Luck of the Titanic (2021)

by Stacey Lee
ASIN/ISBN: 9781524740986
Publication: May 4, 2021

The fate of the Titanic is well known but not all survivors’ stories are. Lee centers the story around the relatively unknown fact there were Chinese passengers also on board the Titanic. She sets the tone of the novel with a simple line: “Of the eight Chinese passengers aboard the Titanic, six survived.” I went into the book with a wall built around my heart but cracks still formed to topple it down. Lee carves out a piece of history and makes it her own with a bittersweet tale.

With Lee at the helm, I should have known it was a lost cause to protect myself from the fates of the characters. Who was going to live? Who was going to die? I tried to stay as disconnected as I could, but still found myself drawn into Valora’s story as she tried to convince her brother to pursue their dreams while trying to escape notice of the crew as well as other passengers. I was still able to laugh and I cheer all the while knowing tragedy was only pages away. Then, I cried.

Valora is a dreamer like her father, chasing down her dream of becoming an acrobat. Smart and determined, she’s always prepared to make her own luck, refusing to allow fate to stand in her way. While I liked Valora and appreciated her daring nature, I was slightly irritated with her constantly pushing her brother to see things her way, insistent he drop everything for their childhood dreams too. Her unwillingness to see beyond her own desires and to to try to understand who Jamie is now prevented me from fully supporting her efforts. It’s always difficult when the person you remember is both the same and different from who they have become, and throughout the novel Valora struggles with this.

Like Lee’s other novels, there is a bit of romance sprinkled in but it doesn’t overpower the central story. It left a lasting impression that hit me harder than many romance novels I’ve read. I don’t know how Lee does it because I felt this way about most of the romances that appeared in her other books too. In this particular novel, it’s likely I felt this way because it only just scratches the surface of the potential relationship so the promise of what’s to come left me wanting more. There are additional subplots included that make the story interesting, each weaving well into the other and supporting the overall story rather than feeling disjointed.

As the Titanic’s demise neared, it was difficult to keep my anxiety at bay. I wasn’t sure what would happen to the characters. It was never a matter of whether Lee would stick close to history and allow only six Chinese passengers to survive even as I tried to convince myself she would find some way around it. I knew it was always going to be who would be part of the six. Luck of the Titanic demonstrates once again Lee’s ability to give faces and names to the past, connecting me with people and stories across time. She took me down a journey that only lasted a few hours but left me heartsick for days.

16 responses to “Luck of the Titanic (2021)”

  1. Fantastic review! I’ve been eying this one for a while, it sounds fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw…Thanks! It was a little slow but still a good read. I really like Stacey Lee’s novels. She barely touches on the romance and I was all for it. 🤣🤣🤣 Romance is always on my brain. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you get a chance to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve noticed that I’m often really invested in these kind of barely there romances.. might be the frustration, perhaps 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Omg! I am too and I think you’re right about the frustration! 🤣🤣🤣

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  2. ugh YES I was attached to Val more than I realized I was. This book was so fun! I loved it a lot!! Great review 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I completely understand! I really didn’t want to be attached to any of them and it still happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t wait to read this one, (I actually just received my copy), so this is beyond helpful It seems as though the MC is a bit selfish, but it’s all good. Lovely review Koo!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. She loves Jamie a lot but it’s hard for her to understand that his dreams aren’t the same anymore. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liza | The Inharmonious Heroine Avatar
    Liza | The Inharmonious Heroine

    Great review! This book looks fantastic, I’m so glad to hear it turned out to be such a powerful read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It IS fantastic! 😁 I enjoyed it a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. […] Luck of the Titanic – Stacey Lee (review) […]

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  6. luck of the titanic is super high on my tbr, so i’m really glad you enjoyed it! lovely review 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I can’t wait to see what you think of it! I hope you get to read it soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] This is a love song by one of my favorite Hmong artists. The title is translated to “You are many things” and the lyrics speak to the importance of someone’s presence in his life. While the song is about romantic love, I’m using it to characterize Valora’s love for her brother Jamie in Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee. After the death of their parents, Jamie becomes the single most important person to Valora and pins her hopes for a better future on him. It borders on her forgetting his goals might not align with her goals even if they make a formidable team. Gradually, she learns to accept it. (My review) […]

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