Luck of the Titanic – Stacey Lee

Title: Luck of the Titanic
: Stacey Lee
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
: May 4th, 2021 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR)

Synopsis: Valora Luck has two things: a ticket for the biggest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world, and a dream of leaving England behind and making a life for herself as a circus performer in New York. Much to her surprise, though, she’s turned away at the gangway; apparently, Chinese people aren’t allowed into America.

But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother, Jamie, who has spent two long years at sea, is on board, as is an influential circus owner. Thankfully, there’s not much a trained acrobat like Val can’t overcome when she puts her mind to it.

As a stowaway, Val should keep her head down and stay out of sight. But the clock is ticking and she has just seven days as the ship makes its way across the Atlantic to find Jamie, audition for the circus owner, and convince him to help get them both into America.

Then one night, the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Val’s dreams of a new life are crushed under the weight of the only thing that matters: survival.


Valora Luck dreams of being a circus performer in New York, and she has a ticket to travel aboard the Titanic that will take her there. However she is turned away at the gangway due to the Chinese Exclusion Act that restricts the entry of Chinese people into America. But not only is Titanic Val’s way to America, but also her chance to reunite with her twin brother Jamie who is somewhere aboard. Determined to find a way on to the ship, Val stows away and tries to keep her head down as she searches for Jamie and figures out a way to audition for a famous circus owner who can get her the papers to enter America. Things certainly don’t go as planned though and as the Titanic goes down, all of Val’s aspirations change to simply surviving the ordeal.

Historical fiction features prominently on my TBR, but this subject was a new one for me. My knowledge of Titanic is limited to the movie and a more technical documentary or two, so I was really excited to learn more when I came across this book, not forgetting the beautiful cover. Luck of the Titanic brings to light the stories of the Chinese passengers aboard the Titanic and the racial discrimination they were subject to in that time period. I thought this book was a wonderful tribute as history has not been very kind to these survivors, their stories all but erased.

The sibling dynamic between Jamie and Valora was wonderful and I liked how their bond was portrayed. I expected this book to be entirely focused on the twins, so it was a pleasant surprise that so many other characters had some significant roles to play. In particular, Valora meets the other Chinese passengers aboard and they all become like family by the end. The slower pace of this book allows the reader to really become attached to these characters (some of them at least) and all the more invested in their fates once the chaos begins.

While the premise was very interesting and the story had all the makings for a great read, the execution was somewhat lacking. I expected a book about the Titanic to be more exciting. I didn’t start becoming really interested in the story until the Titanic started to sink – which was unfortunately only the last handful of chapters. Nothing much happens until then. There was some mild tension due to Val being a stowaway and the consequences if she were to get caught and some acrobatics, but I was pretty bored for most of this book. I also did not enjoy the romance much as it didn’t meld with the story too well and felt like it was there just for the sake of being there.

I do appreciate that the author kept the ending historically accurate, but I’ve never been a fan of killing off characters for dramatic effect, so I didn’t like how things wrapped up. Overall, while this wasn’t the most exciting or fast-paced read, it definitely had the potential to be so much more, so this book is still one I would recommend.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!

25 thoughts on “Luck of the Titanic – Stacey Lee

  1. Kaya @ afictionalbookworm July 9, 2021 / 12:45 am

    this is a fantastic review!!💜🖤 i agree, this book is rather slow until the sinking starts. but this truly is a such a great tribute to the forgotten in history!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 10, 2021 / 9:46 am

      It had a great premise, and while I appreciated learning about these forgotten stories, the plot itself wasn’t able to hold my attention until the very end. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. CookBakeLive July 9, 2021 / 9:37 am

    I saw this book the other day and was wondering about it. Thanks so much for your helpful review. I’m glad to hear the author kept things historically accurate. It always bums me out when they don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 10, 2021 / 9:47 am

      Agreed, historical inaccuracy is a pet peeve of mine too. It was wonderful that despite the characters in this book being fictional, the author kept it consistent with the real story.


  3. Stephanie July 9, 2021 / 9:55 am

    It’s good to hear that the author kept things historically accurate. That’s always been a pet peeve of mine when it comes to the Titanic – primarily because of how horribly inaccurate the movie is. My sister studied the Titanic like crazy when I was growing up, so I know a decent amount about it. I wonder if that would help me enjoy this more? I’m not sure! It sounds like a good plot but I also don’t love slow stories, so I might wind up a bit bored haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 10, 2021 / 9:49 am

      Agreed, I’m not a huge fan of the movie either. I imagine the experience of reading this book would be quite different if you have more historical context even if it is kind of slow.


  4. readandreviewit1 July 9, 2021 / 12:33 pm

    Great review! I’m really interested in the Titanic so I think I’ll definitely check this one out despite the slow moving plot – the idea of exploring the Chinese passengers is really intriguing and I’d love to find out more about that. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sadie July 9, 2021 / 12:46 pm

    Oh, I can’t imagine I’d have liked that ending after spending a whole book getting to know some of them. But I too appreciate not tweaking history too much. Thanks for he honest review.


  6. Jaya Avendel July 9, 2021 / 4:12 pm

    I was totally hoping the whole book would be set on the sinking ship save the opening chapters, so I am kind of disappointed to hear that is not the case, but I am a big Titanic fan so I love that this book delves into the ‘lower decks’, so to speak, and is not all happy parties and society gatherings.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 10, 2021 / 9:54 am

      That’s definitely one of the best parts about this book. I think everyone knows just how grand life in first class was on the Titanic and the situation and stories from below decks are rarely discussed, which made this a really interesting read.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ruth| Ruthiee loves Glamour July 10, 2021 / 12:33 am

    I love Titanic and I loved your review as well. Anyone, after seeing the title would easily think the book is focused majorly on the ship which is obviously not the case. I haven’t read this book but if I get the opportunity to read it, I might just skip some parts and start off with the sinking ship haha. Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 10, 2021 / 9:58 am

      Thanks! This was my first time reading historical fiction about the Titanic and it’s definitely made me really curious to know more. Agreed, I expected more of the focus to be on the ship so it was quite surprising that the sinking didn’t start until well past the 80% mark.


  8. Sakshi Raina July 10, 2021 / 3:45 am

    Thank you for a great review! I haven’t read many historical fiction lately because the ones I did read were either factually incorrect or didn’t live up to it’s expectation. Sadly, this as well belongs to the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 10, 2021 / 10:03 am

      Thanks for reading! Historical inaccuracy always annoys me but atleast in that aspect this didn’t contradict the known facts. It was a little disappointing that the plot didn’t live up to expectations though.


  9. Rayo July 10, 2021 / 10:06 am

    Great review. If you watched The Titanic movie itself you would be bored because nothing much happened before the sinking scene so wouldn’t mind if this book started slow as well. Sounds like a good plot and I might skip pages while reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 11, 2021 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I remember watching Titanic once quite a long time ago and I was so bored with the initial parts of the movie. I guess it was to be expected that this book might have a slow start too.


  10. Molly @ Transatlantic Notes July 10, 2021 / 11:36 am

    It’s a shame the execution of the story was lacking as you’d expect this topic to be something that rolls along much better. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 11, 2021 / 8:08 pm

      Thanks for reading! Yes, I did expect it to be more exciting given the subject matter, but it was an interesting read nevertheless.


  11. Fransic verso July 10, 2021 / 6:30 pm

    Seem an interesting book. I don’t like when the story ends with killing as well haha. I feel disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) July 11, 2021 / 8:11 pm

      Thanks for reading! Yes, it’s the worst when the book develops a character so well and they die at the end.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s