that she (and her new Chinese friends) are constantly on the brink of being found out.

And then, of course, tragedy strikes. We all know how the story ends, but I was surprised by how this story ended. Historical fiction fans will enjoy this one. 

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