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Ella Brown grew up in one of London’s privileged homes, with all the comforts and luxuries that money can buy. But when sudden financial reversals strike her household, leaving her father dead by his own hand and her mother broken by trauma, Ella is forced from a life of safety and abundance to one of scarcity and fear. Clinging to survival on the filthy streets of the city, she’s betrayed by her only friend and burdened by an ill-fated pregnancy. By the time Ella arrives at the hospital in premature labor, she desperately needs an angel of mercy, and one soon arrives: Irene Corbett, a Mormon midwife who has come to London for advanced medical training at the great sacrifice of her family. Irene soothes Ella’s pain as she births a son, who lives only minutes, helps her back on her feet, and joins her on a voyage to America on the ship Titanic—where epic disaster rips the two friends apart. Bereaved and alone, Ella finds comfort and healing in the care of rescue crewman Jonathan Moreau and his loving family. But will the dark weight of Ella’s past destroy her delicate hopes for the future? Bestselling author Anita Stansfield delivers a story of compassion, hope, and survival set against a backdrop of the greatest tragedy of the early twentieth century.
- Pages: 240
- Size: 6 x 9
- Released: 02/2012
- Book on CD: Unabridged
About the Author
Anita Stansfield began writing at the age of sixteen, and her first novel was published sixteen years later. Her novels range from historical to contemporary and cover a wide gamut of social and emotional issues that explore the human experience through memorable characters and unpredictable plots. She has received many awards, including a special award for pioneering new ground in LDS fiction, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Whitney Academy for LDS Literature. Anita is the mother of five, and has two adorable grandsons. Her husband, Vince, is her greatest hero.
Moment of Decision
London, England — One Year Earlier
Ella Brown walked at an unusually hurried pace through the dirty
streets that had become so distastefully familiar to her. She shut out
the sounds of crying babies and begging children, unable to consider
the possibility that her own child might one day be among them. She
refused to take in the smells of rotting garbage, and carefully avoided
the sewage running in the streets. This was the part of London that her
parents had taught her to forever shun. Liquor and brothels were in
ample abundance. Good food and any sense of safety or security were
Not so many months ago, Ella had lived in a lovely house with
comfortable beds and elegant decor. There had been ample to eat, and
even a couple of servants who took care of any task too distasteful for
Ella’s parents. Ella had been protected from the fact that her parents
had been spending themselves into enormous debt, apparently with no
thought of the consequences to themselves or their daughter. Everything
had seemed to fall apart in a day. Ella knew now that her security had
been crumbling slowly for a long while, but she didn’t have even a
slight suspicion of it until the grim reaper of debt had come calling to
collect. They lost everything! The servants were off to stay with relatives
until other employment could be found, but Ella had no relatives. Her
parents had deliberately alienated themselves from every family member,
and their estrangements had been carved in stone for too many years
to ever be reversed. Ella had never once even met a relative. The true shock for Ella had been hearing her mother’s screams when she’d found
her husband dead—by his own hand. Ella’s mother had immediately
reverted into some kind of mentally detached state that kept her
completely oblivious to the incomprehensible horror that her life
had become. In her mind she was still attending extravagant parties
and wearing lavish clothes and jewels, apparently not recalling that
her husband was dead, her house and belongings had been taken by
those to whom she owed money, and her daughter was out on the
streets—quite literally. For the first time in her life, Ella had been glad
to be an only child, if only because that meant she would not need to
care for and protect any younger siblings. Taking care of herself was
challenging enough. How would she have ever kept anyone else from
starving? She’d managed to get away with her own jewelry hidden in
the two pieces of luggage she’d carried out of the house that fateful
night when her world had crashed down around her. But work had
been impossible to find, and her resources had disintegrated quickly
in just trying to pay rent on the sparse and pathetic room where she’d
been living and in keeping enough food in her stomach to stay alive.
Her attempts to find a suitable job had all fallen short because she had
no training or experience in anything, no skill whatsoever that would
warrant anyone wanting to pay her for her services.
When her situation had become desperate, Ella had taken the advice
of a woman who lived in the same building. Laetitia had been very friendly
to Ella. She had been the only person to show any kindness whatsoever
to Ella since she had been plummeted into a world that surely resembled
hell on earth. Therefore, Ella had naturally felt drawn to her, and had
mistakenly trusted her. You’ll make a lot of money, her friend had told her.
