Just before midnight on 14 April 1912, the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage, struck an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and within 3 hours she had completely floundered (filled with water and sank). Because she had been deemed “the unsinkable ship” she was fitted with only a fraction of the required lifeboats, many of which on the night weren’t even filled to capacity.
The Titanic was – and remains – one of the worst maritime disasters in history, with over 1,500 people dying from drowning, hypothermia or being struck by parts of the ship as she capsized and split in half. At the time, her sinking was all the newspapers talked about, publishing outrageous conspiracy theories and anything they could get their hands on. And in many ways, this remains the case. There have been countless films and books about the Titanic in the 100+ years since she sank, and I’ve read a lot of them.
I’ve previously written other macabre media posts about my obsession with true stories of survival and books about shipwrecks, so it should come as absolutely no surprise that I have an unhealthy fondness for books about the Titanic.
And honestly, as a dark tourist, my fascination with stories about the Titanic is really no surprise. After all, if tourists could visit the Titanic wreck site, I have no doubt it would be one of the most popular dark tourism sites in the world.
For my part, my interest in the Titanic was already bubbling just below the surface when James Cameron’s blockbuster hit, Titanic, hit theatres in the summer of 1997. Because that summer I won a raffle at my local cinema and got to take home my very own Titanic model building kit, which I dutifully did. So naturally, since I already had the prop, I decided to do my year-long school project on the Titanic. And if you think this was an odd preoccupation for a 3rd grader (aged 8-9), then your mind will probably be blown when I tell you that my project the year before was on the Holocaust. Seriously, I’ve always been like this.
I’ve included something for everyone here, from Titanic books for kids to horror to real survivor stories from the Titanic, so if you can’t find something here that interests you, you might be a lost cause. Or have you considered that books about the Titanic miiiiight not be your thing?
Real Survivor Stories from the Titanic
I think we can all agree that stories from survivors of the Titanic are probably some of the most gripping Titanic literature available. After all, reliving the tragedy through their eyes is the best way to truly understand the scope of what happened.
Titanic: A Survivor’s Story & the Sinking of the S.S. Titanic – Archibald Gracie & John B Thayer
What it’s about: Two survivor stories from the Titanic from men who were aboard it when it sank.
Who will enjoy this book: People who want to get as close as possible to this tragedy and read real stories from the Titanic will find few better sources than this book. History enthusiasts and Titanic buffs should hopefully find this invaluable.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Titanic: A Survivor’s Story is the only Titanic book to contain the information Gracie left behind. Written shortly before his death from the exposure he suffered on the evening of the sinking, Gracie gives a vivid account of the situation as he and the last of the passengers to leave the sinking ship (including fellow survivor John Thayer, whose account is detailed meticulously by Gracie in this book), going so far even to be able to describe who went into which lifeboat.
Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop Who Survived Both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters – Violet Jessop
What it’s about: Violet Jessop survived both the sinking of the Titanic and her sister ship the Britannic four years later. This is her extraordinary tale of survival, as well as her childhood and how she wound up a stewardess on the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: People who want to read survivor stories from the Titanic will be engrossed in and inspired by Violet’s story, and by her bravery to be able to get back aboard another ship.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Most stories about the Titanic feature survivors (for obvious reasons). But Violet’s is one of the most incredible real stories from the Titanic written by a real survivor. And, of course, the fact that she not only got on, but also survived another shipwreck is incredibly unique.
A Girl Aboard the Titanic: The Remarkable Memoir of Eva Hart, a 7-year-old Survivor of the Titanic Disaster – Eva Hart and R. Denney
What’s it about: Autobiography telling the real story of a 7 year old girl who survived the sinking of the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: Those interested in stories of Titanic survivors won’t be able to put A Girl Aboard the Titanic down. Eva’s story is tragic and she is unrelentingly honest in her account.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Like any firsthand account of the Titanic disaster, the telling of the events are more raw; you just can’t beat a survivor’s account of the tragedy in terms of authenticity. But Eva’s story is even more unique because although it was written when she was much older, it is told through the eyes of a child, making it simultaneously more terrifying and more hopeful.
Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived – Andrew Wilson
What’s it about: Released for the 100 year anniversary, Wilson has put together 11 well-researched stories from survivors of the Titanic, adding in new information about their lives post-tragedy.
Who will enjoy this book: Anyone interested in Titanic stories about the survivors, and how they coped with the aftermath.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Shadow of the Titanic is probably the most in-depth account of the lives of these survivors available. Also honestly, I kind of dug the fact that the author points out some interesting truths about Brits that contributed to them being the most likely to die in the tragedy.
