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Three sisters. Three ships. One heartbreaking story.
1911. As Emma packs her trunk to join the ocean liner Olympic as a stewardess, she dreams of earning enough to provide a better life for both her sisters. With their photograph tucked away in her luggage, she promises to be back soon – hoping that sickly Lily will keep healthy, and wild Ruby will behave. But neither life at sea nor on land is predictable, and soon the three sisters’ lives are all changed irrevocably…
Now. When Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic, she’s shocked to discover a photo of three sisters inside – her grandmother only ever mentioned one sister, who died tragically young. Who is the other sister, and what happened to her? Harriet’s questions lead her to the story of three sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and a shattering revelation about three sisters torn apart…
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What a wonderful read this book was! Told from past and present, this book follows the story of Emma in 1911, working on the ocean liners of Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and Harriet, in present day, who is trying to unravel her grandmother’s secrets. I loved the dual timeline, and whilst I enjoyed both stories equally, Emma’s storyline definitely had the edge! Harriet was a lovely character who is contemplating downsizing following her husband’s death. I did feel for her throughout her story, with her one daughter, who she sees regularly, barely coping with her son’s cancer diagnosis and then she hardly hears from her other daughter who is estranged from the family. Emma was also a great character, and thanks to the history books and the author’s descriptive writing I could just imagine what it must have been like for her to be working on these majestic liners!
The storyline switches between the two times easily and each has their own storylines with them cleverly weaving towards the ending of the book. Both perspectives flowed well and I found myself hooked into their stories very early in the book. This is definitely a book about family relationships and how complex these can be. It does though also have a little mystery for the reader to try and work out, and I have to admit I was surprised with the twists I found in this book! I certainly didn’t see them coming and thought it was a great way to add that something extra to an already captivating story!
I really enjoyed this book and am already lining up others by this author to carry on the magic that she seems to put on every page. A book full of history, family and love which will enthral you from the very beginning! Would definitely recommend!
Kathleen McGurl lives in Christchurch, UK, with her husband. She has two sons who have both now left home. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has published several novels with HQ and self-published another. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and written three How To books for writers. After a long career in the IT industry she became a full time writer in 2019. When she’s not writing, she’s often out running, slowly.