New York City, 1898
New York City, 1898
I edged behind a burgundy drape as my mother raised her arms wide and began to sway rhythmically, eyes shut, head thrown back.
Review: Distant Waves is narrated by Jane the second oldest sister of five. Her mum is widowed and makes her living through spiritualism and moves the family to Spirit Vale a town chock-full of mediums, tarot readers and the like. They have a good life there but eventually the older girls, Jane and Mimi are starting to want to explore the larger world. The chance comes when Jane is persuaded by Mimi to enter a journalism competition and for her entry, she decides to interview the inventor Nikola Tesla whose path the family crossed twelve years before.
Mimi and Jane sneak away from their home to make their way to New York City and the Waldorf-Astoria where Tesla is staying. The two girls proceed to meet a number of rich and famous people and Mimi seizes the opportunity to travel abroad and Jane meets a young man.
Jane returns to Spirit Vale, alone and in disgrace. Time passes, before the the story moves to England and finally on to the Titanic...
I have to say I was drawn to Distant Waves by the beautiful cover and I'm glad I was. It's a fascinating story which involves quite a few real-life people and events, though the main family is fictional. Jane is a likeable and strong character whom I enjoyed spending time with. There is a romance for her but it isn't the main theme of the story. It was the evocation of the early twentieth century, the pre First World War atmosphere and of course spending some time on the Titanic that kept me enthralled. An event takes place towards the end which I should have been prepared for - the clues are all there - but I wasn't!
(The US edition subtitles this book, A Novel of the Titanic which is a perhaps a little misleading as only about 1/3rd of the book actually takes place on-board but the ship is alluded to much earlier than that.)