Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Book review: By the light of the silvery moon

With her aunt Neda, Amalia boards the Titanic. In America, they plan to visit her niece and Amalia hopes to be introduced to a man she has been corresponding with, a man she hopes might become more than just a pen-friend to her. When boarding, Amalia sees a stowaway being dragged from board. Spurred by her kind nature, Amalia offers her nephew's leftover ticket to the hapless young man, Quentin Walpole. What she doesn't know is that Quentin is the estranged son of a wealthy American businessman, whose life has come tumbling down of late. As Amalia and Quentin enjoy the luxury of traveling with the Titanic, they grow close. But there is also a man from first class vying for Amalia's attention and when Quentin's secret comes to light, all their lives are drawn together.
Some years ago, I would've mentioned Tricia Goyer as a favorite author without a doubt. I loved every book of her 'Liberator' series, taking place around WWII. These are absolutely among the finest Christian WWII novels I've read. Her 'Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War' series were very interesting and detailed a period in history not many books tackle. Then I read two novels by Tricia Goyer which disappointed me: The Swiss Courier and Songbird under a German moon. These books just didn't 'click' with me, it can always happen!

So it was that I picked up By the light of the silvery moon with a little trepidation. The storyline and historical background seemed fascinating, but would I enjoy it? Well, I can safely say I did! By the light of the silvery moon is a wonderful historical novel with a touching romance and a beautiful message.

By the light of the silvery moon places the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son against the background of the Titanic's maiden voyage. What a brilliant idea and I loved the way it worked out. Quentin, the prodigal son and C.J. Walpole, his father, were recognizable as characters from the biblical tale, but also fully rounded human characters, with identifiable hopes and fears. I also loved the character of Damien, Quentin's brother. This is a character often overlooked in explanations of the Prodigal Son parable, but the character's thoughts and motivations are beautifully brought to light here by Tricia Goyer. You might have heard the Prodigal Son parable many times in your life, but through the unique background in this book, the wonderful message of the parable is again felt with full force.

Then there's Amalia, the 'other' main character of the story. She's a wonderful character, very sweet and generous, but also with doubts and fears. I loved seeing the Titanic through her eyes and experiencing the wonder of an ocean voyage on a brand new and luxurious ship. It is always a problem with stories taking place aboard the Titanic (and also a general qualm of mine in many Christian romance novels) that relationships have to develop within a short measure of time. Still, the relationship at the heart of By the light of the silvery moon felt natural and 'right' and that is a great accomplishment!

We all know how the story of the Titanic ends and this sad happening is ofcourse also an important part of By the light of the silvery moon. The sinking was described in all its frightfulness, yet was handled with respect and not dwelt on too long. Though I've long been interested in the Titanic, I'm by no means a scholar as to all the details of the ship and the sinking. It is thus with some caution that I say I was impressed with all the little historical details of this book. I love it when a historical novels brings the past to life with little day-to-day details of which you've never heard. By the light of the silvery moon contains a lot of these little moments.

I would certainly recommend By the light of the silvery moon to everyone interested in the Titanic or historical romance fiction in general. This book certainly puts Tricia Goyer back on my list of 'authors to look out for'. I hope that next to her Amish novels she will continue to write the well-researched historical fiction I love her for!


  1. Once again, you've reminded me that I NEED to read this book, Birdie. I eyed it way back when only to have forgotten about it. Guess that needs to change. :)

    REALLY happy to hear it's a good book.

    1. Yes, do read it Rissi! I remember your enthusiasm over the Titanic miniseries last year, so I'm quite sure you're going to love this book!

  2. I don't read Christian fiction very often but you have intrigued me with your thoughtfully-written post.

  3. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting! I see in your blogs you like to read classics among others, I'm also a fan of those, but haven't gotten to reviewing them here.