General Non-Fiction Books About the Titanic
There are so many non-fiction books about the Titanic. Some tell the story of the ship, or of the wreckage, while others tell stories from survivors of the Titanic. Since there are so many to choose from, I’ve made sure to include why these are stand-out Titanic books, and who might be interested in picking them up.
Titanic: An Illustrated History – Don Lynch, paintings by Ken Marschall
What’s it about: Coffee table history book about the Titanic, told through photographs, paintings and illustrations.
Who will enjoy this book: If you prefer to get your history accompanied by lots of detailed photographs and drawings, then Titanic: An Illustrated History is probably going to be your top pick from all the available books about shipwrecks. But no judgment here because this book is brilliant!
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Titanic books might be a dime a dozen, but if you want to see the majesty of the ship, or experience the beauty of the ballroom, there is no better book. Lynch has compiled the best photographs, illustrations and paintings available in order to help recreate the magic of the Titanic for the reader. There are also plenty of technical drawings, images of passengers and their belongings, and even shots of the wreckage.
The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era – Gareth Russell
What’s it about: Russell follows the experiences of six travellers on the voyage of the Titanic and uses them to analyse how its wrecking was symbolic of seismic social change.
Who will enjoy this book: Historians, Titanic enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in modern anthropology and social studies will find this book fascinating.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? The accessibility of The Ship of Dreams is one of its strongest selling points. There’s a huge amount of information here, but it’s presented in a very absorbing and engaging way – complete with colour and black-and-white photographs – and the stories of the selected individuals are given the same caring and professional treatment. Straightforwardly explaining the social climate of 1912 while simultaneously capturing the calamity of the Titanic is no mean feat!
The Rough Guide to the Titanic – Greg Ward
What’s it about: No-nonsense factual account of the construction, the sinking and the aftermath of the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: People searching for a Titanic book that “does it all” so they can get all the facts in one place.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Ward’s Titanic guide is accessible, and covers the tragedy from start to finish so no prior knowledge is required. It’s also laid out so that you can easily skip around if you’re more interested in one aspect than another. This reads more like a history book versus narrative non-fiction, which definitely works better for some when reading about historical events, and helpfully highlights important or interesting facts.
The Titanic: End of a Dream – Wyn Craig Wade
What’s it about: The Titanic: End of a Dream studies the American Congressional investigation immediately following the Titanic disaster and looks to address all of the questions surrounding its sinking: Why was the ship taking the route it took? Why were a third of the survivors crew members? Why were there so few lifeboats onboard?
Who will enjoy this book: Serious Titanic buffs will get a lot out of this critical analysis of the event and the ensuing investigation into exactly how this “unsinkable” ship managed to do just that.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Wade’s book is meticulously researched and very well written. His unbiased approach covers a lot of historical ground, and whether you have no previous knowledge of the catastrophe or you are very well-versed in Titanic lore, you’ll be able to take something new away from this book.
Non-Fiction Titanic Books About the Passengers & Crew
Step onboard the famous luxury liner and hear the stories of some of the ship’s most well-known – and most forgotten – crew and passengers.
Black Man on the Titanic: The Story of Joseph Laroche – Serge Bilé
What’s it about: Tells the story of Joseph Laroche, one of the only Black passengers on the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: Anyone interested in learning about a unique and fascinating man who is otherwise forgotten in history. This is also a great book if you want more diversity in your Titanic books and are interested in learning about Haiti or racial politics at the turn of the 20th century.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Literally no one else is telling this story; Joseph Laroche is never even mentioned in other books about the Titanic. But Ivorian-French reporter Serge Bilé has made his life come alive through careful research and great storytelling. In fact, it’s easy to forget this isn’t one of the novels about the Titanic listed below.
Titanic Captain: The Life of Edward John Smith – Gary Cooper
What’s it about: Edward John Smith, the captain of the Titanic, came from a working class family in Hanley, England. At the age of 17, he began an apprenticeship onboard a sailing ship and quickly worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming a seasoned captain.
Who will enjoy this book: Historians, Titanic enthusiasts, maritime scholars and just anyone curious about this well-liked captain.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? While Smith features in many stories about the Titanic, this is the only account I am aware of dedicated solely to him and his life. As is often tradition, Smith went down with his ship, and so has never been able to defend himself in regards to the tragedy. Cooper gives a well-researched and non-biased look at who Smith was, why he was so well-liked, and what, if any, part he played in the Titanic’s demise.
