Fateful by Claudia Gray
PROS:werewolves on the Titanic!, class flouting romance
CONS:celine dion ptsd coming back
Claudia Gray has found a way to make werewolves cooler than they ever were before, by putting them on the first and only voyage of the Titanic.
Tess has been a servant to the Lisle family for far too long. She’s been saving up money so she can leave them, and she plans to do just that as soon as they land in New York after their trip on the Titanic. Tess doesn’t plan on meeting and falling for the handsome and charismatic Alec, who’s harboring a big, moon-related secret (ok, actually it’s not JUST moon-related in his case). He’s also being hunted by a dangerous Brotherhood, and they get violent when they don’t get what they want.
Beautifully-executed romance, a suspenseful plot, and a whopper of an ending, set against the backdrop of one of the most epically tragic events in history – what could be better?
Top 5 Reasons Fateful Made Me Want to Sink with this Ship
1. Tess, the little maidservant that could
Tess manages to rise above servant life whenever she can, and frequently challenges her “betters.” And not in an obnoxiously anachronistic, “workers rights! labor unions! women’s rights! let’s burn our corsets!” kind of way. Rather, it happens in a very era-appropriate “oh, crap, did i just SAY that?! ah, well, i’m already screwed, may as well go for broke” fashion. She may have been born into the servant’s life, but she never lets the Lisles take her pride from her, though Lady Regina in particular delights in trying. Which makes the injustices forced upon her feel like they are happening to a beloved and respected friend, not some faroff blurry character so steeped in bad circumstances that it defines her.
2. Smoking hot romance
Tess knows it’s wrong to think about Alec romantically, or to fantasize about his lips, his eyes, his body……oh my! But she just can’t help herself, early twentieth century prudishness be damned. And luckily, he’s feeling the same way. But the class (and species) lines make this romance difficult, if not impossible. (Aka, the best kind of romance!) There’s lots of stolen kisses and fretful flinging themselves into each other’s arms…..in short, I’m a FAN.
3. Supporting characters you don’t want to sink…..and some you do.
I absolutely love Tess’s newfound shipmate, Myriam, for many of the same reasons I love Tess. She never looks down on herself, despite the reasons others may look down on her, and she is kind and loyal under a tough exterior. George is just the sort of capable, gentle-hearted, yet principled guy you would expect out of an officer of the Titanic. Miss Irene, a poor little rich girl trying to squeeze out from underneath her mother’s boot, is nothing but kind to Tess, and has had such a rough go of things, I truly do feel sorry for her, even though I hate feeling sorry for one of the privileged Lisles.
And then you have Lady Regina, a nasty society maven who seems to delight in making people feel like a disappointment, even if they are related to her. I couldn’t help but think, if only they allocated lifeboats by personal goodness & worth instead of money, the Lady would be at the back of the line of thousands. It’s impossible to read about Layton Lisle, the degenerate drinking and gambling “future” of the Lisle family, without sort of wanting to punch him in the face, or give him a nice long dunk in the icy Atlantic. And don’t even get me started on another character, who features prominently in bullet 4…….
4. Villainry that makes a ship at sea seem like Jack the Ripper’s darkened alleyway.
I won’t name the villain directly so as not to spoil the fun, but he’s a savage and calculating monster, hellbent on controlling people and objects. He certainly has no use for Tess, any more than a tiger has use for a bunny. But given that he’s on a ship, and she’s just such a busy little bunny, always hopping into his path, he becomes slightly obsessed with batting her around like a toy. Plus he wants something from Alec, and he’ll do anything to get it, including threatening Tess.
5. Uh, did you catch the part about the Titanic?!