Friday, October 14, 2011
The Time-Traveling Fashionista
April 5, 2011
Louise Lambert is not your average middle schooler: her jumbo walk in closet is her favorite hide-out and if she can't live in a classic movie (the kind with Cary Grant or Audrey Hepubrn) she'd at least like to dress like she does.
She only owns a few (but great) vintage pieces and is hoping to acquire more so she's beyond intrigued when a fancy, but mysterious invitation to a vintage dress sale arrives in the mail.
It's at that dress sale when things really change for Louise. Trying on the "perfect powdery pink gown," Louise is transformed - and not only metaphorically. Louise finds herself back in time, on a cruise ship, with everyone calling her Ms Baxter. Louise is having a fantastic time, back in the time she finds so romantic, with fashion icons and more gowns than she's ever seen . . . but what happens when she realizes where she really is? Will she be able to get back home?
Readers will realize a lot sooner than Louise that she is in fact - as Ms Baxter - now aboard the RMS Titanic. In fact, it seems a little strange that it does take her as long as it does to put together just what ship she is on (she's studying the Titanic in school and anyone who's seen the movie would recognize that some of those she meets were passengers).
That aside, though, it's great fun to see her explore the Titanic and meet the well known individuals aboard. At times she did seem older than a 12-year-old girl, but that's possibly subjective.
The fashion that was incorporated throughout the story was a great addition and made for an story that was different that just 'girl travels back in time and inadvertently ends up on the Titanic.'
This is a light, fun and fast read, one that I recommend to anyone interested in fashion and/or the Titanic. The gorgeous illustrations by Sandra Suy really add to the novel and are worth really paying attention to.
September 13, 2011
Claudia Gray's Fateful offers another, but quite different Titanic set YA novel. Teenager Tess Davies has worked for the Lisles for years. Now, with the family aboard the RMS Titanic and headed for America, Tess is ready to get out. Once the ship reaches its destination, Tess plans to make her own way - no longer a servant.
But she loses her focus when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who grabs her attention at once. Though, with Alec in such a hurry to leave Europe and whispers around the ship of scandal involving him and a French actress who died suddenly and mysteriously - as well as Tess' strict employer - maybe she needs to steer clear of him.
And all of that before she even learns just how much danger even having Alec as an acquaintance will put her in. Alec has real enemies aboard the ship - enemies who aren't afraid to use - or hurt - her . . . There's also the fact that werewolves are real and all of this is taking place on the Titanic's first (and last) voyage.
Fateful starts off slow - reading wise at least - the characters and action is introduced quickly.While it's hard to get into the story at first, it becomes worth it. The drama and intrigue really do pick up half to two thirds of the way through the novel. Things get suspenseful and then get more suspenseful.
The drama of the story overpowers the romance. The other plot lines are enough to carry the novel but it would have been nice to feel a little more chemistry between the two romantic leads. There seemed to be too much competing for the romance to really shine.
With all of the great drama and suspense, you can forget what is inevitably going to happen to the ship and her passengers. It is the Titanic and we all know what happens to the Titanic, but readers get so drawn in to the story it's easy to forget what's approaching (so quickly, too).
Fateful seems to have excellent historic research and gives readers a fantastic peak into life aboard the Titanic - both in first and third class - granted with some werewolves thrown in!
Thank you to Little, Brown for The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Harper for Fateful