The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic – Steve Turner
What’s it about: As the Titanic sank, 8 musicians continued to stoically play music on the deck in an attempt to calm passengers as they tried to escape to the lifeboats.
Who will enjoy this book: In addition to Titanic historians, musicians and those who look for stories of perseverance in the face of inevitability will have a strong connection to the story of these brave souls.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Turner’s book is the first to examine the lives of these musicians, doing so in great detail. With a background in music journalism, Turner interviewed surviving family members in order to dive into who these people were, how they lived their lives, and what might have made them take the actions that they did as the ship slowly disappeared into the sea.
Titanic: Women and Children First – Judith B. Geller
What’s it about: A Titanic book about the commemoration of the women and child passengers on the Titanic, with a minor focus on their class structures.
Who will enjoy this book: This may be a good access point for some younger readers to engage with the story of the Titanic tragedy. There are biographies, with accompanying letters, diary entries and newspaper stories, as well as a hundred colour illustrations and stories of the Titanic survivors.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Titanic: Women and Children First serves as an excellent resource of information about this rarely-prioritised group. By sorting the passengers by class, Geller adds another dimension to what could otherwise be just an index of facts, but in this case everything comes together neatly, concisely and, with the addition of the illustrations, beautifully.
Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World – Hugh Brewster
What’s it about: Peak into the lives of the Titanic’s most famous and distinguished passengers.
Who will enjoy this book: If you’ve never missed an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians, but wish you were like me and spent more time with your nose in a book, Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage might fill a very specific void.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? We, as a society, seem to be obsessed with the rich and famous, and the Titanic’s first class passengers were some of the most rich and influential people of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although many survived, many also went down with the ship. Here is a look at their lives and the “exquisite microcosm of the Edwardian era” that rode onboard the Titanic’s fateful first voyage.
Non-Fiction Books About the Titanic Sinking
A Night to Remember – Walter Lord
What’s it about: Non-fiction narrative about the sinking of the Titanic. Recounts stories from Titanic survivors and victims.
Who will enjoy this book: Literally anyone interested in books about the Titanic. A Night to Remember is one of the best ones out there.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Considered to be the Titanic bible, A Night to Remember is easily the most famous Titanic book, and for good reason. Walter Lord studied the Titanic for years, and heard as many stories of Titanic survivors and victims as he could, diligently recording harrowing tales of loss. What resulted is one of the best books about the Titanic ever written. The A Night to Remember book (because there’s also a film based on the book), has been used as a reference point for many other Titanic film adaptations, and by other Titanic historians since its first publication in 1955.
Further Reading: If you enjoy his style, Walter Lord’s follow up book The Night Lives On is all about the mysteries and secrets behind one of the most famous shipwrecks in history.
Titanic 1912: The original news reporting of the sinking of the Titanic – Ken Rossignol
What it’s about: A 21st century news reporter looks back at the original news reports covering the Titanic disaster.
Who will enjoy this book: Anyone with an interest in journalism and how the methods with which the media reports the news have (or haven’t) changed in the last hundred years will find this Titanic book fascinating … or all too familiar.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Rarely will you find so much of the original media coverage collected in one place. Newspapers, magazines, pictures and clippings from the days immediately following the sinking of the Titanic are all showcased here, giving their speculations on what happened, why it happened and who was responsible. At times it’s amazing to see just how wrong some of the early reports were, including some that claimed the Titanic made it to Halifax by tow, and that everyone on board was rescued alive!
The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, the Californian and the Night the Titanic Was Lost – Daniel Allen Butler
What it’s about: Two ships receive the distress calls from the sinking Titanic within minutes of each other – one races to help, the other chooses not to.
Who will enjoy this book: If you enjoy dramatic investigations into potential criminal actions where morality is brought into question, then this will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for the verdict.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Butler spent years researching the actions of the Captains of the Carpathia and the Californian, recounting in his book just how many people could have been saved had they acted differently, and diving deeply into the investigations launched against those deemed by many to have acted callously and negligently. You’re unlikely to find a more thorough approach to the retelling of this compelling story.
Further Reading: Butler is also the author Unsinkable: The Full Story Of The RMS Titanic. After A Night to Remember, this is considered to be one of the most comprehensive and best narrative non-fiction books about the Titanic.
Non-Fiction Books About the Titanic Discovery
The Discovery of the Titanic – Robert D. Ballard
What’s it about: This is Robert D. Ballard’s first account of the 12 years he spent searching for the Titanic, and his eventual discovery of the wreck site.
