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REVIEW: One Night to Remember by Kristin Miller

Dear Ms. Miller,

You can’t seem to go anywhere lately without hearing about the Titanic. It’s been on TV all weekend and commercials for the 3D movie seem to play every 10 minutes. It must have worked for me, because I went looking for Titanic books online and settled upon yours. The price seemed a little rich at $3.99 for 66 pages, but it was on sale for $1.99 at the time that I bought it, so I took a chance. After reading it, I have to say it’s a mixed bag. There are parts of this story that are very good, and there are parts of it that are garbage.

One Night to Remember starts off with Elizabeth Scott, who is having dinner in the first class section. She is chatting with another rich passenger, Lady Grace, and lifting silverware from the table to steal. If this weren’t bad enough, she tells the other woman that she’s traveling alone, unchaperoned.

“And you’re traveling with your fiance, I presume?” Lady Isabelle twiddled a diamond bee brooch on the collar of her dress. It was Tiffany & Co. 1890 collection.

“No. I’m traveling alone.” Elizabeth slid the knife into her purse, then pressed it shut. “Alone?” Isabelle spoke the word with such disdain, Elizabeth wondered if her tongue was sizzling. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

No, she wouldn’t have.

Sorry, but that makes two of us. I find it hard to believe that at that time, a woman could travel first class alone and no one would be bothered by it. But that didn’t bother me nearly as much as the next statement to her dinner companion.

“I’m afraid I cannot stay. You see, I’m not feeling well, but it’s not due to the lamb.” She went in for the kill, gently brushing her stomach. “My situation is…delicate in nature.”

Nearly jumping out of her seat, Isabelle lost all color. “You are with child? Oh my dear, I am so sorry. And with no fiancĂ©!”

“It’s all right. I’m plenty accustomed to doing things on my own. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

My faith in your plot has just flown out the window. Telling someone in 1912 that you’re not engaged but still pregnant is probably not a good idea. But no one thinks anything of this, and Elizabeth steals Lady Isabelle’s purse and the money inside. She then goes to the lower class decks and gives this to the poor. Yes, you read that correctly. She takes her stolen goods and gives them to someone else. She envisions herself as a Robin Hood type. Not only this, but she does not need the money. Elizabeth designs and creates her own dresses and runs a shop and from what is inferred in the text, she is extremely wealthy.

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she is caught stealing by Thomas, the hero of the story, who is a handsome officer on the ship. He is incredibly attracted to her, but she is breaking the law. He arrests her and questions her why she steals.

“You stole silver from this ship and money from her.”

“I gave to a family who needed it.”

“That does not negate the crime.”

Her thin eyebrows rose smoke-stack high. “It should.”

It is at this point that I decide that I hate Elizabeth for being an enormous Mary Sue. She then proceeds to seduce Thomas, and they have quick vanilla sex. He is so entranced by her that he replaces the money stolen with his own wages and sets her free to go. She returns to her own quarters and is equally dazzled by Thomas, but their love affair is cut short when the Titanic hits an iceberg.

One Night to Remember by Kristin MillerUp to this point, this is an insipid, historically inaccurate, regrettable purchase. But then the ‘disaster’ portion of the story kicks in and the story grows entertaining. It’s interesting to see the dichotomy of the attitudes of Thomas and Elizabeth. When Elizabeth, the spoiled first class passenger, hears about the iceberg, she wants to go back to bed rather than gather on deck. She doesn’t truly think the ship will sink. Thomas, on the other hand, is terrified as to what this means for everyone. The Titanic sinking portion of the story flows very well. You give enough details that keep me interested, and the story becomes tense and dramatic. The reunion of the hero and heroine (this is a romance, after all) is anticlimactic and overdrawn.

