The Second Mrs. Astor: A Novel of the Titanic
It’s 1911 and Madeleine Force is a privileged and beautiful seventeen-year-old debutante in New York City. John Jacob Astor is an ultra-wealthy businessman with a blue-blood pedigree and a recent divorce. When a courtship begins between Madeleine and Jack, the front-page gossip campaign catches naïve Madeleine completely unprepared. Jack’s divorce has already caused rabid gossip among the society pages. Now his pursuit of a girl less than half his age ignites a pearl-clutching scandal that eventually drives the pair to a private wedding and an extended honeymoon abroad… a honeymoon that ends aboard the fateful Titanic.
The Second Mrs. Astor: A Novel of the Titanic by Shana Abe relates the love story of Madeleine Force and John Jacob Astor. While history has already revealed the tragic ending to their brief love affair, this story believably recreates their upper-crust world. The author uses beautiful imagery to set scenes in Manhattan, Bar Harbor, and aboard the Titanic. The book flips back and forth from a fictional first-person account by Madeleine to a narrative telling of the story, which doesn’t always transition well from chapter to chapter. Overall, I enjoyed this book for its realistic imagery and dreamy account of what life could have been like for Madeleine and Jack Astor before the heartbreaking end to their story.
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