Who will enjoy this book: Literally anyone interested in the Titanic, but especially the wreckage.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Robert D. Ballard was the first person to discover the Titanic after she sank in 1912, so you can’t get much more up close and personal with the wreckage than his personal account. The book includes full length colour photos, and even the exact location of the Titanic’s final resting spot.
Her Name, Titanic – Charles Pellegrino
What’s it about: Follows two timelines and stories: that of the sinking and of the discovery 73 years later.
Who will enjoy this book: If you’re interested in seeing how the ship’s sinking lines up with the wreck site, this narrative non-fiction Titanic book provides fascinating insight into both.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? As Walter Lord (author of A Night to Remember) said, “It is impossible to pull off this sort of thing without knowing the facts, and Charlie Pellegrino knows his Titanic inside and out.” And it’s true, Pellegrino loves the Titanic and loves writing about it. Because of this, he’s not only been able to paint an accurate first hand account of both events, but through his extensive work with Ballard and other Titanic enthusiasts, he’s managed to make oceanography accessible to everyone.
Further Reading: Pellegrino has a follow up book, Ghosts of the Titanic, which is solely about the sinking and why it happened.
Best Titanic Books for Kids
Since I rarely read kids books anymore, most of these Titanic books are ones I read and loved as a child. But hey, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!
I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 (Graphic Novel) – Lauren Tarshis; art by Scott Dawson and adapted by Georgia Bell
What’s it about: Curious George Calder has been wandering all over the Titanic with his little sister, Phoebe. But one fateful night he slips away and winds up in the first class section where he hears a deafening noise that causes the entire boat to shake.
Who will enjoy this book: Whether you’re an adult or a kid, so long as you enjoy the comic book/graphic novel genre, this is the Titanic book for you.
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: Let’s be honest, some kids just don’t like reading anything but “picture books”. So I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 serves as not only a potential gateway for other books about the Titanic, but can potentially get kids into history by making it more fun.
Further Reading: This graphic novel is based off the first book in the I Survived… children’s series by Lauren Tarshis that looks at major events throughout history from the point of view of a survivor. Apparently there is an intent to turn the entire series into graphic novels for kids. But if you enjoy this, like or prefer reading longer text and enjoy macabre topics, the I Survived… series is probably right up your alley.
Tonight on the Titanic [Magic Tree House #17] – Mary Pope Osborne, illustrations by Salvatore Murdocca
What’s it about: Siblings Jack and Annie travel back in time with their magic tree house to the “unsinkable” Titanic where they must assist a dog named Teddy to become human again, and save themselves before it’s too late!
Who will enjoy this book: Kids who enjoy time travel and other magical elements will get on with the magic tree house series in general, as will dog lovers seeing as Teddy features heavily – and so do drawings of him!
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: Tonight on the Titanic does a good job of introducing a heavy topic to children. It does this by making it a bit more fun and lighthearted – in as much as any book about the Titanic can be fun and lighthearted – by using magic and spells and putting the focus on helping Teddy. However, the book is also full of interesting facts about the Titanic and makes the tragedy real for kids who want to learn more.
Further Reading: There’s a whole Magic Tree House series if they enjoy this one. This is #17, but they really don’t need to be read in order (although this one is the start of a new ‘set’ within the series). Many of the topics are a bit darker, although certainly not all, so the series is a good way to introduce kids to darker historical topics in a more lighthearted way.
Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic – Gregory Mone
What’s it about: Twelve year old Patrick Waters gets wrapped up in a caper involving a rare stolen book and a stowaway thief onboard the Titanic. Then disaster strikes…
Who will enjoy this book: Although there is light adventure and mystery, at its heart this is a book about books and their significance, so if that’s your thing, add this to your pile of must-read Titanic books!
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: Dangerous Waters is a fun and educational way to broach the Titanic for kids. Amidst the terror and the adventure, the real focus of this book is to instil a love of reading by highlighting the true magic of books – and just how much knowledge was lost when the Titanic sank.
Titanic Crossing – Barbara Williams
What’s it about: 13 year old Albert Trask is travelling onboard the Titanic with his family to the USA to be closer to his grandmother. No one else in his family is particularly excited about the move, but Albert can’t wait to sail on the “unsinkable” ship and get the chance to explore and sketch it. But when the unthinkable happens, he’s forced to make some incredible grown-up decisions.
Who will enjoy this book: It’s a solid Titanic book for elementary-aged students to help learn about the Titanic, tolerance and life.
