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The Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola Pierce

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Children’s Books | Young Adult
The Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola Pierce

By Grace O’Reilly

This historical fiction novel written by the talented Dublin born Nicola Pierce is her first children’s novel.  Pierce’s writing is captivating and well written, drawing us into the world of Samuel Joseph Scott.  Sam was actually a real person, who when aged just 15 lost his life in a work accident in the shipping yard.  He worked as a catch boy for Harland & Wolff, and fell to his death.  It is his ghost who tells this fictional tale with many real sad and horrific facts and truths.

There is a section at the back of the book that mentions the characters within the book who were real people.  They are Frederick Fleet, (the lookout), Harold Bride, (the telegraphist), Charles Joughin, (the chief baker), Charles Herbert Lightoller, (second officer) and Jack Phillips, (the other telegraphist).

It was published by The O’Brien Press Dublin in 2011, a part of The O’Brien Press Ltd, and the cover image is by Dave Hopkins, while the interior illustrations are the work of Emma Byrne.  The Arts Council of Literature aided the production of the book too.

The book is recommended for 10-year olds and upwards.  I personally, would recommend it for slightly older children, YA, (Young Adults) which is 12 to 18-year olds, as the chapters are lengthy and some parts are upsetting.  It is important though to not sugar-coat everything, and they need to learn that unfortunately not everything has a ‘happily ever after’!  It is such a great book, that my book review cannot possibly give Nicola all of the praise that she and the book deserves, (but I will try).  The sheer amount of love and research that she has put into this book was above and beyond the maximum.  She has another book about the Titanic also entitled, ‘Titanic – True Stories of her Passengers, Crew and Legacy’.

The blurb at the back of the book reads:

“’That calm, sunny day is one I’ll always remember… because the twentieth of April, in the year 1910, was the day I, Samuel Joseph Scott, died.’

Fifteen-year old Sam plunges to his death whilst building his beloved Titanic.  Now as the greatest ship the world has ever seen crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Sam finds himself on board – as a ghost.

His spirit roams the ship, from the glamour of the first class to the party atmosphere of the third class. Sam shares the excitement of Jim, Isobel and their children 0 on their way to a new life in America.  Disaster strikes when Titanic hits an iceberg.  As Titanic sinks to her icy grave, Jim and his family are trapped behind locked gates…

Can Sam’s spirit reach out and save them as time runs out…?”

A treasure of a book, that will stay on the bookcase for years to come.  We had the privilege of meeting Nicola at Gorey Library at the Junior Book Club the other day with Esther.  It was marvellous to learn about how she researched for the book, and how Sam, never had a marked grave, but thanks to Nicola Sam, now has a beautiful resting place up in Belfast.  A plaque in memory of the 8 people who lost their lives including Sam, have now been inscribed upon it.  Unfortunately, three of the people are down as ‘Unknown’ which is very sad.  The names of the other four people are William Clarke, James Dobbin, John Kelly, and Robert James Murphy.

The Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola PierceCan’t wait to read her book Titanic – True Stories of her Passengers, Crew and Legacy.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

Order your copy online here.

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