Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Promises
Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


Sheila's favorite books »

2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 6 books toward her goal of 90 books.
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Friday, April 29, 2022

Facing the Enemy by Paige Edwards-Contemporary Romantic Suspense Book Review and Giveaway


 

Product Details

     Title: Facing the Enemy
     Author: Paige Edwards
     Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense 
  •  Publisher ‏ : ‎ Covenant Communications (April 4, 2022)
  •  Language ‏ : ‎ English
  •  Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  •  ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1524420999
  •  ***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***


Book Summary

Lady Elise Henderson lives two separate lives. At home in Scotland, she’s the titled daughter of the Marquess of Roxbury, an heiress in her own right. In London, however, she’s Elise Taylor, a top MI6 operative for the “home office.” But when a devastating accident threatens to end her career, Elise is left with far too much time for self-reflection and the regret of a decision made long ago that features one man: fellow MI6 agent Harry Benson.

Harry Benson, the son of servants, has loved Elise for the better part of a decade. But life took them on separate journeys until their worlds converged once more. An immediate assignment to the Scottish Borders leaves Harry little time to make provisions for his small, rambunctious son, Sammy. Harry knows only one person he can rely on for the boy’s care―Elise. When Elise brings Sammy to her ancestral estate, she never imagines that a nemesis from her past looms in the shadows, hungry for revenge. Stalked at every turn, Elise and Harry discover that fighting their feelings for one another is futile, but can they survive long enough to get another shot at true love?


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My Review
Facing the Enemy is a new contemporary romantic suspense novel by Author Paige Edwards. I love the setting of this novel in Scotland, just like Edward's previous romantic suspense novel, Danger on the Loch. Even though this book is said to be a stand-alone novel, there are characters that we met in Danger on the Loch. I loved this aspect and felt like we already knew the many characters in Facing the Enemy. 

The main characters have lived exciting lives as M16 agents. Elise and Harry have known each other since they were teenagers. Their early romance was nixed by Elise's parents who are Scottish Royalty. Now years later after being M16 partners, they're still in love but didn't realize it until danger and turmoil enter their lives. Even with the many setbacks that Elise had, Harry was still there to encourage her. I really loved Harry's son Sammy and how he brought out certain things in Elise that she hadn't allowed herself to feel before. 

This very suspenseful novel and its unquestionable, crazy bad guy, will keep you on the edge of your seat. The ending of the novel is harrowing and must be read in one sitting; trust me on this. The romance is clean and gut-wrenching at the same time. Thankfully, a certain person realizes they can't run from love. 

Facing the Enemy brings out a myriad of emotions that have many highs and lows. Truly though, this novel is worth the crazy and intense ride. You will want to take this ride for yourself by purchasing this novel today.



***Meet Author Paige Edwards***
Paige Edwards is an award-winning author, a Reader's Favorite Book Award Finalist, and Forward INDIES, RONE, and Whitney Awards finalist of inspirational romantic suspense novels. She holds a degree in interior design and has worked professionally in that field. Due to her strong British roots, Paige’s books are often set in the UK, and she hops the pond whenever she gets the chance. She is styled the Lady Paige Edwards when in Scotland, but her favorite title is Grandma. When she needs a break from writing, she serves as president of her area's Interfaith Community Council, is fond of digging in the dirt (what some might call gardening), biking battlefields, and kayaking the lake. Paige is a member of ACFW and loves to connect with her readers. 
You can find her @authorpaigeedwards.com or follow her on BookBub, AMAZON, Goodreads, and Instagram.




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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pretending at Love: A Greenbank Romance (Greenbank Romances Book 2) By Karen Thornell-Contemporary Romance Book Review


 

Product Details

  • Title: Pretending at Love
  • Author: Karen Thornell
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Series: A Greenbank Romance (Greenbank Romances Book 2)
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09VWMHMWQ
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (March 17, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 277 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8408778553
  • ***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***


Book Summary

A stalker, a Hawaiian wedding, and an attraction that should NOT exist between friends.
Friends who are pretending to date, that is.