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: This was one of the first Titanic books I ever read, so maaaaybe I’m a little biased, but I think this is a great book to introduce the Titanic to kids. In addition to Albert’s story, Titanic Crossing also tells the reader a bit about the ship’s construction (especially through Albert’s artistic eye) and Edwardian era issues surrounding classism and sexism.
Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912 – Ellen Emerson White – Dear America Series
What’s it about: Margaret Brady is a young orphan girl from Whitechapel in London, England who is offered passage to the USA to join her older brother by Mrs Carstairs, a wealthy American. Unfortunately, they’ll be travelling onboard the RMS Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: This is a great book for kids who enjoy epistolary novels or diary style narratives.
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: I, as I’m sure many kids of my generation did, read several of the Dear America series when I was younger. Since I was obsessed with the Titanic, this was of course a standout for me. Of course, when I was a kid there wasn’t the plethora of kids books about the Titanic that there is today, but I still think there is a great book for younger audiences to read about the events from a first person POV and connect to the characters.
Further Reading: There’s a more recent one of these that’s part of the Dear Canada series that honestly sounds like it might have a bit more plot to it. So if you’re looking for more books about the Titanic for kids and enjoy this format, check out That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton by Sarah Ellis.
Kaspar the Titanic Cat – Michael Morpurgo, illustrations by Michael Foreman
**Originally called Kaspar Prince of Cats
What’s it about: A bellboy who becomes the unexpected owner of a rich Countess’ cat soon embarks with said cat on a journey accompanying a wealthy heiress across the Atlantic aboard the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: Obviously cat lovers (like me!) are the target audience and, fortunately, they will get a lot out of this more whimsical take on the Titanic story, which is semi-inspired by a real cat!
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: As with many books for children, this one is greatly improved by the illustrations. Foreman’s drawings are very characterful, and both embellish and give shape to the world Morpurgo describes – which is a great help as a lot of things happen in this book.
Voices of the Titanic – Mary Montero
What’s it about: Kid-friendly history book about the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: This is a fantastic introduction to the Titanic for kids, but it’s really a book the whole family can get something out of.
Why it’s one of the best Titanic books for kids: Voices of the Titanic is a great gateway book for those interested in learning more about the Titanic, or even dipping their toes in the Shipwreck books genre. The book has bite-sized stories of survival and tragedy aboard the Titanic, including mini-biographies of survivors and those who died covering all walks of life from the wealthy, the poor, and the crew.
Further Reading: Mary Montero also has a Q&A book about the Titanic full of interesting facts for kids.
Best YA Titanic Books
I’m gonna be totally honest here, I haven’t read most of these Titanic stories because I don’t like YA fiction. I recognise there are a lot of great ones out there and I’m glad the genre has expanded in scope EXPONENTIALLY since I was a teenager, but 99% of the time when I sit down to read a YA book these days, I struggle and I wind up giving up. Therefore the YA Titanic books listed below are ones that have been recommended to me by fellow Titanic enthusiasts who DO like the genre!
The Watch That Ends the Night – Allan Wolf
What’s it about: The Watch That Ends the Night tells the stories of Titanic survivors through the medium of poetry.
Who will enjoy this book: Poetry enthusiasts, Titanic story completionists and anyone who likes reading about the survivor’s stories of the Titanic. I’ve seen this labelled as YA, adult and child, but anyone who enjoys poetry can get something out of this collection.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Poetry is a new and unique way to communicate the story of the Titanic and her survivors, and Wolf does so with beautiful and chilling language – I can safely say there aren’t any other poetry books about the Titanic currently out there. But this is also one of the most memorable Titanic books I’ve read; many of the poems will haunt you long after you’ve put down the book. Unfortunately this book is no longer in print, but it’s worth picking up a secondhand copy, anyway!
Destined – Allison Kraft
What’s it about: Apolline Greer somehow travels back in time 100 years into the body of her ancestor and finds love and vampires onboard the Titanic in this YA fantasy romance.
Who will enjoy this book: Buffy stans and anyone looking for love in all the wrong places.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Romance and Titanic books tend to go together like eggs and bacon, but how often do they involve blood sucking fiends, vampire hunters and time travel? This certainly isn’t one of the most historically accurate novels about the Titanic, but it’s definitely a unique take on the tragedy.
Distant Waves – Suzanne Weyn
What’s it about: Five sisters team up with, among others, Nikola Tesla as they try to use some of his inventions to escape the sinking of the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: Nikola Tesla (and his supernatural inventions) is a popular character with steampunk fans, and anyone who likes a touch of science fiction in their historical dramas will also enjoy this fairly unique take on a well-told story.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Other than because it’s Tesla on the Titanic? Well, in addition to expanding on the already sensational subject matter with his addition to the crew, Distant Waves also covers a decent period before the protagonists get aboard the Titanic to give insight into the period. With good amounts of additional spiritualist plot and character development, there’s plenty of extra stakes for the reader to enjoy in this Titanic story.
