A New York Times Review for ‘Gilded Lives’

Having a book of mine reviewed in the New York Times Book Review has been a secret fantasy for years. So it was a real thrill that ‘Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage‘ was one of only two new Titanic books they selected for  a full-page review on April 15, 2012. (The other was Andrew Wilson’s excellent ‘Shadows of the Titanic.) Of Gilded Lives, reviewer Holly Morris said: ”
“Brewster’s nuanced account introduces us to a plutocracy frolicking in the sunset of England’s Edwardian era and America’s Gilded Age.  He pushes past stereotypes to vividly describe the elite realm on deck.”

This was perhaps the jewel in the crown of all the reviews but here are some other great endorsements:

“will bring a tear to your eyes.” –Daily Beast, Hot Reads

” The greatest ship-borne collection of celebrities of its time… classy, delicious, wonderfully readable”
Christian Science Monitor

“You needn’t be an avid Titanic scholar or enthusiast to find this story spellbinding.  No fiction author could ever concoct a tale of greater tragedy, irony, pathos, ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys,’ heroism, cowardice, wealth and poverty.”
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“[A] brilliant account of the first-class passengers who went down with the ship, giving us a glimpse into a Gilded Age about to disappear forever….Brewster’s method is simple and highly entertaining.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

‘This is one of those rare books on the subject that provides information both new and relevant, in a scholarly but readable way. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the social history of the early 20th century.”
Library Journal (starred review)

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Starred reviews for ‘Gilded LIves’!

I’m both relieved and delighted that the first reviews for ‘Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage’ have been so positive. Here are a few quotes:

“This is one of those rare books on the subject that provides information both new and relevant, in a scholarly but readable way. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the social history of the early 20th century.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember and James Cameron’s award-winning movie set the Titanic bar high. Hugh Brewster clears that bar with ease and shows again why the story never gets old.”—Newark Star Ledger

“[A]n impressive amount of information, often directly pulling from firsthand accounts. The author vividly renders the collision, the sinking, the chilling wail of unseen swimmers calling from the cold water and the shipwreck’s aftermath….a welcome, interesting addition to Titanic-related literature.”–Kirkus Reviews

“Do we really need more books on the Titanic? Hugh Brewster answers this question with a resounding “yes”… Brewster’s writing is always engaging, always clear and a pleasure to read…one of the most interesting and important Titanic books to come out in  recent years.” –Inviting History Book Reviews

 

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Launching ‘Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage’

It’s been 25 years in the researching and two years in the writing. My brand-new book about the Titanic’s most fascinating passengers  is set to launch in March in time for the centenary of the sinking on April 15, 2012. The book will be published by Collins in Canada (where it’s titled RMS TITANIC: Gilded Lives on a Fatal Voyage) by Crown in the US and by Robson Press in the UK. It’s also being pubbed in France, Italy and Spain.

For the 100th anniversary there will be a slew of other new books, TV docs, a Julian Fellowes mini-series and James Cameron’s epic movie remastered in 3D.  In this tidal wave of Titanic-iana, you might well ask, how will Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage stand out? I have had a few sleepless nights about this, but my early readers have been most encouraging. I’ve had remarkable help with this book from some of the world’s best Titanic historians and they tell me that they found the book to be fresh and compelling and that it reveals much new information.  (see comments below). And another acquaintance who has read virtually everything ever written about the Titanic said that Gilded Lives was the most intimate account yet and it made her feel as if she were actually on board.

I’ll be giving dozens of talks in Canada, the US and the UK in coming months and hope to meet many of you and share thoughts and stories about this greatest of all lost ships.

Some advance comments on Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage:

“Full of delicious details, from champagne flutes to the careless luxe of furs and satin, this is a spellbinding story, fresh, original and totally absorbing.”” —Marian Fowler, author of In a Gilded Cage

“A fascinating and engaging account of the Titanic disaster that also focuses some much-needed attention on the vessel’s Canadian passengers and their way of life. This outstanding book is a definite “must-read” for the centenary of the Titanic disaster, and I feel certain it will quickly be regarded as a standard work on the subject. “ — George Behe, author of On Board RMS Titanic and The Carpathia and the Titanic.

“Hugh Brewster writes a compelling account of how this select group of names came together in one enormous tragedy.” –Don Lynch, author of Titanic: An Illustrated History and Ghosts of the Abyss.

“…a welcome, interesting addition to Titanic-related literature.”–Kirkus Reviews

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‘Carnation,Lily,Lily,Rose’ is a hit at the Elora Festival

A sold-out crowd gave a standing ovation to ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: A Victorian Entertainment in Words, Images and Music’ at the Elora Festival on Saturday, July 23rd.  The Elora Festival Singers gave beautiful renditions for everything from selections from The Mikado and The Eton Boating Song to Rule Britannia and The Lost Chord. Actors Brigitte Robinson and Christopher Newton from the Shaw Festival narrated the story splendidly  and Sargent paintings and period photos faded in and out on a large screen overhead.  ‘Ye Shepherds Tell Me’, the song that inspired the title of Sargent’s painting provided a perfect conclusion to the performance.

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