Friday, March 20, 2020

Book Review: The Runaway Girl

By Jami Deise

Although the themes of the Titanic story are timeless, there’s something about the world we’re living in today that makes the issues surrounding the tragedy seem especially relevant. In the early part of last century, poor immigrants were seen as vermin; class and money determined a person’s life prospects (especially in Europe); corporate profits were more important than customer safety. Sound familiar?

I’ve always been a sucker for stories about Titanic, so much so that when pitched a historical romance on board the ship, I bit, even though I don’t read that genre. But The Runaway Girl: A Titanic Love Story definitely proved a worthy diversion. Author Jina Bacarr’s novel, a revised version of her earlier book, Titanic Rhapsody, is a wonderful coupling of James Cameron’s version of the tale with My Fair Lady.

Framed for a crime she did not commit, housemaid Ava O’Reilly—a 19-year-old whose fiery personality and flaming red hair garner unwanted male attention and female jealousy everywhere she goes—eludes the Irish police and boards the Titanic, hoping for a better life in the country where streets are paved with gold. Onboard, she runs into Lord “Buck” Blackthorn, a penniless gambler whose title is the only thing of worth he still owns. His childhood best friend Fiona, the Countess of Marbury, is in love with him, but Buck has arranged the Lady’s engagement to his best friend Trey, a wealthy New York playboy who needs to marry a member of the peerage to have access to his trust fund. In this world, love and marriage don’t go together like a horse and carriage—money and marriage do.

When Fiona’s lady’s maid twists her ankle and has to leave the ship, Buck arranges for Ava to take her place. But soon Buck finds himself falling for the feisty Irish girl himself… and so does Trey. As the romantic entanglements play out, the ship has a date with destiny…

Told in third person from Ava and Buck’s pointsof view, the characters are pretty stereotypical for a romance, but that doesn’t make the story less enjoyable. I loved Titanic (the movie), and reading The Runaway Girl, which uses many of the same tropes, felt like watching a gender-switched version of that story. Unlike Cameron’s movie, Bacarr’s story does not end when the Carpathia docks in New York City, and the twists that happen on dry land are nicely set up earlier in the book.

While The Runaway Girl has not turned me into a romance fan, the book should be a big hit for any reader who enjoys the genre. And if you’re a Titanic fan who does not ordinarily read romance, I urge you to make an exception for this book. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks to Boldwood for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

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1 comment:

Dianna said...

When the Titanic movie came out years ago, I read several books on the subject. Love this cover.