256. That Fatal Night by Sarah Ellis

That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1912 by Sarah Ellis (Canada)
Dear Canada, 1912

Pages: 170
Ages: 8+
Finished: Nov. 23, 2011
First Published: Sept. 1, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Canada
Genre: children, historical fiction, Canadian author
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:
May 1, 1912
Father and Mother met with the principal this morning.

Acquired: Received  a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: Someday I hope to read all the books in this series.

This book takes a different point of view than most kid's historical fiction I've read about the Titanic.  The book starts a few months after the sinking and we meet Titanic survivor 12 year-old Dorothy, her traveling companion did not survive, something for which she feels guilt and Dorothy doesn't really want to talk about the Titanic anymore.  She gets into an altercation at school and is sent home for the remainder of the year.  Her teacher brings her home work and a journal where she tells Dorothy to write about her Titanic experience as it may help to put it into perspective for her.  Dorothy writes about her life now and her life in England where she was visiting her Grandmother and Grandfather before her fateful journey home, touching on every subject but the one that has redefined her life.  Eventually, Dorothy does take the plunge and tells us what it was like for her that evening the "unsinkable" ship The Titanic sunk.

An enjoyable story, with much more going for it than just a recounting of the Titanic's final days.  We have a full-blown story of a survivor's life, living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  What it was like to deal with being a survivor when so many more had died, the guilt and blame a person throws on themselves.  Also daily life in Halifax , 1912 is explored as is rural life in 1912 England.  I enjoyed Dorothy's tone of voice in this epistolary novel told through her journal writings.  The only thing that bothered me is that she sometimes went into theatre mode and wrote scenes as if she were writing a play script, these were a bit bothersome but they did add some humour.  Another good entry to this popular series for girls.


  1. I loved this series as a kid. I will have to read this one!


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