Ian Porter's story is a clever blend of fact and fiction, a slice of social history and is clearly meticulously researched. We meet the central fictional characters, Nash and Ruby, aboard the Titanic as she's sinking. Separated by circumstance, both survive the tragedy and there's an interesting glimpse of the immediate impact of the disaster in New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia. For those unfamiliar with what happened to survivors and the deceased, these chapters are an interesting overview. White Star do not come out of it well.
On returning to Britain, the two meet again and become involved in the Suffragette cause. As characters they are woven into key events alongside real people. Nash and Ruby have a distinct voice. They want social change and have that as a common, albeit slightly different, purpose.
There's a great deal of drama and the story gives account of numerous harrowing events as the Suffragette movement tries to broaden their appeal and influence. It's both compelling and moving to consider the fight and suffering others endured to win a social changes we too often take for granted. We see fearless pride with total dedication to a cause and belief. Ian Porter carefully explores a number of themes including social justice, empowerment, social convention and class distinction.
The book is well written and captures the central issues extremely well. My only reservation was that it occasionally failed to excite. For example, the Titanic scenes are well depicted, but a little flat and almost dispassionate. All the elements are there but it feels more like a factual account seen from above rather than the reader being within the events. That aside, it's an interesting read which gives context to an era of turbulent and too easily forgotten change.