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 fiancé!”
“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.
Up 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-