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Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan is a New York Times bestselling author and is the recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writer of the Year. She is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs, and women’s groups. https://www.patticallahanhenry.com/

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“The secrets are lost to the waves. Only the sea knows, my child, and she keeps her secrets well.” Everly’s grandfather, Papa.

Surviving Savannah is the haunting tale of the steamship, Pulaski, that sailed on June 13, 1838, with Savannah’s elite aboard. The wealthy were escaping the heat, humidity, and mosquitos with trunks of clothing, silver & gold, and china, preparing to spend the summer in the cooler climate of Saratoga Springs, New York. Billed as “only one night at sea” to lure passengers, the disaster later became known as the Southern Titanic when an explosion in the boiler room sunk the Pulaski in only 45 minutes.

This tale and the “secrets lost to the waves” is told through the voice of Papa’s granddaughter, Everly, a present-day history professor, in mourning over the loss of her best friend Mora. After 180 years the shipwreck is discovered and Everly becomes the curator for a museum exhibit taking readers down “rabbit holes” and to the bottom of the ocean as she finds new life in search for the truth.  In alternating chapters and timelines, through blistered lips and parched throats, passengers Augusta Longstreet and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, share the grievous, gut wrenching saga of who survives and how.

The determination and hope of the passengers floating toward shore will keep readers hoping and praying for their survival. Even though this IS a tale of disaster Patti Callahan regales the reader with vignettes of love and heart-warming, thought-provoking conclusions; even some stories of passengers’ survival. The question that floats to the surface is “How will they survive the surviving?”