It has come to this: werewolves on the Titanic.
As the paranormal-romance juggernaut continues, it seems as though authors wishing to sell books find themselves compelled into ever-more-outlandish scenarios. Hence this novel, which indeed should appeal to the Twilight crowd. Tess, a servant since the age of 13 to the arrogant Lisle family, joins them aboard the Titanic, where she and wealthy Alec, the good werewolf, fall madly in love while fighting Mikhail, the evil werewolf. The sinking of the ship, although vividly portrayed late in the story, serves mainly to resolve some issues and set up the ending. Fortunately, paranormal romance isn’t the novel’s only feature. Gray researched the conditions of servants in pre–World War I England and accurately portrays Tess’ life as one of hardship, penury and, sometimes, abuse. The fate of some third-class passengers and the crew adds poignancy to the narrative. While most characters, including Alec, prove as multi-dimensional as anime drawings, Tess herself displays plenty of spunk and enough rebellious spirit to appeal to teens. A fellow passenger, Myriam, also adds some life to the proceedings. Dialogue and romantic encounters fit the usual overdone style of the genre. The author repeats most important points three times but keeps suspense high and paces the story well.
One wonders, why werewolves? At least it has some approachable history. And it will probably sell. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)