A random run-in at a restaurant brings high school friends April and Jackson back together. A not so random run-in with April's new stalker starts a VERY short charade of Jackson pretending to be April's boyfriend.
That is, until he needs a date to a destination wedding. And who can say no to a free Hawaiian vacation?

But when feelings beyond friendship start to develop, can these two separate the fake from the real? And if they can... Is it worth the risk?

The second book in the series, Pretending at Love is a clean romantic comedy with a happily ever after and can be read as a standalone story.


My Review
Pretending at Love was a cute, refreshing love story. It was fun and takes place in a great setting at a Hawaiian resort. The main characters Jackson and April have been friends since high school but they reconnect years later. One thing leads to another as they bump into each other again, make a plan to help each other out of sticky situations, and now they're pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend at the Hawaiian wedding of Jackson's friends.

There were so many funny things in this story. April and Jackson keep finding themselves in awkward situations as the Hawaiian wedding they are part of think they are a "couple". Jackson and April do activities that all of the couples are doing such as yoga, couple massages, and meditation. They can't help but grow closer together through their embarrassing encounters. The humor is great and Thornell does a super job with the witty banter and creating situations for her characters to bungle through. Like I said, I laughed a lot.

This clean romance has a few spicy kisses but nothing else. The chemistry and growth of their relationship was realistic and made an enjoyable story. This is the first novel I've read by Karen Thornell and I want to read many more. I recommend this sweet romance and know it'll make the perfect summer read. 

***Meet Author Karen Thornell***

Karen Thornell grew up reading when she should have been sleeping, but it wasn't until 2019 that she started writing. Tired of ending books and saying 'goodbye' to beloved characters, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters that lived in her head always. It was probably a mark of sleep deprivation that she wanted people living in her head, but the idea was planted regardless.

Karen lives in Utah with her husband and kids. When not writing contemporary or regency romance, she spends her free time doing endless loads of laundry, playing board games, and, yes, talking to those characters in her head.

Learn more about Karen and her books HERE:



Purchase Your Own Copy of
Pretending at Love: HERE

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Lily of the Valley: Book Two in The Gents series By Sarah M. Eden-Book Review


 

Product Details


    Title: Lily of the Valley
    Author: Sarah M. Eden
    Genre: Georgian Romance
    Series: The Gents
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Covenant Communications (April 10, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1524421251
  • ***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***




Book Summary

Cumberland, 1786

Amateur inventor Kester Barrington prefers the peace and quiet of his estate to the bustle of Society. But when his tight-knit group of friends, the Gents, descends on Livingsley Hall for their annual gathering, he stoically joins in their activities. It all seems exhausting―until an unexpected addition to the party catches his eye: his new neighbor, the lovely Violet.

Violet Ridley longs to make friends in this new corner of the country, but her family’s fortune was made through investments rather than inheritance, and Society can be fickle. So when tragedy forces her family to shelter at neighboring Livingsley Hall, Violet is delighted to receive a warm welcome from the Gents. In particular, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Kester. The pair is a study in contrasts: Violet, with her sunny disposition, and Kester, with his prickly fa├žade. Their connection is impossible to deny, but both Kester and Violet harbor heavy constraints. As their association becomes increasingly tangled and confused, their only hope of pursuing a life together is to trust one another with the very truths that could tear them apart.


My Review
Lily of the Valley is the second book in The Gents series. Once again in this Georgian era romance, we follow a close group of friends called the Gents. We got to know them in the first book in the series called, Forget Me Not as the romance between Lucas and Julia blossomed. In this novel, the odd couple Kester and Violet are drawn together. Kes is suffering from years of guilt and loneliness. Violet has her own challenge of living with a disability.

Kes is known among the Gents as, "Grumpy Uncle" and often lives up to his name. Violet is full of sunshine and optimism. This novel tells the story of two people hurting that go through ups and downs. There isn't a lot of action but the story is geared toward more character building. It's a slow burn as Kes and Violet come to understand their feelings as they work together on projects. There are other things going on with the friends and it will be fun to see who's story comes next.

Lucas and Julia are still my favorite couple from the first book. Kes and Violet suited each other well with their common interests and intelligence. This is another fun book by Sarah Eden.



