Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mindy Starns Clark & John Campbell Clark's Echoes of Titanic~Reviewed

By Mindy Starns Clark
& John Campbell Clark
Published by Harvest House Publishers
385 Pages

Back Cover: Kelsey Tate comes from sturdy stock. Her great-grandmother Adele endured the sinking of Titanic and made it safely to America, where she not only survived but thrived. Generations later, Kelsey works for the firm Adele founded nearly 100 years ago.

Now facing a hostile takeover, the firm’s origins are challenged when new facts emerge about Adele’s actions on the night Titanic sank. Kelsey tries to defend the company and the great-grandmother she has long admired, but the stakes are raised when Kelsey’s boss is murdered and her own life threatened. Forced to seek help from Cole Thornton, a man Kelsey once loved—and lost, thanks to her success-at-all-costs mentality—she pursues mysteries both past and present. Aided by Cole and strengthened by the faith she’d all but forgotten in her climb up the corporate ladder, Kelsey races the clock to defend her family legacy, her livelihood, and ultimately her life.


I’ve never read a book by Mindy Starns Clark before and was thankful to receive a review copy of such a haunting, compelling, dramatic suspense novel. I liked the style in which the novel was written using two story lines; one from the present and one from the past. It was amazing how the two intertwined.  This author’s husband John Campbell Clark is a lifelong Titanic buff so the setting for this story is fascinating and it addresses the fact that this is the 100th Anniversary year of the disaster.

It became so clear to me how a family’s heritage was very important from generation to generation. What I do today can and will affect my children, and their children’s children. The book opens up with Kelsey Tate giving a talk about her great-grandmother Adele at an event her families company hosted to commemorate the disaster. Adele was a Titanic survivor and founder of Brennan &Tate (over 100 years ago)

Gloria, Kelsey’s mentor is acting funny and leaves Kelsey to speak at this event alone. She tells Kelsey it’s her time to shine. She didn’t want to overshadow the young lady’s day. Everything they’d been doing lead up to this point. She knew Kelsey would make Adele proud.

Kelsey had always wanted to grow up to be like Adel, “who had found a way to have a successful career and a happy family and have a full life…Kelsey realized she had grown up to be just like Gloria, who was an empty workaholic who channeled all of her emotions and her energies onto her career, pursuing success at all costs. Kelsey had turned her back on God. She had nothing in life, nothing to live for.”

Then the author switches to the POV to Adel on the Titanic making plans to work at her father’s company when she arrived in American. Her role model was Margaret Brown who tells her, “If you want to invest, honey, look to the people and places the big boys are ignoring – women’s interests, for example, show me a woman with a good idea and a strong work ethic, I’ll show you somebody who can succeed like the dickens if she’s given a proper chance.”

“It is one thing to try to break down those barriers that stand in my way, Adele thought, and quite another, to help other women get started out as well, how fulfilling that would be.” Adele was a business minded woman in a time when that wasn’t fashionable.

In tracking down leads about her families past Kelsey questions her Grandpa Jonah. He reminds her, “The secret to a happy life is in the hanging on and in the letting go…., “Let go of your hurts, your grudges, and any possessions that aren’t a necessity. Hang on to your memories’, your loved ones, and most of all your faith. Do that, Little Bit, and your life will be more rewarding than you could ever imagine.”

“When did your heart check out of the equation entirely and turn you into this automation? This shell? (Kelsey’s mother asked her) ….I love you, honey, but I do not know you. What could possibly have happened in your life to bring you to this?”

Good question. Mom just didn’t understand business.  Kelsey was trying to survive on her sinking ship, the family business.  The scandal inside Brennan & Tate, rumors that were making the value of their stock plummet and recent disturbing discoveries about her families past made Kelsey think about her ex-boyfriend Cole, who left her and the company, after a deal went bad, “…looking back now, it struck Kelsey that it wasn’t just her under cutting of a deal that had ended their relationship. It had been her stubborn pride and her unwillingness even to consider that she’d been wrong to do what she did. Her refusal to apologize or even feel bad about it…Kelsey finally realized something. It was the after math of the event, far more than the event itself that had driven Cole away five years ago.”

Brennan & Tate was in the middle of a hostel take-over and the police wouldn’t say if her friend was murdered or committed suicide. Kelsey’s world was crashing in on her. Who could she turn to? Who could she trust? Kelsey was racing against time. Adele’s time on the Titanic was reaching the end of its existence. Time was running out for both ladies. Adele had secrets that Kelsey needed to know. Could she find the clues from the past in time to save the company?

Love this novel. I couldn’t put it down. I was so wrapped up with the characters and their pain and disappoint from both generations. I loved the style in which this author wrote this narrative just when I thought I had it all figured out then Kelsey would discover something new and it changed the way I thought the ending must be. It also changed the way I viewed the characters in the story. I was also on pins and needles for Adele as she was in the middle of a business deal herself that was turning out to be something unexpected. This book is filled with so much from the past and excitement in the future. I’ll definitely be reading more of these authors’ books. I highly recommend this book for reading and for a book club selection.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Bonus Review: 

A fascinating story set in two worlds. Two women, cousins and best friends, cross to a new adventure in America on the state-of-the-art Titanic. As their adventure unfolds the story is tinged with the knowledge that one of the women does not survive the fateful voyage. Through snippets of each of the cousins’ points of view the reader sees their relationship and experiences a bit of the magic that was the Titanic. Interspersed is the modern, intriguing story of the great-granddaughter of the woman who survived that fated voyage. But now, there is a question, and the  life of Kelsey is turned upside down as she tries to answer the charges and save the company started by her great grandmother.

Very readable, this novel has mystery, history and relationships. I finished it while on vacation and gave It to my daughter-in-law who devoured it in days and liked it as much as I did. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

No comments: