“At his prompting she turned her attention from the sideshow on the street and at last saw her. The four black funnels that rose above the pier shed, the white bridge and decks that gleamed against the grey skies, the black hull with its sharp bow that curved to the heavens. Launched in 1906, she was immense and exuded strength and marvel but also grace and beauty. The Lusitania was like a goddess come down from Olympus.”
If you are someone like me who loves books with strong female characters, you’ll really enjoy Seven Days in May because it delivers just that. The novel follows the lives of several characters and how their fates are intertwined with the fate of the Lusitania. It is the lives of three women that drive and shape this story.
Two Sinclair sisters, Sydney and Brooke, are wealthy heiresses and complete opposites of each other. Sydney is a modern woman in very restricted and old fashioned times. She is part of the suffragette movement and believes all women should have access to birth control. She is headstrong and determined, which is why she is one of my favourite characters.
Her sister Brooke has only one thing in mind: her upcoming marriage to Edward Thorpe-Tracey, an English aristocrat in a dire financial situation. Edward plans on using the Sinclair fortune to bring his childhood home, Rathfon Hall, back to its crowning glory. Of course, as fate would have it, Edward falls in love not with Brooke but her sister Sydney. Tensions grow as the three travel on the luxury liner that is targeted by the German army.
Isabel, on the other hand, is a secretary for the British Admiralty who quickly learns the art of decoding. She has a rocky past but she is a clever and hardworking girl that is adamant about doing all she can to assist in the war. As she learns more, and becomes more involved in the happenings of the secret Room 40, she discovers that the Lusitania is a target.
The novel is broken down by the days leading up to the sinking of the Lusitania and by the days after. If you are someone who loves the story Titanic, then you will absolutely adore Seven Days in May. It has all the romance, drama, and turn-of-the-century charm you would expect from a novel taking place in 1915. I was captivated by the story of these characters and hoping they would survive the tragedy I knew inevitably awaited them.
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