Ocean of Secrets by Jerry Sacher
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on April 29, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
After he’s caught in a compromising position with the caretaker’s son, Andrew Elliot finds himself boxed into a corner. His father will not stand for that kind of relationship for his son. So Andrew finds himself engaged to a woman he barely knows. And he’s about to set sail to America with his fiancée and her brother–who makes Andrew uncomfortable. Andrew isn’t exactly resigned to his fate, but he sees no way out. He hopes if he goes along with his father’s wishes to a point, he can make him see reason. And maybe he’ll learn more about his betrothed on their trip, which might provide him the ticket to break this match.
Matthew Ahearn has always dreamed of being a cowboy in Texas. It’s a bit of a pipe dream for a lower class Irishman. But that doesn’t have to stop him from pursuing it. And if he can get a job on a ship sailing to America, he’ll be halfway there. A brief run-in with the law in London on his way to set sail isn’t enough to hold him back. He’s on the ship as he intended, and he’s leaving his past behind him.
These two men come from different worlds. But there’s something they have in common that might have the power to bring them together. If they happen to run into each other on the maiden voyage for the RMS Titanic, that is…
I know I’ve shared in my reviews before that I am a fan of historical fiction. And I really enjoy well-written historical m/m because I feel like it allows us to get a glimpse of stories that have been lost. The real stories weren’t written down because most of them existed in the shadows. And the stories we do have are mostly extrapolations from euphemisms. So a nice m/m spin on a major historical event like this definitely appeals to me.
The cast of characters here is pretty great. There’s a richness to their histories and personalities that really comes through. And the author’s inclusion of real passengers alongside the fictional characters helps bring the story to life. It also shows an attention to detail and level of research that is appreciated when one takes on such an iconic moment in history.
To me, this was an excellent twist on the historical romances I typically read from this period. There were many layers to sort through beyond just the “it’s not okay to be gay so I either have to hide it or be miserable” idea. And at the same time it acknowledges the tragedy of the Titanic and the lessons we learned (and can continue to learn) from what happened on that fateful night.