Meet Author Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2020’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, Forget Me Not, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. 

Sarah is represented by Pam Pho at D4EO Literary Agency.​


Sarah’s links

Sarah M. Eden on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahMEden/

Awards & Recognitions

  • Seeking Persephone, 2008 Whitney Award finalist, Romance

  • Courting Miss Lancaster, 2010 Whitney Award finalist, Romance

  • Longing for Home, 2013 Foreword Reviews IndieFab “Book of the Year” Gold Medalist, Romance

  • Longing for Home, 2013 AML winner “Novel of the Year”

  • Longing for Home, 2013 Whitney Award finalist, Romance

  • Longing for Home: Hope Springs, 2014 Whitney Award winner, "Best Novel of the Year"

  • Longing for Home: Hope Springs, 2014 Whitney Award winner, "Best Romance"

  • Longing for Home: Hope Springs, 2014 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • The Sheriffs of Savage Wells, 2016 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • The Sheriffs of Savage Wells, 2016 Whitney Award finalist

  • Sarah M. Eden, 2017 Best of State, Gold Medal winner, Fiction

  • Love Remains, 2017 Whitney Award winner, “Best Romance”

  • Sarah M. Eden, 2018 Best of State, Gold Medal winner, Short Story

  • Ashes on the Moor, 2018 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award, Silver Medalist, Romance

  • The Heart of a Vicar, 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • The Lady and the Highwayman, 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award, Gold Medalist, Romance

  • Healing Hearts, 2019 Holt Medallion finalist

  • Forget Me Not, 2020 Whitney Award finalist

  • The Gentleman and the Thief, 2020 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • Forget Me Not, 2020 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award, Gold Medalist, Romance



***Purchase Your Own Copy of***
Lily of the Valley HERE:

Monday, April 11, 2022

A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice by Rebecca Connolly-Book Review, Author Interview & Book Excerpt


 

Publication Date: 4/5/22

Hardcover

ISBN: 9781629729923

Retail Price: $26.99

Page Count: 320

Historical Fiction

Cover art: Chris Clor / Getty Images; Jarmo Piironen / EyeEm / Getty Images

Book design: © Shadow Mountain

Art Direction: Richard Erickson

Design: Heather G. Ward

***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***


Book Summary

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.


Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

 

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

 

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly, this novel is a compelling, heart-pounding account of two eyewitnesses to an epic disaster. Rostron’s heroic and compassionate leadership, his methodical preparations for rescue, and his grit and determination to act honorably and selflessly to save lives and care for the survivors sets the course for this awe-inspiring story.

Purchase Your Copy Today

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My Review

Reading A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice is an experience. Readers are immediately whisked away to April 14, 1912, the day before the great Titanic sank. 

The story is told from two perspectives, Captain Arthur Rostron of the ship Carpathia, and Kate Connolly from Ireland whose heading to America sailing on the brand new ship, The Titanic. I really liked how the story went between these two real-life people in the same time frame. Once I started reading this book, I was drawn into the novel and I literally could not stop. 


While reading this historic fiction, you know the ultimate outcome but readers have never seen the story played out like this. I found it fascinating to read about the humble and wise Captain Rostron who commandeered the only ship that came to the rescue of the survivors of The Titanic. He should be viewed as a Hero but he justified his actions by saying he just did the "right thing". Author Rebecca Connolly writes the tension and angst so well you can feel the fear as if you were there. I was also quite moved by how the passengers of the Carpathia gave up their cabins, clothes, food, and money for all of the Titanic survivors brought aboard. Everyone jumped in to help despite their social status. 


A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice is an emotional read of bravery and steadfastness. It's the story of The Titanic that has never been told before. It's a novel that I highly recommend. History lovers will want to read this and anyone interested in The Titanic. The author did an outstanding job. 




***Meet Author Rebecca Connolly***



REBECCA CONNOLLY is the author of more than two dozen novels. She calls herself a Midwest girl, having lived in Ohio and Indiana. She’s always been a bookworm, and her grandma would send her books almost every month so she would never run out.

Book Fairs were her carnival, and libraries are her happy place. She received a master’s degree from West Virginia University.

