Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Tess Davies is a maid and tired of being trapped in a society where upward mobility is practically impossible. She has dreams and ambitions that can't be realized in England. Luckily, the family she works for is taking the RMS Titanic to America, where dreams come true every day. She could get a fresh start and get away from her awful (and actually broke) employers. She just has to survive the voyage there. The night before the voyage, she is attacked by a horrible man and saved by a handsome young man. She dismisses the incident as an act of random violence. On board, she realizes both these men are also passengers and her attacker, Mikhail, continues to harass her. The younger man, Alec, continues to save her and she is drawn into a power struggle between the two men. Mikhail wants to enlist Alec into the Brotherhood, a nefarious organization for werewolves that has power on every level of society. Can Alec keep away from the Brotherhood and keep them from hurting Tess? Can Tess escape her horrible employers and start an new life in America?
When I picked up this book, I just thought it was a historical fiction romance set on the Titanic. But then BAM: werewolves. I was a little shocked, but continued reading anyway. I usually really hate books about werewolves because good characters inevitably become raging jerks with the only change being a werewolf in a great many other books. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. Alec was a perfectly nice character, but not much about him was that interesting beyond his lycanthropy. There didn't seem to be much reason for Tess to fall head over heels except that he's pretty and rich. The werewolf Brotherhood served as the main villains of the story and they upheld very traditional and misogynistic views. They viewed themselves as close to gods and women as inferior and therefore unworthy of such power. The other, lesser villains were the Lyle's, Tess's employers. They also represented tradition and the old society where the poor stay poor. Their family represents hypocrisy, privilege, and a deep rooted sense of entitlement. These two villains were shown to be quite the same. Both used intimidation and their power to belittle and use others for their own amusement. The werewolf organization exposed the harsh realities and truths behind English society during the time period and exaggerated them. This was my favorite aspect of the novel.
Tess was a wonderful character. She seemed like a modern girl stuck in a past era where the poor and women didn't have very many opportunities to become successful. I loved her firecracker personality and the way she cared for everyone around her no matter their station. Her romance with Alec was a little boring. It was another case of instalove where their relationship is essentially built on nothing. Tess's relationships with her friends were much more dynamic and interesting because they seemed organically built.
Fateful was a fun, fast read. I wished that the sinking of the Titanic took a little more time than it did, but overall, I enjoyed the story. Although I like that it's a stand alone book, I wouldn't mind reading more about Tess and her future.
My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins