Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Distant Waves

Distant Waves

By Suzanne Weyn


It's the beginning of the 19th century and teenage Jane Oneida Taylor is living in Spirit Vale, New York with her four sisters and mother. Jane's father abandoned her mother after Jane's youngest sister Mimi's birth, leaving the five girls in the care of his wife. Jane's mother works as a medium in Spirit Vale while Jane and her sisters are left to occupy themselves. Jane doesn't have her mother's talent but has a talent for journalism. Jane dreams of one day being known for writing the best article of the decade or even the century...but she needs a story for her glory.

As the years fly by Jane and her sisters find themselves in Europe each wanting to start their own life and have an adventure. The girls are all busy traveling, reading about new inventions, going to parties and taking strolls along the seaside. 

Mimi is in Paris as a companion to a rich lady.  Jane, along with her three other sisters, is  staying with their mother's cousin just outside of London. Jane starts to write articles about her time in Europe hoping that they will be published later on her her life. As Jane spends more time with her younger sisters Amelie, Emma and Blythe, she feels that although her best friend (and sister) Mimi has left her, she still has her other sisters' company, sympathy and love. Jane develops a strong sisterly bond with Blythe that she never had with any of her other sisters... 
When Jane's mother arrives in London with Mimi (whom she picked up in Paris) she is persuaded that her daughters' futures do not lie in Europe. Jane agrees because she still hadn't found an article which would launch her career. However, the only way home is...on the Titanic. Many things lie on board the Titanic, greatest ocean liner in the world, including love and death. Maybe Jane has found her article after all.


Distant Waves  is a hard book to review because it has so many up-and-down moments. The first 150 pages of the book are just about Jane's life in Spirit Vale. Nothing 'adventurous' happens while Jane is in Spirit Vale. We learn about what Jane does everyday and how she interacts with her sisters. At the same time it prepares us to see the difference between Jane's early life and her days on the Titanic.

I like reading about big families and how they interact with each other, so reading about Jane's life was very interesting. I love Jane's interest in journalism and she inspired me a lot with her opinions. She has a different view of everything. She sees the good and the bad in people and objects in a different way than a normal teenager would. The author has made up a lot of new characters in this book (which is common), but I like how she wrote about some characters who were actually on the Titanic, for example, John Jacob Astor. 

As I have mentioned in other reviews, I love historical books and reading about historical events but it has been a really long time since since I have read a book about the Titanic. I have a My Story book about the Titanic and I have read it many times, but not recently. I think that the story of the Titanic is very interesting but at the same time sad. Suzanne Weyn (author) has, from my view, written a great story about the Titanic (after page 150) and in the end I enjoyed the book. 

I recommend this book for tweens over the age of 11.


  1. You do seem to enjoy the historical novels, Gia. Do you think that the close proximity of the Palace of Versailles has influenced you? I also see that you have read historical novels set in England. Personally, I prefer more contemporary settings.

  2. Hey G - You beat your deadline by a day! I was looking forward to your next review. You are a very good writer. The Titanic interests me and saddens me as well. Have you ever seen the movie? I loved the line "a story for her glory"