Posted by Jina Bacarr
With the sailing of the Titanic in THE RUNAWAY GIRL nearly upon us, I’ve been wondering what Christmas 1911 was like for my heroine, AVA O’REILLY, and the other Irish emigrants and passengers who would later board the Titanic in April 1912.
I remember a story I read in an Irish newspaper about a letter to Santa written in 1911 by children who hid their wish list in a chimney.
When it was discovered many years later, it was barely touched by time.
As if nothing could douse the hopes and dreams of children adrift on their magical adventure of writing to the man in the North Pole.
Most likely the passengers who booked passage on the Titanic were just as excited about the ship’s upcoming maiden voyage.
It was an unusually cold winter in 1911. What was it like on that Christmas Day?
Did Irish widow Margaret Rice knit extra mittens for her five boys?
I wonder if Father Browne – then a theology student – received his new camera on that Christmas morning?
Imagine the joy in the heart of young Swede Dagmar Bryhl when her handsome fiancé presented her with a lovely watch.
Or the Irish holiday feast of turkey and ham and mince pie enjoyed by Nora Keane when she returned to Limerick to visit her mother.
When they raised their voices in O Holy Night on that Christmas Eve, they had no idea what part they would play on the ship of dreams when they set sail on the Titanic.
Father Browne sailed on the Titanic for two days and got off the ship at Queenstown on April 11, 1912. A wealthy first class couple offered to pay his passage to New York, but his uncle, the Bishop of Cloyne, ordered him off the ship. The future Jesuit priest took the last pictures of the Titanic and her passengers.
Margaret Rice was a steerage passenger. She and her five sons never made it to a lifeboat and perished in the tragedy. A surviving photo of her and her boys was taken before she left and has only recently resurfaced.
Dagmar Bryhl was traveling to visit an uncle in America in second class. She survived, but her brother and fiancé both perished. She was wearing the watch her beloved gave her on a chain around her neck when she boarded the ship.
Nora Keane decided to stay longer in Ireland than planned, but she had trepidations about traveling on Titanic’s maiden voyage. Her brother convinced her to book passage as a second class passenger. She survived the sinking, thanks to a ship’s officer who banged on their door and ordered her and Edwinna Troutt up on top. Nora was shocked when four hundred people showed up at the train station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to welcome her home.
These are a few Titanic stories from that Christmas of 1911.
As Ava O’Reilly would say, ‘May the hand of an angel be upon your shoulder to guide you in your dreams.’
And Ava? She was working hard in a grand manor house in service with her sister, Mary Dolores, but dreaming of going to America. She has no idea that her love of books and a diamond bracelet will set her on that course in a way she never imagined… and she’d meet a most dashing gentleman lord gambler who steals her heart in THE RUNAWAY GIRL…
Next time on Titanic Tuesdays: Where have all the lifeboats gone?
Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…
When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.
Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.
As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…
A sweeping, emotional historical romance set aboard the Titanic, perfect for fans of Gill Paul and Suzanne Goldring.
This is a revised and fully updated edition of a novel previously published as Titanic Rhapsody.
What readers are saying about The Runaway Girl:
‘A fantastic Titanic take woven in with a great portrayal of love, friendship, and even forgiveness. I would have rather seen this as a movie than the Jack and Rose story!!!’
‘Oh how I adored this story… From start to finish I was enchanted with the story and the characters and all the finer details describing the ship, clothes and scenery.”
‘A breathtaking romance that is sure to stay with you long after reading’
‘Perfect for historical fiction and romance fans.’
‘A mesmerizing romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet and take you away to another place, another time.’
‘A fabulous book you won’t want to miss’
THE RUNAWAY GIRL is now up for pre-order:
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Tags: 1912, Christmas, Father Browne, first class, historical romance, Ireland, Irish, love story, manifest, NetGalley, passenger, romance, Santa, second class, ship of dreams, steerage, Titanic, Titanic 108, voyage, winter
Posted by Jina Bacarr
Once in Paris the Left Bank was my home
to manger on pastry I didn’t have far to roam
running downstairs so fast in a huff
to the pâtisserie for my pastry puff
and to flirt with the handsome monsieur who took my breath away
ah, mais oui, yes, I remember him still to this day