Anything Titanic-related always gets me on board right away, and this book had such a sweet vibe to it that I was immediately hooked. Being a sapphic historical romance is always unique, given the times and how secretive anything outside of a heterosexual relationship had to be, and I was excited to dive into this world. The story is, by nature, a forbidden romance, with a friends to lovers theme. Paired with the Titanic tragedy, there is quite a bit of drama and excitements in the latter half, and I was practically crying at the end with all the loss and sadness. The story was on the shorter side, one I could read in a couple of hours, but the reading experience felt much longer, in a good way. The author sucked me in quickly, so that I was fully immersed in the story and the times.
Leaving Scotland was not Penelope Fletcher's definition of a good idea. Having never been outside of Scotland, let alone been on a ship, she is completely out of her element. After recently experiencing a breakup with her lover, who decided to marry a man instead of following her heart with Penelope, the last thing she needs is more change in her life. With her father accepting a new teaching position in Boston, her family has no choice and off they go to America aboard the "unsinkable" Titanic. In second-class rooms, she boards with another passenger named Ruby Cole, a beautiful girl with an obvious zest for life and a warm smile for Penelope's wounded heart. Close quarters bring them closer together, but the topic of attraction isn't an easy one to bring up. When they finally realize they both feel the same way, sparks immediately fly around the room. They know it can only last so long, as Ruby has plans to seek out marriage, but until then, they can enjoy each other. Only neither realizes that their whirlwind romance will soon turn into a battle for survival, where life, let alone love, is not guaranteed.
The different personalities of Penelope and Ruby were wonderfully written, bringing a sense of opposites attract to the relationship. While Penelope seemed the more timid of the two, Ruby was much more outgoing and willing to take risks to enjoy life. It was interesting how things flipped a little when they had to fight for their lives, showing that both had their strengths and weaknesses. They were realistically written, which I really enjoyed. Their romance was very fast, and I would have appreciated a bit longer of a story to see things develop more slowly. However, I knew what to expect since it is taking place on the Titanic, and only so much can happen before the ship sinks. It was obviously a case of insta-lust than insta-love, but that worked for them - they were both very kind and loving towards each other in a comfortable way. I liked that while pleasure was a key motivation behind them both getting together, it didn't stay that way, and you could see the relationship shift more towards an emotional one as time went on.
I'm excited to read more by this author, especially when the setting allows for a slower relationship progression. I love that slow burn romance, and given the opportunity, Charlotte would write an amazing slow burn romance. I can tell.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**