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Book review: Stansfield tackles 'Titanic' tale

By Melissa DeMoux

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"PASSAGE ON THE TITANIC," by Anita Stansfield, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 225 pages (f)

You already know how this tale will go. The ship will sink and hundreds of people will die.

But that’s not the whole story.

In her newest book, award-winning author, Anita Stansfield, delves into the tragic world of the Titanic disaster. After a friend shared with her the story of Irene Corbett, the only known Utahn and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be aboard the fated vessel, Stansfield could not get the woman out of her head.

“I felt immensely drawn to Irene and the story,” she says. “Irene was a great example of a woman who had a strong relationship with God and received personal revelation in her own life. I love her story in the way that it contradicts some of the stereotypes of what some people believe about Mormon women.”

Stansfield weaves Irene’s story into her otherwise fictional account of a struggling young woman named Ella Brown. Ella was born into a life of comfort, but unexpected misfortune hurtles her into the savage world of underprivileged London, desperate and alone. Irene’s life collides with Ella’s in an unconventional and heartrending way, and the two quickly develop an intense bond.

When both women find they will be passengers on the maiden voyage of the famous ocean liner, the Titanic, they are excited with the possibilities. However, as catastrophe claims its victims, the friends are forever separated.

Flung into the throes of life as a survivor, Ella places her trust in a handsome young crewman from the rescue vessel. Jonathan Moreau is immediately taken with this brave — and beautiful — young woman. Will Jonathan help her find peace and comfort, or will mounting tragedies continue to burden her life?

While "Passage on the Titanic" is laced around the Titanic calamity, it is more a book about the lives of these characters than a book delving into the disastrous voyage. Although her life has been dismal at best, Ella is a character with perseverance and courage. The Moreau family creates a very quaint and endearing facet, while Irene's real-life involvement brings an intriguing depth to the story.

Stansfield has tried to recreate the chasm this tragic event left in the lives of everyone involved. She hopes her story will help people realize how far reaching the effects of the Titanic catastrophe really were.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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