Review By Veronica

If you are looking for a vibrant story that will capture your attention right from the first chapter, then look no further than Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan.

Favourite Quote:

“They all watched in horror as the remainder of the great Pulaski sank beneath the waves with an impossibly silent slide, its two ends rising with passengers scrambling onto it and clinging to the edges.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

It was called “The Titanic of the South.” The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten–until the wreck was found, and now their story is finally being told in this breathtaking novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

I enjoyed reading a historical fiction book that didn’t take place during World War II. The story of the Pulaski and its passengers is fascinating, and Patti did an excellent job bringing this topic to life. Everything was just so vibrant; it felt like I was in Savannah, both past and present. The characters are well-developed and come to life through the pages of the book. Patti did an excellent job weaving the novel between the past and the present, and I found they unfolded seamlessly. I loved how Patti wove elements of romance throughout this book; it added richness and warmth to the story. The relationships between main female characters and their love interest are complex and have a lot of depth. There are a few scenes in this book that are as sweet as Southern iced tea. My favourite chapters in this book were Augusta and Lilly’s. Their stories were just so interesting. I found myself wanting to learn more about them. If I had any wish for this book, it would be that their stories would have had a greater focus in the book, instead Everly’s story is the main focus. Not that I didn’t like Everly as a character, but I found Augusta and Lilly’s stories more compelling.

Dive into this compelling historical fiction tale, you won’t be disappointed.