 

Learn more about Rebecca and her books at rebeccaconnolly.com

 


For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at chansen@shadowmountain.com





****Author Interview With Rebecca Connolly****


What inspired you to write A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice?


I visited the Titanic museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2015, and it made the history of the Titanic more real to me than it ever had before. One of the final parts of the exhibit talked about the rescue, and it mentioned the Carpathia and Captain Arthur Rostron. I had never heard either of those names, so I decided to look them up when I came home. What I found was as inspiring as it was unexpected, and I knew almost at once that the real story needed to be told and I wanted to be the one to tell it!


What is unique to this story that people may not generally know about the Titanic sinking and the rescue by the Carpathia?


In the wake of the Titanic sinking, the disaster portion of the story has been what has lingered throughout history and the minds of generations to follow. The movie from 1997 has given a solid view of the sinking itself, though some details are inaccurate, but the rescue is practically skipped over. What is unique about this story is that we see what led up to the rescue, the miraculous events that transpired to get Carpathia to the disaster site when it did, and what happened to the survivors once they were pulled from the sea.


Are you related to the main character, Kate Connolly?


Sadly, I cannot find a direct connection to her. The Connolly line in both her family and my own ancestors gets fairly muddled back in Ireland due to how common the surname is there and the records of the time. I’m still looking, though!

                                           Kate Connolly


What do you hope readers take away from this novel?


I hope readers remember the power of doing what is good and right, no matter the consequences, and that we can honor Captain Arthur Rostron and the Carpathia whenever we think of Titanic.


Writing historical fiction is something different than you're used to. What did you find most challenging and/or exciting about writing this book?


The research is HARD. The sheer amount of work involved in getting the details as accurate as possible is staggering—way worse than any reports I had to do throughout my education! But it also brings the story to life in a beautiful, powerful way, and, if you’re lucky, it draws you further into the depths there, which makes telling that story more personal.


How did you conduct your research for A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice?


I was lucky with this book. There are scores of very dedicated historians and Titanic researchers who have created a very different databases that contain a wealth of information. That was my starting point. I also discovered a database of the US and British Inquiry proceedings that had full transcripts, which was a gold mine! There were also biographies, survivor accounts, crew accounts… It was a nice blend of digital references as well as books!


What was something new you learned about this event 

while conducting your research?


I had no idea that the rescue ship had to go through an ice field to get to the survivors! It makes sense, but somehow, I had never considered that.


Why should readers pick up this novel?


I think readers should pick this up because we think we know the story of the Titanic, but we don’t know as much as we think we do! There is so much more to the story, and this book gives us an inside look!


Why do you think the story of Titanic resonates so strongly

 with people 110 years later?


There is something about disasters and tragedies that still pulls at us as human beings, whether it is a brutal war, a struggle for a crown, or the sinking of an ‘unsinkable’ ship. Titanic still resonates because of its impact on the world, because of its catastrophic losses, and because even now, we still can’t look away. We want to be on the ship to see the finery and smell the fresh paint, we want to watch the lifeboats cast off, we want to see families reunited, we want to feel our skin tingle with the cold. But sometimes we romanticize the Titanic and its sinking, and I hope that this book reminds us of the reality of its loss.


What inspired your decision to choose Captain Rostron as one of the two perspectives for this story?


Arthur Rostron was one of the most compelling human beings I have ever come across in my life, and his story just moved me. He was a simple man of faith who dedicated his life to the sea, and yet he made a split-second decision that saved the lives of 705 people, risking the lives of his passengers, his crew, and himself to do so. But when he was asked about his actions afterward, he never claimed to be doing anything more than what was right. He did not see himself as a hero; just as a sailor who tried to do his duty.

                                       Captain Arthur Rostron


Where can readers connect with you?


                                                      Lots of places!


 Website or Blog https://rebeccaconnolly.com 


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.connolly.books/ 


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author.rebecca.connolly/

 

Twitter https://twitter.com/authorrconnolly 


Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/rebeccaconnolly/newslettersignup



Facts About The Titanic


-20: the number of horses needed to transport the main anchor. 

