Queen of the Waves: An American Tapestry

Janice Thompson
Summerside Press (2012)
ISBN 9781609366865

Reviewed by Tracey Rock for Reader Views (7/13)
“Queen of the Waves: An American Tapestry” by Janice Thompson is an engaging story.  Tessa Bowen’s life has been far from easy.  As a pig owner’s daughter tending to her drunken father’s farm, she labors long hours.  When not tending to the farm, her father makes her kneel on top of a pile rocks and pray for sins she has yet to commit - what he calls, rock prayers. 

Her brother, Peter, used to protect her from the abuse, but now he is a gardener at Abingdon Manor, for an upscale family in England.  While working at Abingdon Manor, Peter met and grew close to the owner’s daughter, Jacqueline.  Jacquie, as he would call her, is faced with a dilemma.  She has been betrothed to a wealthy businessman, but she has no intention of marrying him.  Her love is for Peter.  To avoid marriage, Jackie’s mother proposes that she go to America and live with her grandmother, but Jacquie comes up with a plan of her own because she doesn’t want to leave Peter.

Jacquie and Peter approach Tessa with a proposal.  They ask Tessa to switch places with Jacquie and go to America.  In exchange for the favor, they explain to Tessa that she would have the best of everything.  She would have a lady in waiting, get to stay in expensive quarters, have exquisite gowns at her disposal and dine with all of the wealthiest people in England.  Although all of that seemed nice, for Tessa it would also be an opportunity to get away from her abusive father.  Tessa agrees to the switch and Jacquie and Tessa spend the next two weeks making Tessa into a society girl so that she can fit in with all of the other first-class members on board the Titanic. 

Once on board, Tessa meets a wealthy, young American who notices that she does not carry herself like the other young girls.  “Who is she?” he wonders.  Now Tessa is put to the test.  Can she continue to play along?  As tragedy hits the ship, Tess knows that at that moment, she can only be herself and what she knows down deep is that she must have faith and put her trust in God.

I found Janice Thompson’s “Queen of the Waves: An American Tapestry” a delightful book.  The storyline was engaging and easy to follow.  I was disappointed in how Jacquie’s story ended (not to give away too much).  I enjoyed how Tessa tried to be Jacquie.  She was a very fun character to read about.  There is another character, Iris, who starts out as a minor character, but in my opinion ends up being one of the main characters and fun to read about.  It’s always fun to see characters evolve like that.   Iris and a little girl named Manca really made this book for me.  If you enjoy reading Titanic books, then should add this one to your list.  What a fun read!

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