Historical fiction is a challenging genre. An author must create a storyline within a setting that once existed while minimizing confusion between fiction and fact. The difficulty intensifies when a historical character is brought into the mix, particularly in a prominent role. This is the reason that I assess this book as "just ok" rather than a “must-read.” As a Titanic student, I was already familiar with the life of Harry Elkins Widener (HEW) and feel that too much artistic license was taken.
What appealed to me about the book, however, were the detailed descriptions of sites that were part of Titanic's history, such as Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, where many passengers were buried. It was evident that the author did a great deal of research on the ship and her passengers -- which, sadly, is lacking in several works of other writers.
The story itself was somewhat interesting as the fictional Alexei delved into his obsession with the unnamed passenger associated with grave marker 223. His quest led to another fictional character, whose fictional association with passenger 223 was key to Alexei suspecting he had found a link to HEW.
However, we must not confuse this with reality, and I hope the actions described in this book do not become intertwined with the real HEW, a fascinating gentleman in his own right.
Read more; http://www.examiner.com/article/book-re ... secret-hew