-$7,500,000: the cost of building the RMS Titanic. 

-269.1 meters: the length of the Titanic (882 feet 9 inches). -220 to 245 feet: the estimated length of the gash caused by the collision (minimum to maximum length). 

-10,000: the approximate number of lamp bulbs used on the ship. 

-There were 840 staterooms in all, 416 in First Class, 162 in Second Class, and 262 in Third Class. 

-825 tons: the amount of coal used per day. Sister ship Olympic, comparable in size but with lower gross register tons of 45,324, had a daily coal consumption of around 674 tons. 

-1,050 tons: the amount of coal used per day by the Cunard ships, which although faster were also smaller and much less fuel-efficient. 

-13: the number of honeymooning couples on the voyage. -49%: the percentage of passenger places that went unused (the loss of life could have been far great still). 

-64: the number of lifeboats the Titanic ship could have been capable of carrying 

-48: the number of lifeboats originally planned for the Titanic 

-20: the number of lifeboats Titanic actually carried 

-472: the number of lifeboat spaces that went unused. 

-20: the number of people said to have canceled their plans to sail aboard the Titanic after dreaming that she would sink. 

-60 minutes: the delay between the collision and the first Titanic lifeboats launching. The Titanic, like her sister ship Olympic, had not been fitted with any form of public address system. 

58 miles: distance of the rescue vessel Carpathia, at the time of the distress call. 

-15-45 minutes: the typical maximum life expectancy of the Titanic victims in the water. At 11.40pm on 14 April 1912, the RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg At around 2.20am on 15 April, the Titanic disappeared beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean Striking the water was like a thousand knives being driven into one’s body. The temperature was 28 degrees, four degrees below freezing. 

-Charles Lightoller: Titanic Second Officer, 

"Colonel John Jacob Astor IV was the wealthiest passenger onboard and believed to be one of the richest people in the world at the time, with a personal fortune that was estimated at between $90- 150 million, which today would make him a billionaire a few times over. You could actually walk miles along the decks and passages covering different ground all the time. I was thoroughly familiar with pretty well every type of ship afloat but it took me 14 days before I could, with confidence, find my way from one part of that ship to another." -Charles Lightoller, Titanic Second Officer


Read An Excerpt From 

A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Excerpt 1: Pages 43-49 Chapter Five RMS Carpathia • April 14, 1912 • 8:00 PM


 “Messages, sir.” Arthur turned in mild surprise to see Harold Cottam, the young Marconi operator, standing behind him and holding out a few slips of paper. He and Officers Hankinson, Dean, and Bisset had been chatting on the bridge about the day’s events and what they anticipated for tomorrow, just as they did every evening before Arthur retired, and he hadn’t expected anything else. He’d forgotten all about the messages received over the radio. 


He smiled at the young man. “Ah, thank you. Anything good?” 


Cottam shrugged. “Ice warnings from the Mesaba and Californian. Passenger messages otherwise. The Marshalls will be delighted; their nieces are on Titanic and sent them a line or two.”


 “And how are things on Titanic?” 


“Apparently quite perfect, sir.” 


Arthur grunted once, shaking his head. “As is to be expected, no doubt.” He paused, looking over the papers. “Gentlemen, consider the ice warnings from Mesaba and Californian noted, but they are all well to the north of our course.” 


The stoic Hankinson gave a brisk nod. “Yes, Captain,” Dean replied. “Noted, sir.” Bisset also nodded his affirmation. 


Arthur nodded at his officers—excellent men, all of them—and then turned to Cottam. “Did I hear that you know the Marconi man aboard Titanic?” 


Cottam seemed surprised by the question and nodded. “Yes, sir. Jack Phillips.” 


Arthur tapped the messages received into the palm of his hand, but Cottom offered no more information. He raised a brow. “Well, be sure and greet him from all of us while we’re in range of them.” 


“Thank you, Captain. I will.” Cottam dipped his chin, turned on his heel, and moved down the ladder back the way he had come. As simple as that. Cottam would send the message—likely now, as it happened. Would the marvels of the world never cease? Arthur glanced at his second officer, smiling. “Wonderful thing, wireless, isn’t it?” Seeming to understand his amusement, Bisset nodded. “Indeed, sir.” Dean scoffed a laugh into a fist, but said nothing.


