Angie Frazier (
The book starts out as simple historical fiction - Camille is engaged to Randall, and sets to sea with her father for one last jaunt before her marriage. Oscar is the first mate on the ship, and he and Camille have an obvious bond, but he lacks sufficient status and means to be considered a worthy beau for the daughter of a prosperous businessman (her father is not just a sea captain, but also owns his own shipping company). This being 1855, I figure our plot is essentially the same as the one Leo and Kate had in Titanic.
But wait! Just off the coast of Australia, things get way hinky when Camille finds a letter in her father's cabin and learns that her mother - who she was told died giving birth to her - is (probably) still alive (although dying of consumption) in Australia. She doesn't reach the end of the letter, but before she's interrupted, she reads about a map to a fabled magical relic, and next thing you know, we're in a historical fantasy (albeit set in the real world of 1855). And what a historical fantasy it is - no preternatural creatures, exactly, just some truly old magic at work.
One of the things I appreciate about the story is Angie's willingness to put her main character(s) through hell. I'm sure the impulse was there to let someone else sustain the horrible injuries and go through the many difficulties and torments between the beginning and end of the book, but Angie did not flinch - and truly, neither did her characters, which is one of the things that made me so willing to like them. So much so that, as I already said, I almost got over their names.*
*I realize the name aversion is just me, by the way. There is nothing wrong or improper about any of the choices - some of them just aren't names I care for. Others - like William and Samuel - were just dandy as far as I was concerned. And it didn't stop me from liking the book.