On April 15, 1912, the supposedly unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg, cracked in two and plunged fathoms deep into the icy North Atlantic. Some passengers were saved, but more than a thousand souls were lost that night, and each one had a rich, full life leading up to either those final moments or desperate rescues. Such was the case for one special family in Suzanne Weyn’s Distant Waves.
Jane and her four sisters were very young when their mother, widowed and alone, decided to move the lot of them to Spirit Vale, a place where ghosts gathered around the psychics, real and fake, who were the principal citizens of the place. Their mother could have chosen to stay with her mother-in-law—a woman whose grudging wealth and the security it provided did not make up for her cold, insulting ways. Spirit Vale seemed the answer to their mother’s dreams, as she had the Sight, and so did several of her daughters.
En route to Spirit Vale, something very strange happened that would be a turning point in the rest of their lives. The city streets started to tremble; buildings shook and began to collapse. Out into the street dashed a tall man with enigmatic eyes who rescued the family even as he took the blame for having caused their distress. Once they were safe, he began smashing to pieces his invention—a machine that caused the earth to shake far more than he expected. The man was Nikola Tesla, the genius European inventor who had worked with and angrily parted ways with Thomas Edison. Unlike his fellow scientist, he did not believe it was right to profit from great inventions that could help everyone.
Jane and her sisters went on to grow up in Spirit Vale, surrounded by ghosts and people who talk to them—and tourists who were willing to pay to hear from them. With a keen mind and burgeoning desire to become a journalist, Jane jumps at the chance to go to real-world New York City when she hears her childhood hero Tesla might be available for an interview there. Her beautiful older sister, undergoing her own more difficult changes, takes another path laid out for her in the city as she joins the household of the scandalous and scandalously rich John Jacob Astor. Both girls will find romance, but tragedy, too, waits for this family whose happy-ever-afters will be torn to pieces when the Titanic splits in half while traversing a freezing sea. But on this grandest of ships, where thousands of destinies will be altered, the presence of a brilliant scientist might tip the balance of disaster.