Supposed friend. No true friend would have ever lured an unsuspecting
young woman into such a horrifying and degrading situation! No friend
of any kind would have suggested such a thing without some kind of
forewarning or explanation! Ella had been entirely innocent; young and
naive and utterly gullible. She’d been raised by good parents—in spite of
their penchant for spending more money than they’d had. She’d gone to
church every Sunday, always holding in her heart the fear of God and a
desire to please Him rather than do anything to incur His wrath. Now
she had no doubt that she had disappointed Him in the worst possible
way. What she had done was unforgivable, even if she’d had no idea what she was doing until it was too late. Ella felt certain she was now on a
cursed path that could never be reversed. Her life had been ruined—
surely and irrevocably. She had indeed been given a great deal of money,
and Laetitia had laughed off Ella’s traumatized reactions with that
reminder—as if money might make everything all right; as if money
might buy back what Ella had lost. In Laetitia’s defense, Ella had spent
enough time among the barely surviving souls of the earth to know
that desperation drove people to do unspeakable things, and Laetitia
had spent a great many more years living in that world than Ella had.
She’d been hardened by it, no doubt. But Ella still wanted to believe
that no amount of hardness or suffering could justify the deceptive
methods Laetitia had resorted to in order to get Ella into that situation.
And since Laetitia had taken a cut of the money for closing the deal,
she’d certainly had ulterior motives. Ella now believed that Laetitia had
never truly had any personal interest in being a friend to Ella. She’d
simply been luring her into a trap all along. A horrible, inescapable
trap. And now! Now . . . the unthinkable had come to pass. It had only
happened once, and Laetitia had assured her that pregnancy was not a
possibility after just once. Again Ella cursed herself for trusting such a
woman and believing that anything she’d said was true.
Following the initial trauma, Ella had wanted to die, and she’d
seriously considered—more than once—following her father’s example
of leaving this world by choice. But she couldn’t bring herself to do it,
not certain if that made her a coward or abstractly more courageous.
Now as she walked blindly through the streets, trying to take in the
reality of what she’d realized just this morning, she considered that
choice once again. But now there wasn’t only her own life to consider,
but that of a child. Could she be responsible for taking the life of a child
as well as her own? On the other hand, how could she be responsible
for raising a child, for keeping it fed and safe in such a world? The
clear memory of a terrifying sermon on the prospect of endless fire and
torment tilted the scale in her mind more toward choosing to remain
alive. But she couldn’t completely rule out the possibility that she was
already doomed to endless fire, unwed and pregnant as she was; and
one more bad choice might not make any difference.
That night Ella lay curled up on her poor excuse of a bed in her
poor excuse of a barely livable room and wept herself into shock. What on earth was she going to do? How could she ever care for herself and a
child when she was barely surviving as it was? The very fact that she had
a fair amount of money currently in her possession felt like a sick kind
of taunting when she thought of what she’d suffered in order to get
it. Her rent was paid for some months in advance, and if she used the
remainder of it very carefully in acquiring sufficient food for herself,
she could perhaps manage to get by for a while yet. If she had any hope
of surviving, she had to find the means to earn some money—if it were
even possible to do such a thing and remain respectable. Perhaps that
was no longer an issue. But even if she managed to hold everything
together until she could give birth to this baby, then what? She couldn’t
even begin to imagine!
