Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 13, 2011)
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: For me, this cover fits the book because it has all of the elements there. The moonlight for the curse of the werewolf, the girl in the water for the doomed ship and the cool blue tones to make the whole thing chilly. The only thing that makes me a little sad is that the main character Tess is blonde and this model looks brunette. Otherwise, I like the simplicity of this cover.
First Sentence: "It's not too late to turn back, I tell myself."
Mini-Review: Brimming with intense passion, Fateful is an unforgettable romance aboard one of America's most infamous tragedies.
It's about a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the lecherous young lord of the manor. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless and until he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you?
But no. Their biggest problem -- though they don't know it yet -- is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic.
Brimming with intense passion, all the glamor of the lavish first class and hardships of the third class in early 1900's, Mr Gray weaves an unforgettable romance aboard one of America's most infamous tragedies. Fateful has a little something for everyone with werewolves and beautiful dresses and passion and danger around every corridor. Tess and Alec and all their friends and enemies are incredible to watch but it's with bated breath that the reader turns the page, waiting for the moment April 15, 1912 shows up on the page and puts every life at stake.
I think Tess was the perfect character to follow through Titanic's tragic maiden voyage. Because of her lower class, I felt like her voice was much easier to relate to being a modern reader. I find that sometimes with historic novels the voice feels a little too formal for me and I don't feel as connected to the characters but Tess's voice was easy to connect with partly because of her experiences and station in life and partly thanks to the skill of the writer. I liked that Tess wanted to fight. She didn't just talk about it, she did when it was necessary. When she finally realized she was worth it, she dove in, risks be damned and I found that refreshing, especially given the fact that she's used to being trampled on. Tess was also intelligent enough to know when to keep her mouth shut and I appreciated that ability as much as the first. She didn't needlessly put herself in danger if she could help it and didn't withhold information from those who could help her solve her problems.
Tess and Alec's chemistry was electric. I appreciated the divide in class because it was a non-issue for Alec and his family. If that had been the main thing keeping them apart then it would have felt like a re-used trick but the fact that the one from a lower station had qualms about being seen in public and class wasn't a big factor for the other half, really made this stand out for me. I lied Alec as a character for his passion. It little sizzled out of his wild eyes and bohemian hair. The family Tess worked for also helped shaped the novel. It was great to see where Tess was raised and why she believes the things she does. I loved the dynamic of Lisle's and their servants. The characters of third class were just as endearing. It made knowing what was going to happen-- and knowing not everyone could make it out alive-- all the more painful.
Speaking of painful, I've got to commend Ms. Gray on her descriptions of when the Titanic actually went down. It left a pit in my stomach for the next fews days the way she described the screams and how horrific it was when they all stopped. I can't imagine living through something like that and through Ms. Gray's words the reader really gets a picture of how terrible it would be. The writing was wonderful and easy to read especially with such a gripping plot. You could really see how much time was spent in research by how visual the novel was. Now, I must admit that I was picturing James Cameron's rendition in my head (I even placed Rose and Jack on the boat at the different times in the novel because I really am that much of a NERD) but the customs and societal norms felt very real as well.
The horrifying occurrence of the ship sinking coupled with the intrigue of Alec's condition and the werewolves that are hunting him really made for a gripping fast paced read. These characters and their circumstances will certainly stay with me. I'd originally given this book a 4 because it didn't have that quality to make me think long after it was over but then over the next few days my mind would wander back to this particular story. If that isn't 5 material, I'm not sure why I'm doing ratings.With high stakes and gripping characters and writing, Fateful is triumph with the stuff to stay with the reader long after the story is over (dare I say that it stays in the heart and will go on and on?).