If this was a short story about the sinking of the Titanic, I’d give this a much higher grade. As it is, the romance is a total dud. I wished that Elizabeth would have gone down with the ship. You also bill this as an ‘erotic historical novella’ but there are only two vanilla love scenes. Just because your book has sex in it does not make it erotic. This would have been a DNF if not for the disaster portion of the story, which I enjoyed. C-

All best,

January

AmazonBN

January Janes

January likes a little bit of everything. She's partial to unique paranormals, erotic romances, contemporary, and YA. She has a fondness for novellas and trying self-published works, though more of those are misses than hits. She still refuses to read anything that smells like literary fiction. January also changes this bio on a regular basis depending on her reading mood.

9 Comments

  1. DS
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:08:39

    I take it never occurred to the heroine that she would make the lives of the people she gave the items/money to much worse if they were caught with stolen goods?

  2. rebecca
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:16:02

    I will usually read anything about the Titanic but I will skip this one!

  3. reader
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:39:56

    I’d suspect the flatware from the Titanic was probably a special design, too. Where did she think these people would be selling off the stolen items? If she was fabulously wealthy, why didn’t she just hand the poor some cash?

    I couldn’t have read past the unchaperoned woman cheerfully passing on the news of her pregnancy (even if she was doing it to distract people while she stole items from under their noses. And I’m still trying to get a visual on stuffing heavy silverware into one of those tiny, beaded Edwardian purses.) I do understand the appeal of wallpaper historicals, but–really? You can’t try to get it right, not even a little bit?

  4. Jenny Lyn
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 20:12:13

    @reader

    That’s exactly what I thought. Why would you hand some poor person a fork? I pictured them making this face—> O.O

    I really don’t get the pricing of these short works. $3.99 for 66 pages is just too high. People are more apt to buy and try at lower prices, IMO. At least I am.

  5. AnimeJune
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 21:44:52

    Wow, your description of the heroine made sure I’d never get this book. I’m going to agree with Reader – if this idiotic heroine is so freakin’ rich, why doesn’t she give HER OWN money away? The fact that she’s stealing OTHER people’s property and not giving her own despite being totally loaded doesn’t even make her a Mary Sue – it makes her look malicious, like she’s got an agenda against rich people DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE’S RICH.

  6. rebyj
    May 01, 2012 @ 00:15:15

    Don’t dis vanilla sex so much. Vanilla sex can be erotic darnit! In fact vanilla sex is so rare to read about anymore that it’s becoming quite exotic. A hero that finds a vagina before the butt or mouth is quite an exciting man!

  7. Kaetrin
    May 01, 2012 @ 00:48:20

    Has Thomas been hoarding his wages for years? Is he exceptionally highly paid? Did Elizabeth only steal a little money? I’m wondering how on earth Thomas could afford to repay the cash she stole. So many 0-O. I’ll pass.

  8. Karen S
    May 02, 2012 @ 11:23:55

    I could maybe give the “not traveling with a chaperone” thing a pass as I can think of at least one First-Class woman who wasn’t traveling with one IIRC (Edith Russell, who was coming back from reporting on spring fashions in Paris and who was seriously bad ass) but it would still be pretty unlikely. And the pregnancy thing? Oh hell to the no. That would be wildly scandalous, and f she needed a stomach-upset excuse to leave the table, she’s on a ship. Ditto to the person that questioned how Thomas would have repaid that–a place on the Titanic was an honour, but the officers really didn’t get paid a huge amount.

    If I can spot those levels of wtf (much less the others people mentioned) I should probably thank you for reading it so I don’t have to, but then part of me is tempted to for Titanic details (like trying to figure out just which officer “Thomas” is supposed to be, considering that’s kind of something we know).

  9. Ryan Hoody
    May 04, 2012 @ 09:33:07

    Well, you certainly get straight to the point with your reviews. I loath historically inaccurate fiction, or writing in general. I recently read Stephen King’s book “On Writing”, and one of his key points is the importance of writing about what you know. If you don’t know it, don’t write about it, or do the research so you can write about it well. That bit of advice comes to mind while reading your critique on the book.

    Thanks for the reviews, and for saving me some time.

    Ryan

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