Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

by Claudia Gray
September 13, 2011
Purchased my copy
Goodreads page
Amazon page
Grade: A

Synopsis (from publisher):  In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets....

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him—and now Tess, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

Featuring the opulent backdrop of the Titanic, Fateful’s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.

So I loved this book.  I tried to go to bed early last night because I was tired, but I made the mistake of starting Fateful as I lay down. The book refused to let me put it down, and I ended up reading the whole thing before I could sleep.  So, yup, loved it - even though it completely destroyed my ‘catch up on sleep’ plans.

There are some of the downfalls of a typical paranormal romance - something like love at first sight and the girl needing to be saved by her paranormal boyfriend, but I was pleased that both of these pitfalls were developed into something more.  While there’s definitely insta-attraction, I enjoyed that Tess and Alec really got a chance to get to know each other before falling in love (I also snickered as the author lampshaded the insta-romance by having another character comment on how ‘shipboard romances has its charms’).  And while Tess isn’t physically strong enough to stand up to other werewolves and gets rescued by Alex, she manages to rescue herself and him quite a few times through ingenuity and intelligence.

Which is one of the things I liked most about our main character: she’s smart and outspoken without being overly modern.  It always seems difficult to write the pre-World War I servant character mindset while resisting the temptation to make them more aware, independent, and forthright to appeal to modern readers.  But Gray manages it with Tess.  She’s been brought up to be content with her place as a servant and has learned to be a good one despite the hardships, but she hopes for more and has saved to leave service as soon as she sets foot in America.

I enjoyed watching her move between the first class and third class worlds and her candid observations on both.  Tess’ wry voice is a lot of fun to read, and it’s her voice that makes the first person/present tense narration (both of which I’m not generally in love with) so successful.

Our resident werewolf, Alex, also pleased.  I would happily read a whole book about his adventures before getting to the Titanic because I was left curious about what had happened in Paris and Wisconsin, and I so want to know more about werewolf politics!  Sometimes he fell prey to the brooding and tortured paranormal hero trope, but he also managed to move beyond that and accept Tess as an equal even with the strength and class differences between them, and for that, I liked him.  I didn’t fall in love with Alex, but I completely believed his and Tess’ love story - and really, isn’t that more important?

Of course we have to talk about the setting on the Titanic.  The fact that I (and most of us) have so much knowledge about what happened to the ship, have watched movies and read books about the history ends up adding to the suspense of the story.  We both get to see the opulent Titanic through Tess’ observant gaze and then wait on pins and needles for the sinking.  I’d forgotten how far into the voyage the boat sank, and so every time a new night fell, I was almost cringing as I worried about it hitting an iceberg (this would be why I couldn’t put it down).

There’s so much more I’d like to talk about from the (fictional) Lisle family that Tess serves to the slow building friendship with Myriam, a third class passenger with dreams of making it to New York to the revelations about Tess’ sister who appears only through letter but affects our heroine’s actions greatly.  However this review is already getting awfully long, and I don’t want to ramble on forever.  Suffice it to say that this isn’t one of those books that I fell in love with but have no words for.  This is one that I’ve an overabundance of words and thoughts and considerations.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes strong heroines, a bit of paranormal in their historical fiction, or who is just excited by the idea of werewolves on the Titanic.  Read, enjoy, and don’t start it late at night!


  1. I really have to go out and get this one! how can you not love werewolves on the Titanic?
    Following you back!

  2. @Jennifer Seriously! This is one of those concepts that demand to be read. And happily it makes the reading an enjoyable experience.


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