I was so excited to receive a finished copy of The Deep from Putnam Books, which will be out on March 10, 2020. This is my first read by the author, Alma Katsu, although I’ve had The Hunger on my TBR shelf for a few months now. I absolutely LOVED this creepy retelling of the sinking of the Titanic. As I read this, I felt a bit like Stefan from SNL. This book had EVERYTHING: romance, mystery, con men, ghosts, seances, impeccable research, lyrical language, Irish folk tales.
It was a beautifully written story with lots of intertwining elements. We meet Annie, a fictional character, in 1916, where she gets a job on the Britannic, Titanic‘s sister ship that’s been retrofitted to be a floating hospital, as a nurse during World War I. Annie has been hospitalized for a while due to the trauma she experienced during the sinking of the Titanic four years earlier. She was told about the job by her friend Violet Jessop, a real life survivor of both tragedies. The novel goes back and forth in time from the Britannic to the Titanic, and I think Katsu handled it wonderfully.
I think the biggest strength of this novel is how it weaves real people and real anecdotes that are integral to the pop culture understanding we have of the Titanic. I was OBSESSED with James Cameron’s Titanic when it came out (who am I kidding? STILL AM!) and having the background knowledge from that movie of some of the film’s minor characters was integral to my enjoyment of the book. Seeing names like JJ Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Bruce Ismay helped to ground me into the reality of the story.
The supernatural & paranormal elements are beautifully juxtaposed against the realistic elements. I loved the seances and the creepy happenings. Katsu did a phenomenal job of creating atmospheric tension within a lush & lavish setting. I thought this book was just the perfect amount of creepy with historical fiction, mystery, and romance. Pick up this 5-star read next week, and let me know what YOU think!