Science, spiritualism, history, and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn's newest novel. Four sisters and their mothermake their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla's inventions dooms them...and one could save them.
Distant Waves: A Novel of the TitanicHot
"Everything Vibrates;" thats the theme of a well-written, exquisitely-detailed, page-turning historical called Distant Waves, by Suzanne Weyn.
Distant Waves is the story of a precocious four-year old named Jane who grows up among four spirited sisters and an idiosyncratic mother with a gift for communicating with the spirit world. With their father newly passed away, their spiritualist mother struggles to provide for the family, and they wander about, trying to find their place in the world. While in New York City, the family is almost killed by an earthquake inspired by a curious invention developed by the great scientist Nikola Tesla. After the mother hears Teslas theory that everything vibrates, she moves her family to a community founded by and for mediums, and there she flourishes, especially after she bases her readings upon the everything vibrates theory.
Years pass, and when Jane is sixteen, her older sister Mimi accompanies her to New York so Jane can interview Tesla for an essay shes writing. While there, Mimi abandons Jane to become the traveling companion of a married tycoons young mistress a seemingly unimportant detail, except this new role lands Mimi on the guest list of a brand new, ocean-liner - the Titanic. Mimi even secures a nanny position for one of Janes younger sisters, Blythe, and now two of the five sisters are scheduled to set sail on the great and so-called unsinkable Titanic.
Jane and her mother set out to stop under-aged Blythe from sailing on the ship, if they can just reach her in time. In the meantime, the remaining two sisters, identical twins Amelie and Emma, begin having weird and terrifying dreams that they are drowning in a cold ocean under a sky full of twinkling stars. With eerie dreams abounding and spiritual readings floating all over the place, the reader cant help but get it: Not only are Mimi and Blythe headed for disaster aboard the Titanic, but well-meaning Jane and the twins are destined to end up on the deck of that beautiful, doomed luxury ship too.
This is an absolutely wonderful book. The characters are very real, the first-person voice is authentic, and the setting is so vividly and accurately represented, you feel as if youre actually there. The pace is a bit slow in the beginning, and at times I found myself asking, Why all these unrelated details? But as I turned each page, I eventually discovered that every detail is important and every character is essential to the plot.
Theres nothing like a great historical written by a talented and giving author. If youre looking for a great read for a vacation or a day at the beach, be sure to pick up a copy of Distant Waves, by Suzanne Weyn.
Historically Rich With a Great Plot to Boot
Reader reviewed by The Library Lurker
Well, this book was...different than I though it would be. With a title
that has the word Titanic in it, I was thinking that they would
actually be on the Titanic for most of it. Instead they're only
actually on it at the very end, the last 50 pages or so. Not to say that
the Titanic wasn't central to the story, because it was.
Instead of an epic drama set on the Titanic *cough*movie*cough*, I
got an interesting novel about Spiritualism in the early twentieth
century, Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Nikola Tesla. Oh,
and of course, the five Taylor sisters. Jane, the second oldest, is our
narrator. She tells about her life, beginning when she was four and was
caught in an earthquake unintentionally caused by Tesla's invention. He
makes quite and impression on her and throughout her life she collects
newspaper articles about him.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that her life is living in Spirit Dale, a
psychic community, with her maybe psychic mother who makes a living by
telling people's fortunes, her older beautiful sister Mimi who she's
always in the shadow of, her twin sisters Amelie and Emma who might
actually be psychic, and her youngest sister Blythe. Needless to say,
she wants out. So when she has an opportunity to enter a journalism
contest that might land her in New York, she's all for it and knows
exactly who her article is going to be about: Tesla.
It all really starts when she goes to interview him, and from then on
you meet familiar historical figures and witness events you'd only read
about. It's quite and adventure. A well written adventure to boot. It's
told as a kind of flashback, which makes it interesting and different.
Jane is very likeable as well, the way that she's very down to earth. I
enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would and I'm glad that I
picked it up.
romance and adventure and magic
Reader reviewed by stephanie
The plot was very riveting. It drew the reader (me!) in immediately. I loved how Suzanne managed to include facts with fiction and spun it so it seemed positively awesome. Things like Telsa and other famous people were actually real (uhh, yea, I'm bad at history. Don't shoot me!) and so it was kind of like learning more about our American history while reading a book of fiction.
The characters were wonderful. Very descriptive and I loved their personalities. I loved how Suzanne seemed to describe the sisters fully because you know, there are some authors out there who doesn't describe their characters well so throughout the entire book, you're trying to imagine a clear image of the characters. Suzanne did an awesome job in describing them.
Jane, the perspective the book is written from, is a very interesting person. She loves Sherlock Homes which means she loves mysteries. I did too, when I was younger. It was always Encyclopedia Brown for me! :) She cares a lot about her family even though her older sister is only her half-sister, she still treats her with the same love and respect that she has for her other younger siblings.
And I loved the whole flashback thing. It was like present back to childhood that progresses to the main "meat" of the story - Titanic and then it brings it back to the present. I usually don't like flashbacks but this was done in a very riveting and fulfilling way. So what's not to love?
And the whole thing about mediums and spiritualism only added more interest throughout the entire novel. You really get to question whether or not ghosts and mediums are real or not.
Overall, Distant Waves was utterly fascinating and I definitely wish to read more of Suzanne's stuff.
A Great Plot Based On The Titanic!
Reader reviewed by Iryna
spiritualism, history, and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn's newest
novel. Five sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist
town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T.
Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When
they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla's inventions
dooms them...and one could save them.
I absolutely adore
the cover. The floating dress with the tulips gives it a slightly eerie
and mysterious feel that catches my breath. I love the way the dress
folds at the bottom and the cluster of bubbles. This cover is probably
the only reason I picked up this book.
When I first started this
novel I wasn't sure what to expect. This book is set a hundred year
into the past so of course you can claim it as historical fiction which
is not my favourite. However, I was excited to see how Suzanne Weyn
would use the Titanic as the main plot in her novel.
first I found it quite difficult to get into the novel but after the
first few chapters that was not a problem. I was shocked at how easily
I could relate to Jane, the main character, and how her thoughts
matched mine almost exactly. However, I took me a good chunk of the
book to get used to Jane's name - even now I'm not sure that it's quite
right for her.
I thought the language they used in the book was
very accurate except for the odd word or two. The part where Jane and
her older sister, Mimi, go to New York was perfect in almost every
sense of the word (especially Thad *sigh*) but, well . . . something
I'm not really sure what is even was, maybe is was the
fact that I missed Thad and Mimi, but the story slowed down
considerably and I just wasn't that involved in it. However, when Jane
and her family go to England the story picked up it's pace again and it
was quite enjoyable once again.
The way the author tied in
spiritualism into the book was what I though quite clever and
entertaining. I liked the way Suzanne got the characters abroad the Titanic and
everything that went from there ESPECIALLY the twists she put into the
end (Suzanne you are a genious!) but I thought the sinking of the Titanic could have been a bit more dramatized.
I think almost anyone can enjoy this remarkable tale which is why I am giving it an A-.