Updated: Sep 10
By Patti Callahan
A Thought-provoking and Riveting Story of Catastrophe, Survival and Hope.
In 1838, twelve members of the Longstreet family of Savannah Georgia board the luxury steamship Pulaski, to travel to Baltimore to escape the brutal Savannah summers. This is the newly built ship’s fourth journey. There are over 180 passengers and crew members on board when the ship explodes in the middle of the night. With only two working lifeboats on board, many lives were lost on that horrendous night.
The wreckage is discovered 180 years later in a hundred feet of water thirty-five miles off the coast of North Carolina. Everly Winthrope, a Savannah history professor is ask to guest-curate the collection of artifacts being recovered from the Pulaski for a local history museum. Everly’s research on what happened that night leads her to focus her efforts on two members of the Longstreet family who had boarded the ship.—Augusta Longstreet, and her niece Lilly Forsyth. These two women face difficult and heartbreaking decisions on the night of the explosion. Everly is also facing difficult decisions of her own if she is going to survive the recent loss of her best friend.
”There were many ways to survive and many ways to survive the surviving.”
Surviving Savanah is a thought-provoking story of catastrophe, survival and hope. Author Patti Callahan plucks this riveting steamship story from real life and creatively weaves the past and the present, alternating between Everly in present day, and Lilly Forsyth and Augusta Longstreet in 1838. The perseverance, determination and resilience reflected by these women makes this story captivating.
The story explores the horror of having to make instantaneous decisions that have life and death consequences and the sorrow of being a survivor when those you know and love have died. But it’s also about hope for the future and surviving the survival.
Callahan’s characters are delightfully well-developed and her writing is vividly descriptive, particularly of the days following the explosion, as many passengers are floating in the water barely clinging to life.
She has thoroughly proven her ability once again as an outstanding author. She has authored numerous novels, most recently including The Favorite Daughter and Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“The life we live is the life we choose. With ever decision of the hear soul and mind. What do we do with our survival? Now what?”
“You know,” he said finally, “not everyone who survives trauma becomes a better person. The idea that surviving brings everyone to a new and better place is a lie told by people who need the world to make sense.”
Published March 9, 2021