Fateful – Claudia Gray
What’s it about: A young woman hoping to escape the wealthy family she serves after the Titanic arrives in America is captivated by a handsome first-class passenger with a dark and gruesome past – and he’s being stalked by werewolves!
Who will enjoy this book: The werewolf trope carries a certain amount of narrative expectation, and those who enjoy them will not be disappointed. There are also elements of a thriller, and a class boundary-crossing romance (in addition to the overall maritime tragedy setting), so there’s plenty for everyone.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? If you settle in and let this book take you along for the ride, it can be a lot of fun. The danger starts early, the threats are deadly, the heroine is beautiful and the hero is dashing. Like other supernatural takes on the Titanic story, the introduction of werewolves adds a heightened level of tension to an already precarious situation. Take with a pinch of salt (or silver), dive in and enjoy.
The Time-Traveling Fashionista On Board the Titanic – Bianca Turetsky
What’s it about: A young suburban girl who dreams of opulence finds a dress at the mall which can transport her back in time to the Titanic.
Who will enjoy this book: Science fiction, historical drama, catastrophic disaster, high fashion … this Titanic book has it all! If you’re a fan of any of the above, then there’s something in this for you.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? I think it’s safe to stay you won’t find any many other Titanic stories that focus so heavily on fashion. But if you enjoy fashion, there’s a lot to love about this book, because it’s definitely a take on the story that not many people have seen before. In some cases, quite literally: along with the story, there are thirty full-colour illustrations of dresses throughout history featured within, to enrich your eyes as well as your imagination.
Deck Z: The Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead. – Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon
What it’s about: What if the Titanic was carrying a weaponised zombie virus? It would be quite the catastrophe if there was an uprising of the undead …
Who will enjoy this book: Anyone who enjoys zombie stories should immediately fall in love with this unusual take on historical fiction, and fans of horror can look forward to scenes of gory mayhem.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? The recipe of watching the struggle of a group of people in claustrophobic conditions trying to fight their way through hordes of the undead is a proven success with audiences the world over. By juxtaposing that premise with the infamous sinking of the Titanic Pauls and Solomon have set the stage for an enjoyably tense romp which should strike a chord with plenty of Titanic historians looking for an escapist adventure.
General Novels About the Titanic
Raise the Titanic! [Dirk Pitt #4] – Clive Cussler
What’s it about: Working covertly with the US government, Dirk Pitt must uncover the secrets of the Titanic before they fall into the wrong hands. Just one problem – it’s still buried 12,600 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean.
Who will enjoy this book: Titanic enthusiasts and anyone who loves an over-the-top thriller. Fans of Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan and James Bond are sure to enjoy protagonist Dirk Pitt in this cold war Titanic book.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? When it came to shipwrecks, Clive Cussler knew his sh*t. He was basically a real life Dirk Pitt. He dedicated his life to preserving American maritime history and the founded of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) to do just that (the agency also features in several of his books). He and his NUMA crew are responsible for discovering dozens of significant underwater shipwreck sites.
Further Reading: If you enjoy this one, Clive Cussler has two novels about the Titanic, the second of which is a prequel called The Titanic Secret.
The Midnight Watch – David Dyer
What’s it about: As the Titanic sinks, its distress rockets are watched by Second Officer Herbert Stone from the bridge of the Californian a few miles away. He alerts his captain, Stanley Lord … but he does nothing. The next day, with the Titanic sunk, Herbert and Lord try to cover up evidence of their inaction. But their terrible secret is eventually revealed.
Who will enjoy this book: This fictional retelling of the true actions (or lack thereof) of the Californian captain will appeal to those who enjoy stories of secret injustices brought to light, and the way the narrative unfolds is reminiscent of a political thriller.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Dyer’s choice of characters through which to retell this story – the Captain, his immediate confidant, and a family of passengers in third-class accommodation aboard the Titanic – gives this novel a very humanising touch. From the panic of the family members to the calculation of the officers, each decision they make has the characters’ emotions behind it fully visible to the reader, which draws you into the narrative very effectively.
Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town – John Welshman
What’s it about: Drawing from the genuine autobiographical accounts of twelve survivors from the sinking of the Titanic, this novel covers the catastrophe from perspectives right across the cultural board, from rich to poor, sailor to servant, European to American.