 “Now, then,” Arthur said, feeling the length of the day setting in. “Bisset, it is just after eight. You have the watch until ten. Dean, you’re on after. Hankinson, you are relieved for the night. I’ll walk the deck, mark our course, and then retire.” 


“Right you are, Captain.” Dean clipped a firm nod, as though the action accompanied the weight of command in the captain’s absence. One day, in the not too distant future, Dean would bear the weight of command fully, Arthur had no doubt about that. He turned from the bridge and leisurely made his way out to the promenade deck, the cool night air greeting him as an old friend. A few couples strolled along the deck as well, looking out at the brilliant night sky and its reflection in the ocean. Arthur felt far more relaxed and at ease than he had for days, and he paused to fully appreciate the view around him. It was a clear night, and such a sight was magical on the open sea. That was something he hoped never to grow accustomed to, no matter how many nights he spent upon the waves. The sound of the ship parting the water and the occasional wave slapping against the ship were the most soothing sounds in the world. Though the steamships were large enough that the roll of the water and the tide was almost never felt, every now and then, Arthur missed the sensation. He greeted a few of the couples and families politely as they passed him, though none stopped for conversation. He was glad of it. This moment was for him and for the sea, though there was never an opportunity to enjoy true serenity while in command. Duty, responsibility, honor—they called on him first. Only when the ship was near to its destination would he fully relax, fully be at ease, and fully feel able to breathe. Yet he loved the command as well. There was no rest in it, but there was satisfaction. Which was, in itself, a kind of rest. Here, on the sea, he knew his place and his course. He knew clarity, and he knew his abilities, both of which allowed him a dignity essential to his position. All for love of the sea. Respect for her, and patronage of her. Never mastery, only navigation. She was a fickle creature, the sea. And how he adored her. 


All too soon, he was alone on the deck and the lateness of the hour upon him. He turned to retreat to his cabin, touching the brim of his hat at a passing couple making one more venture into the night. He removed his hat the moment he entered his cabin, tossing it onto the desk filling one side of his room. It was a neat, tidy room, hardly better than the cabins his officers enjoyed, aside from a bit more space and the connection to the chart room. His cabin was also more conveniently located to the bridge, but beyond that . . .Well, an able seaman only needed a proper place to lay his head when he took his rest. Arthur quickly undid the buttons of his jacket and shrugged out of it, hanging it in the bureau. He brushed at the fabric, though it was still as pristine as it had been that morning. Somehow, it never seemed to tarnish as the day went on. He worked at the buttons of his waistcoat next, followed by his white shirt. Collar, cuffs, and tie were pulled off and set on his desk with his hat. He stared at the pieces of his uniform, then exhaled the weight of a full day’s work before moving to his bed. He set his pocket watch on the bedside table, as usual, then picked up his Bible. He never slept right without reading some verses to set his thoughts heavenward, and he never dared make his account of the day without the proper perspective. When he couldn’t manage to read another word, let alone write one, he completed his undressing and donned his nightshirt. Murmuring a few words of prayer, he laid his head down on his pillow, closed his eyes, and welcomed his sleep.


 *** “Captain!” The door to Arthur’s cabin was thrown open, and thundering feet entered, light bursting into the small space with nearly as much urgency as the people accompanying it. He squinted, fumbling for his pocket watch, the numbers blurring before his eyes. Half-past twelve, was it? Who the dickens was the cheeky beggar coming into his cabin at this time of night—and without knocking? They were about to get a quick lesson in ship etiquette they would not soon forget. 

“Sir!” 


Groaning as the lights in his cabin suddenly flicked on, Arthur closed his eyes, trying for patience in spite of his weariness.


 “First Officer Dean, knocking before entering is generally—” 


 “It’s the Titanic, sir,” Dean interrupted, his voice nearing a frantic pace and pitch. “We’ve just received an urgent distress message. She’s struck ice and is sinking fast. She requires immediate assistance.”


