WRITTEN BY JENNI L. WALSH
REVIEW BY J. LYNN ELSE
This dual-timeline story follows the lives of Violet Jessop, who in real life survived the maritime disasters of the Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic, and that of Daphne Chaundanson, daughter of a famous actor who becomes an agent for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), French Section, during WWII. The book opens with young Violet, a White Star Line stewardess, preparing for the Titanic’s departure from Southampton Port. Despite her frightening experience on the Olympic, the tips she receives from passengers help support her mother and siblings. Daphne’s story opens in 1942 as she interviews to join a resistance movement. Angered by the Germans’ invasion of her home country, she sets out to break the German oppression. One connecting thread ties these two women, and two wars, together in tragedy.
To me, one of the most difficult aspects of writing historical fiction is creating authentic character mindsets, and Walsh captures this aspect beautifully. Daphne is passionate about taking back her country and is modeled upon the experiences of the 39 real-life SOE women. For Violet, the Titanic’s a job. She knows details employees of White Star Line would know, like the proper way to secure a life vest under a coat despite the uncomfortableness of the stiff cork against the body. While history tells us what happened, through Walsh’s compassionate prose, we’re able to feel what happened as well. Sitting in a lifeboat, wrapped in shadows of the night, as a ship groans its last and plunges into the Atlantic to the setting of explosives in a German depot while guard dogs bark close by: these settings feel that much more authentic under Walsh’s deft pen. Unsinkable is a story of courage, resilience, and steering your own course in life. Recommended!
Appeared in Issue 107 (February 2024) and online: https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/unsinkable-2/
Author of OPERATION: HAPPY Jenni L. Walsh's THE BUG BANDITS, a story pitched as inspired by true events—the heist of thousands of dollars' worth of rare insects from the Philadelphia Insectarium—in which a young girl and her friends must protect her father's museum from "buglars", using their knowledge of science and some HOME ALONE-type shenanigans, to Katherine Easter at Zonderkidz, for publication in 2025, by Shannon Hassan at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (world).
I'm trying to find the words but I think I'm still a little shocked? Here goes! Unsinkable is an instant USA Today Bestseller!!
I'm so grateful. Ever since I began writing my first book in 2011, I dreamed of being able to call myself a bestseller. It may have taken 15 books (3 unpublished/shelved, 12 published) but here I am... finally. And I have all of you to thank for it! I'm seriously so appreciative of all the purchases, shares, downloads, recommendations, posts, shouts, congratulations that went into putting Unsinkable on a bestseller list. Thank you to the USA Today team for placing my little book baby in the top 150 for this week! <3 <3 <3
Booklist Online Exclusive: December 22, 2023
By Jenni L. Walsh
Jan. 2024. 400p. Harper Muse, paper, $17.99 (9781400233946)
Walsh’s latest (after The Call of the Wrens, 2022) is a heartfelt tale of two women in two times. Unsinkable joins the ranks of other spy novels written in this vein, but Walsh’s prose truly allows the reader to enter the mind and heart of each character, bringing their motivations, flaws, and desires to light. Violet Jessop begins her story as a stewardess on the Titanic. She survives not just one but three disasters at sea, but she is unable to separate herself from her jobs despite the dangers. Daphne, who has aquaphobia, joins the war efforts in WWII to make her estranged father proud, and finds new reasons to continue her work as part of the French Resistance. Both must decide how those circumstances will shape their futures. Walsh skillfully crafts two well-rounded characters who grapple with internal and external conflict, and yet who honestly earn their resolutions.
— Lily Hunter
A Betting Woman is out in audiobook today!! 🎉🎉
This book holds a special spot in my heart, a novel about a woman with three names:
When I stumbled upon Eleanor, I couldn't believe a novel had never been told about her, a woman who paved her way in a man's world during the Gold Rush era. It was my complete honor to do so.
And now it's so fun to hear Eleanor's story in this new way. I absolutely love how Elisabeth Lagelee brings her to life.
I hope you'll check out it out!
(Sound on for the first few lines)
Audiobook.com : https://www.audiobooks.com/m-audiobook/a-betting-woman-a-novel-of-madame-moustache/668837?refId=38915
Kobo audio: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/a-betting-woman
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/audiobooks/details/A_Betting_Woman_A_Novel_of_Madame_Moustache?id=AQAAAEBiTm4OHM&hl=en_US&gl=US&pli=1
Calling all book influencers!
Check out this fun opportunity to read Unsinkable prior to release for those also on Instagram!
I was completely blown away by the excitement and support for The Call of the Wrens during last year's Instagram Tour (photo proof!! <3) so.... I'm bringing it back! This time for UNSINKABLE, releasing next Jan!
If you'd like to join in the fun, check out this link:
And a big big thanks to all the amazing book lovers out there who share their love <3
"Impeccably researched, full of life’s wisdom, and a tribute to intrepid women who risked their lives in the face of war."
In 1917 Birmingham, 18-year-old Marion Hoxton ages out of an orphanage and joins the Women’s Royal Navy Service — the Wrens. There, she finds purpose as a motorcycle courier delivering trained pigeons to the front and a sense of community with other young women hoping to make a difference during the Great War.
Two decades later, Marion is strong-armed out of her solitary life by her former fellow Wren Sara Brown to rejoin the service as a trainer while World War Two storms England and a new generation steps up. Twenty-year-old socialite Evelyn Fairchild — who spent her childhood sidelined by surgeries — is determined to prove she is just as capable as the next enlisted woman. As strangers connected by a shared secret, Marion and Evelyn bond.
Impeccably researched, full of life’s wisdom, and a tribute to intrepid women who risked their lives in the face of war.
Reviewed By: Janet Somerville
Review posted at https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/reviews/2023/01/12/round-up-four-best-new-books-for-historical-fiction-lovers.html
[A] fascinating look at the lives of these brave women who served to “free a man for the front" . . . I highly recommend this book if you are interested in historical fiction and especially if you enjoy reading about strong female characters.
Twenty years apart and in two different wars, both Marion and Evelyn hear The Call of the Wrens. Both young women enlist as motorcycle dispatch riders with the Women’s Royal Naval Service, affectionately called the Wrens, and discover that they have more in common then they know.
Marion enlists with her best friend Eddie during World War I, where they both become dispatch riders, only with it to end in tragedy. Twenty years later, Evelyn has finally overcome her disability and can think of nothing better than to serve her country during World War II. Marion is called back into service, where she meets Evelyn and everything changes.
This was a fascinating look at the lives of these brave women who served to “free a man for the front.” These women volunteered for dangerous missions bringing messages to the front lines to fight for freedom and their country. I am very thankful that I came across this book to learn more about these unsung heroes. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in historical fiction and especially if you enjoy reading about strong female characters.
Reviewed By: Christina Boswell
Review posted at https://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/the-call-of-the-wrens/