Who will enjoy this book: If you like multiple intertwining storylines but would prefer to read fictionalised accounts about real survivor stories from the Titanic instead of from fully fictional characters then this is the Titanic book for you!
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? The big selling point here is the sheer wealth of different perspectives on the disaster, as each character’s circumstances are interwoven with each other in a minute-by-minute account of how each person was able to survive the disaster. With so many points of view to jump between, the pace rarely lets up, with the tension rising as each character struggles to stay alive.
Heart of Disaster – Rachel Wesson
What’s it about: A group of strangers in third class passage aboard the Titanic – four single adults, a married couple and a stoker from the bowels of the ship – meet for the first time and bond on the night of the disaster.
Who will enjoy this book: Readers who enjoy a good, fleshed-out group dynamic as opposed to a single protagonist in their fiction shall enjoy Heart of Disaster, as well as those who appreciate well-written scenes of tension and panic.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Wesson has managed to create characters the reader can really relate to, and during the course of the novel at times it really does feel like you’re right there with them. If you’re looking for a Titanic book that hooks you emotionally, then this should be high on your list. Heart of Disaster also focuses on third class Irish passengers, who rarely get the spotlight in stories about the Titanic.
SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Novels About the Titanic
The Deep – Alma Katsu
What’s it about: Several passengers on board the Titanic think it might be haunted, and four years later onboard the Britannic two of them will meet again, but are we sure they both survived the Titanic?
Who will enjoy this book: Lovers of horror, the supernatural and anyone looking for an atmospheric spooky read!
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? The Deep perfectly combines real-life and supernatural horror in one of the best novels about the Titanic. This book is clearly a labour of love, full of carefully researched details, and real-life figures, including one of the most unique Titanic survivor stories: Violet Jessop.
The Candle Man – Alex Scarrow
What’s it about: Two dying passengers onboard the Titanic, one an older gentleman and one a younger woman, sit drinking together as the ship sinks. When the girl asks if the man has any stories he wants to share before the night is done, he begins to recount his life in Whitechapel, London starting back in 1888 when he first met Mary Kelly…
Who will enjoy this book: Jack the Ripper meets the Titanic… do I really need to say more?
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? The Candle Man combines two of history’s most macabre fascinations into one story. Marketed as a ‘Victorian thriller’ this definitely lives up to that label, filled with rich characters and unexpected twists and turns. Just be aware that the focus here is on the Ripper and not the Titanic, which really just serves as a setting for the man to unburden. So really it’s cheating, but I don’t care ’cause it’s still such a unique concept. Plus, Alex Scarrow lives in Norwich, and I have to represent.
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From Time to Time – Jack Finney
What’s it about: Simon Morley is tasked with travelling back in time to protect a man who has documents that could prevent WWI. The only problem is he seems to be travelling onboard the Titanic…
Who will enjoy this book: This is a bit of a cheat since it’s a sequel to the 1970s modern sci-fi classic Time and Again. However, although it isn’t the perfect sequel, readers who enjoyed Time and Again might be happy to be reunited with their favourite time traveller, Si Morley.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Because it’s a great historical time travelling romp. I read these both when I was a kid and again as a teenager, and maybe I just have bad taste (because a lot of people don’t enjoy the sequel nearly as much), or I’m just biased towards novels about the Titanic, but I really enjoyed From Time to Time. Sure, it’s not as good as its predecessor, but reading about Si’s time onboard the Titanic as he essentially tries to save the world brought him back to life all over again for me.
The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder – Marlene Dotterer
What’s it about: Irish physicist Sam Altair and his assistant, Casey Wilson, accidentally travel back in time to 1906. But when Casey meets and falls in love with Thomas Andrews, the man who will design the Titanic (and die onboard), she faces the dilemma of telling him the truth.
Who will enjoy this book: Those who love books full of ethical dilemmas, time travel and romance. Which I promise is not as specific as it sounds.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? While most stories about the Titanic deal with the ship’s final hours, The Time Travel Journals asks the question, “What if we could stop the Titanic from ever being built?” and creates a world around this moral quandary. Dotterer’s characters feel real and lived in, and we can easily sympathise with their struggle as they try to do the right thing.
Titanic 1912: A Lovecraft Mythos Novel – Catt Dahman
**Originally called Titanic: QED
What it’s about: The sinking of the Titanic was only the start of the nightmare – now those who haven’t frozen to death must fight for their lives as Lovecraftian nightmares begin to bleed into our reality.
