Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Review: Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

Surviving Savannah
Patti Callahan

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she's shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can't resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly's research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah's society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

Kritters Thoughts:  Three narrators in this book, one in present day - Everly Winthrop and two in the past, 1838 - Augusta Longstreet and Lilly Forsyth.  Everly is still dealing with the tragic loss of her best friend in a senseless accident when she is approached to build the exhibit for the Pulaski ship wreck, 180 years later.  Augusta and Lilly were on the Pulaski when it went down and the two have very different stories from their experiences on the ship and the aftermath.  

Known as The Titantic of the South, the Pulaski shipwreck was very deadly and could have possibly been avoided had safety measures been in place and to know that this tragedy spawned laws in the 1800s was so interesting to read.  I had never heard about this event and I have spent a lot of time in the southern region of the United States.  After reading this book, I am spurned to keep reading historical fiction to learn about more historical events that weren't included in my history classes!

For some reason when I read this book, I ended up reading the author's note and the historical facts first and I appreciated knowing those things before reading the book, it didn't ruin the experience.  It reminded me that when I read historical fiction there is still a fictional element and this isn't non fiction which is the ultimate truth, this is just based in truth!    

On that note, I loved having more than one narrator from the shipwreck.  I liked reading two different view points and how each reacted to the tragedy.  Without spoiling too much, I loved how Everly ended up really tied into finding the truth and how that helped her to heal with her own grief.  

Patti Callahan has two other historical fiction stand alones like this one and I would like to read them both soon.  I loved being educated and entertained in the same book!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 18 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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