 It was what? Instantly alert, Arthur sat up and swung his legs over the bed. He stared at his first officer. Dean was by no means an alarmist, but he looked as terrified as though they themselves had struck ice. The same horror, the same cold depth, suddenly sank into Arthur’s stomach. And that decided everything. “Mr. Dean, turn the ship around, steer northwest. I’ll work out the course for you in a moment.” Dean nodded, already darting out of the cabin. How far were they from Titanic? Northwest was the general direction, he knew, but what was the range? How soon could they get there? How bad was it? So many questions. And decisions upon decisions would need to be made very shortly. 


Arthur pushed to his feet and turned, spotting Cottam, whose eyes were as wide as the moon herself. “Mr. Cottam, are you sure it’s the Titanic?” 


Cottam swallowed. “Yes, sir.” 


“You are absolutely certain?” 


A nod. “Quite certain, sir.”


 “And you are equally as certain that she needs our assistance?” 


Cottam squared his jaw. “I am, sir.” 


Arthur held the lad’s eyes for a moment, assured by the certainty he saw there more than the words he heard. “All right. Come with me, I need to plot our course. Message them and tell them that we are coming as fast as we can.” He moved into the chart room adjacent to his cabin, waving for Cottam to follow, which the lad did, nearly stepping on his heels. Arthur quickly moved a chair out of their path and shoved the top two charts out of the way, finding the one he needed beneath them. “Right.” Eying the charts, Arthur’s mind began to spin, calculating the course, his heart pounding. “Were you given a position?” 


Cottam thrust a slip of paper into Arthur’s hand. “Here, sir.” 


Arthur glanced at it, his heart beating a thunderous tempo. He read it twice more, committing the position to memory. 41°46’ N, 50°14’ W. “Who calculated this?” Arthur asked, flicking his eyes to Cottam. “Did they say?” 


Cottam shrugged, the motion tense and angled. “An officer, sir. That’s all I know.”


 Arthur’s eyes darted back to the chart, marking his position in relation to the Titanic’s with a stub of a pencil. They were not as close as he would like to be, not nearly close enough, but he wasn’t about to let that stop them. Other boats would have heard the call and replied to her message as well, so all he had to do was get his ship there as fast as he could and be prepared for whatever they might face. He ran his fingers over the positions again, double- and triple-checking, nodding to himself before turning to Cottam. “Very good. Tell them we’re on our way. Tell them . . . tell them four hours.” 


Cottam rushed from the room, leaving behind an eerie silence broken only by Arthur’s racing heart. It thudded anxiously against his chest, each beat bringing with it more pressure. Arthur found it almost difficult to breathe, but there was no time to think about that. His hands flew across the familiar charts again, details and figures appearing and forming with an ease he had rarely known before. There was no time for questions, hesitations, or doubts. Only action. “Four hours,” he murmured, shaking his head. “I’ll make it less if there’s any way.” But whether there would be any way was another matter altogether. He nodded to himself and hurried back into his cabin, flinging off his nightshirt and tugging back on his uniform. He did up the buttons as quickly as his shaking fingers could manage, doing his best to steady his breathing. He tugged on his jacket and reached for his hat, pausing for a moment. Bowing his head, the words fled from his lips. “Father God, let us get to them. Guide our hands and our feet, our ship, and our hearts. Let it be enough.” 


He swallowed, the action harder than he would have liked. The scope of this undertaking grew in his mind by the second. But there was no time for doubts, no time for fears. It was all up to faith and action now. “Amen.” Placing his hat on his head, he strode out to the bridge, a new fervency accompanying his pulse. All thoughts of sleep or peace were erased from his mind. There would be no peace for anyone tonight.


Advance Praise

 

“Reading A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice made me realize that the full story of the tragedy of the unsinkable Titanic hasn't been shared yet. Captain Rostron's decisive and heroic actions as he prepared his crew for what they were about to encounter was inspirational and heartrending. I've found a new hero in a man who never hesitated in doing the right thing.”

—Heather B. Moore, author of The Paper Daughters of Chinatown


A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice is a haunting yet hopeful story of one man's rush to the rescue.”

—Jen Geigle Johnson, author of A Foreign Crown