Who will enjoy this book: Lovecraft stans, Jaws fans and horror clans will enjoy a fresh take on one of history’s most famous tragedies.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Honestly this wasn’t quite my cup of tea since I don’t really “get” Lovecraft, but I think if you do, you’ll love Titanic 1912. If you think man vs nature epics like Jaws would be better with monsters, now is your chance to find out!
Romance Novels About the Titanic
Like YA, Romance doesn’t tend to be my genre of choice, so while I don’t love all these books particular Titanic books, I can appreciate that others will probably get a lot more out of them than I do!
On a Cold Dark Sea – Elizabeth Blackwell
What it’s about: Three women with different pasts and circumstances watch the Titanic sink from a lifeboat. Twenty years later, a sudden death brings them back together.
Who will enjoy this book: Fans of romantic thrillers and those who look for strong female leads will find the lives of the three protagonists as Titanic survivors very engaging.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? On a Cold Dark Sea manages to successfully juggle the disparate lives of its characters across multiple genres, while keeping the whole story grounded in reality through the clever use of accurate newspaper articles and court transcripts from the time. With so much going on there’s something for almost everyone!
Women & Children First – Gill Paul
What’s it about: Following the sinking of the Titanic, the stories of four survivors who couldn’t be more different are told through alternating chapters.
Who will enjoy this book: Women and Children First is a great option for anyone who enjoys a solid historical fiction novel with elements of romance and mystery thrown in. This Titanic book would also likely interest people wanting to read novels about PTSD, or coping with grief and loss.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? While the first part of this book is about getting to know the four main characters in the lead up to the sinking, the bulk of the boat is about how they each cope with the shock and trauma. This is one of the better novels about the Titanic to deal with the aftermath of the sinking, especially because all of the main characters are so dissimilar and cope in entirely different ways.
The Dressmaker – Kate Alcott
What’s it about: An aspiring seamstress seemingly gets the break of a lifetime when she is hired by Lady Lucille Duff Gordon to be her personal maid aboard the Titanic. But as she becomes involved in a love triangle between a kind sailor and a Chicago millionaire, disaster strikes.
Who will enjoy this book: The Dressmaker is a proper romance, through and through, so fans of drama and romantic tension will have much to enjoy. As the book takes a darker turn in the second half (in more ways than one), fans of characters who have to make difficult moral choices should also be satisfied.
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? Alcott’s novel successfully travels a well-worn road of emotions, and her prose helps the reader to fully immerse themselves in the narrative. With the book continuing beyond the actual sinking, there’s plenty of drama to be had still, with dark suspicions falling on those whose consciences might not be as clear as they seem.
The Girl Who Came Home – Hazel Gaynor
What’s it about: Maggie Murphy, an Irish immigrant from a small village, leaves behind her sweetheart, Séamus, and boards the Titanic. Miraculously, she is one of the few third class passengers to survive the sinking of the Titanic and afterwards vows never to talk about it again. 73 years later in 1985, she shares her secret with her great-grand daughter, Grace, altering both of their lives.
Who will enjoy this book: If you loved Brooklyn, this book will be in your wheelhouse. After all, romance, family secrets and the Titanic – what’s not to like?
Why pick up this book about the Titanic? The Girl Who Came Home is loosely based on the real Addergoole 14, a group of 14 poor Irish immigrants travelling onboard the Titanic who all came from a small village called Addergoole in North Mayo county, Ireland. Of the 14, only three survived the sinking. Gaynor brings to life their story, and the lives of those in third class – a story that rarely gets told over that of the more famous and opulent guests onboard.
A Matter of Time – Michael J. Bowler
What’s it about: Jamie Collins keeps dreaming about the Titanic and an evil creature with fangs who stalks the ship. Then Jamie gets sick. He’s craving blood and the daylight makes him awfully ill… Jamie realises he has to go back in time to the Titanic in order to save himself from this creature, but doing so introduces him to Kate, another passenger…
Who will enjoy this book: Lovers of paranormal romance page-turners who like a bit of historical drama thrown in will love A Matter of Time.
What sets this book about the Titanic apart? Most paranormal-themed novels about the Titanic are YA, but if you’re looking for one a bit more grown up, you’ll probably love this mixed genre Titanic book. Plus, this is definitely one of the most unique stories about the Titanic that incorporates elements of time travel, romance, supernatural themes and adventure, and addresses important questions like, “even if we can, should we change history?”
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Have you read any of these Titanic books? Do you enjoy stories about the Titanic? Have we left out any of your favourite books about the Titanic? Let us know in the comments!