My daughter Katie is back with a guest review today!
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Published: March 2021 – Berkley
Finished copy courtesy of the publisher
When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.
Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving. (publisher)
Katie’s take: Patti Callahan’s newest novel ‘Surviving Savannah‘ kept me up reading long past my bedtime and demanded to be finished the next afternoon. Her vibrant descriptions of both present day Savannah and the antebellum South seemed to pulsate with color, scent, life and love. I was enveloped by this delightful novel. I enjoyed the dual timeline thoroughly and could not pick which story line I liked better. She developed rich characters and gave them room to stretch and grow through tremendous tragedy. I also appreciate that Ms. Callahan includes an author’s note detailing which parts of her beautiful novel are factual and which are inspired or imagined.