reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
Did the Titanic sink under paranormal circumstances? Could the odd occurrences that happened before the great ship sank have something to with its ultimate demise? This is Annie Hebberley’s story, but also the story of the Titanic the four days before it sank.
When help is needed on The Brittanic, the Titanic’s sister ship, and now a hospital ship, the director at Morninggate Asylum convinces Annie that she’s the girl for the job. Annie has survived the sinking of the Titanic, and after corresponding with Violet Jessop, another survivor of the Titanic, she agrees to work as a nurse. On her first day of reporting, Annie recognizes Mark Fletcher, a man she has obsessed about for years because he may have gone down with the Titanic. But when she tries to talk to him, he’s terrified. Has he seen a ghost?
Alma Katsu does a wonderful job connecting the accurate history of the Titanic with a veil of paranormal and mystery. In fact, much of what she writes is true to history. Madeline, Astor, John Jacob Astor, Lady Duff-Gordon, W.T. Stead among others were true passengers on the Titanic, and Violet Jessop is the only woman in history to survive both the sinking of the Titanic and the Brittanic. Though Violet Jessop is not a major character in The Deep (she is simply a vessel to connect Annie to both ships).
The true stories of this grand ship are used to create a wonderful story about someone or something which is haunting the Titanic. Katsu takes us back in time to 1912 and the four-day voyage that ended in disaster. She skips forward to four years later, when the Brittanic sets sail. The story comes in multiple points of view, even from that of a child.
The Deep is not a quick read, and requires focus on minute details. It’s worth it. Katsu amazes with all the “clues” she hides in this book. And the story comes together artfully in the end, only to have the reader feel not quite ready to get off the ship.