The Deep by Alma Katsu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Expected publication: March 10th 2020
The troubled mind can never know itself.
That is the sad truth of madness.
Sinister and atmospheric drama infused with real people and facts regarding the voyage of the Titanic and the last Voyage of the Britannic. This was similar in ways to the Titanic movie in that it included some of the actual people who were on the Titanic. The story includes supporting characters such as John Jacob Astor and his young pregnant wife Madeline, Benjamin Guggenheim and a lady friend, Lucy Duff Morgan, a famous fashion designer and her husband Cosmo, as well as two boxers “Dai” Bowen and Leslie Williams.
Most of these people are more than just bit players, though the Main story revolves around a stewardess on the Titanic who later becomes a Nurse on the Britannic by the name of Annie Hebbley, and a young couple Mark and Caroline Fletcher and their Baby, Ondine. Annie leaves a sanitarium four years after surviving the sinking of the Titanic to board the Britannic as a Nurse at the request of her former cabin mate and fellow stewardess Violet. The Britannic, having been outfitted as a Hospital ship with the ability to carry thousands of men injured in the war.
The story is is told in multiple POV by Annie and the others and the reader is shown the events on the Titanic in flashbacks as Annie is working on the hospital ship and especially after she discovers Mark Fletcher as a patient on the Britannic. Annie had been taken with Mark and his Baby Ondine from the first time the met on the Titanic and she worried about the baby.
Odd occurrences plagued the voyage of the Titanic, starting with Madeline Astor’s young orphaned cabin boy, Teddy. The nine year old claims he heard singing from the sea and climbs the ships railing and nearly jumps into the sea, only to be pulled back at the last minute by the boxer, Dai. Some of the passengers decide to hold a séance that evening.
The séance happens and something eerie occurs, which may or may not have been an entity, depending on who you ask. The séance is broken up by a death on board. As the Titanic continues its’ voyage other things seem to happen and it is unclear to the reader if it is something supernatural, some sort of cabin fever where a few of the passengers and crew seem like they are either going crazy or they have very overactive imaginations.
Though the first half of the book went a bit slow for my liking, the second half made up for it. The entire book was interesting and informative. I always seem to have this issue though with a lot of fantasy novels. I don’t like the slow beginning, but then after reading the entire book, I think back and realize all the reasons for the slow beginning. In this case all the background is necessary to understand the story as a whole, but also I liked the fact that we didn’t get too many occurrences so that we weren’t really sure what was going on. Is there something supernatural happening or is it just in Annie’s mind? Even she is unsure most of the time.
”I know firsthand how easy it is for this kind of thing to happen in a confined space with few distractions. Someone gives voice to a concern and before long, it’s on everyone’s lips. Paranoia is itself a kind of contagion.”
The most interesting thing is the relationship between Annie and Mark. It is obvious she is interested in him. However, he is married and seems to be in love with his wife while they are on the Titanic. Throughout the book we learn more about Annie and her background as well as the Fletchers and how they came to be on the Titanic.
I don’t like to give away any spoilers aside from background information that occurs in the first part of the books I read. So I will just say that most of the book was unpredictable and I was constantly surprised by what was happening and especially the way it ended. I did end up really enjoying the book overall. I would give this a rating of 4.5, due to originality, historical information, great characters and wonderful world building.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Thank you so much for your interest. I know some of the books I review are not yet published, but hopefully will my reviews will help give people options on what to read now and in the future!