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Apr 6, 2012

By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer

A perfect weekend book to remember the Titanic's anniversary
Barbour Publishing; March 1, 2012
Paperback 320 pages
Review copy generously provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: 3.5 stars

Remember the Titanic 100 years after its doomed voyage with Tricia Goyer’s fictional portrayal of one woman’s journey. To Amelia Gladstone, this ship means promise of seeing family again. To Quentin Walpole, the Titanic represents a new start in America…if he can get onboard. All seems lost until Amelia offers him a ticket, securing his passage—and bringing him face-to-face with his railroad tycoon father and older brother, Damian. As Amelia works to reconcile father and son, she finds herself the object of both brothers’ affection. Can she choose between two brothers? Or will she lose everything to the icy waters of the Atlantic?
It's the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and so here comes my second read this year set against that sad voyage. So much hope and promise for the record breaking steamliner, and so much horrifying tragedy. Tricia Goyer uses this event as a mere background to a story of a young woman looking for her life's direction while making the journey from England to America. Amelia is a lover and a romantic, who sees the goodness in everyone from the stewards to the first class occupants. Her faith in God is unwavering as she seeks his guidance on who to choose to love, because she only has a few days to make this decision.

She is on her way to meet a potential husband in America, Mr. Chapman, who paid for her voyage. However, while on the Titanic Amelia meets Quentin Walpole, a drifter in need of her help, and his brother Damian who wants to control everything around him, including Amelia. Amelia must not have had much male attention before the voyage, as she fawns in the glory of being admired for her beauty and kindness throughout most of the novel. She continually aks God, 'Who is the man for me? Show me a sign....' as she struggles to decide whether wealth and financial security equates to happiness and stability, or could she perhaps let love lead the way.

And then of course, towards the end of the novel... the mighty ship sinks, taking with it icons of the time. In Amelia's world, who is left standing? And patiently waiting, there is always Mr. Chapman, the one who she thought she wanted to marry before she met the Walpole brothers on the Titanic. While this is a relatively short book at 320 pages, Tricia Goyer does a good job of immersing us in the story with historical details of the Titanic, writing seamlessly from one point of view to the other as we shift from the fictional Amelia to Quentin periodically. Quentin and Amelia each have some discoveries to make about themselves, and their souls as they both have to overcome personal obstacles in order to move away from the hurts of their past.  Predominantly featured in this historical romance is the prodigal son theme and upstairs-downstairs nuances as we witness that tragedy and grief effects all of God's creatures whether they are in third class or first class. Interesting enough, the novel takes place during a short period of time, leaving room for a sequel if the author desires. It would be interesting to follow the story of the Gladstone and the Walpole family to see how they cope after the tragedy of the Titanic.

Tricia Goyer is a Christian Fiction author, and her novels are geared towards this audience.  Although many of my historical reads lately have been inspirational themed, this is definitely one of those that threads the theme of faith and spirituality throughout the novel. The author ends her novel with the lyrics to the song that was popular in 1909, By the Light of the Silvery Moon. To see how this compares to the other Titanic novel I read this year, read my review of The Dressmaker, and The Queen of the Waves.