Ella forced herself beyond her shock and fear in order to reach into
the deepest part of her soul enough to do the only thing she knew how
to do under such desperate circumstances. She prayed. She prayed with
all the energy of her heart and mind. She prayed like she never in her
life prayed before. While a part of her wondered if the prayers of such
a woman might even be heard—let alone answered—she had to hope
for the tiniest chance that God would have mercy on her and give her
the strength and means to survive. Although she’d been oblivious to the
passing of time, she had been conscious of the bells of a distant church
tower ringing enough times to mark more than two hours while she
continued to pray in the midst of contemplating the nightmare her life
had become. An unpremeditated thought occurred to her that increased
her hope just a bit. She recalled clearly a sermon she’d once heard about
how compassionate and forgiving Jesus had been while He’d lived on
the earth. He’d even offered forgiveness to a woman taken in the very
act of adultery. Maybe, just maybe, if that were true, Ella too could be
forgiven for the grievous sin she’d committed. As she allowed the idea to
settle into her spirit, she felt her hope increase even further. Like a light
in a dark room, the warmth began to tangibly fill her, starting in the
center of her chest and filtering outward. By the time her every nerve
became permeated with warmth, her desire to live and make a new life
for herself had far surpassed any idea she’d ever had to leave this world
and its misery behind. Contrary to every bit of logical assessment in
regard to her present circumstances, she found it possible to believe that
somehow, some way, someday, her life could be better than this. She was determined to find a new path and do whatever it took to travel that
path with courage and enough strength to sustain herself and her child
through whatever the future might bring.
- * * * *
Utah Valley, America
Irene Corbett sat down hard on the steps of the back porch,
forcing herself to take a deep breath and reach somewhere deep inside
herself where she might be able to take hold of the belief that she was
not crazy, and perhaps more importantly, that she was not somehow
wicked or rebellious for wanting to pursue the course before her. She
knew well enough that being a devoted wife and mother was her most
important calling in this world. It was not only strongly taught as part
of her religious beliefs, but she knew it for herself, from within her
own spirit. She loved her husband and children, and she wanted to
do right by them. But she also knew that women had been created to
do great things. The Relief Society organization for the women of the
Church had taught these principles from its very beginnings, nearly
seventy years earlier. Women were created to make a difference in the
world! Prophets had said so, and there were many shining examples
of women in the scriptures and throughout the history of the Church
that proved to Irene she wasn’t alone in her thinking. Then why did
she feel alone?
The frustration she felt grew to such a force that it hurtled her
right off the porch and into a briskly paced walk about the yard. She
was glad the children were sleeping, and grateful for the pleasant air
of a summer evening. The sun had recently sunk beneath the western
horizon, and had taken with it the intense heat of the day. She pondered
the conversation she’d just had with her husband, and wondered why
she had expected the outcome to be any different. Perhaps because she’d
hoped and believed that he would be able to understand her reasons for
wanting to take this step in her life. But she should have known better.
Walter was a good man, and she loved him. But she knew well enough
that he’d be more happy and content with a wife who was happy and
content to simply care for her home and family. For all the countless
conversations she’d had with Walter about the fire that burned inside of her, spurring her to the belief that she needed to do more, he simply
couldn’t seem to grasp it; he simply didn’t understand.
Irene was an educated woman. She’d thoroughly enjoyed acquiring
her education at Brigham Young Academy, and she’d immensely
enjoyed teaching school following her graduation. But as soon as
she’d become engaged to be married, she’d had no choice but to
forfeit her teaching job. Married women weren’t allowed to teach, a
concept that Irene could not understand—and to this day, if she let
herself think about it too much, she could become rather riled. She
had gone into nursing in search of an alternate route of opportunity
for making a difference in the world. She’d found a great deal of
fulfillment and satisfaction in the way her knowledge and skills—and
even her personality—had contributed to aiding people through times
of suffering and pain. The doctors she worked with were impressed
by her abilities, and more than one had encouraged her to continue
her training so that her influence could be broadened. The first time
Irene had heard the suggestion that she might travel to London and be
trained in obstetrics, she had trouble not laughing out loud. London?
The very possibility seemed absurd and too far out of reach. But the
suggestion had come up again and again, and it had begun to grow
in Irene’s heart until it had filled her spirit so fully she could not deny
that she was being guided to pursue this course.
Irene had grown up with the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ
in her life. It had always been her guiding star, her deepest love, her
most ardent affection. She had learned through much practice and
experience how to hear the still, small voice of the Spirit, and she
had actively applied Its guidance in every aspect of her life. When she
unequivocally knew the source of that voice, and what it was telling
her, how could she possibly deny it simply because there were people
around her who could not capture the same vision or understand the
urgency she felt? The very fact that the path before her was lacking in
logic and practicality seemed all the more evidence to her that God’s
hand was in it. The desire was so strong in her that she almost felt
as if she might die if she didn’t do it. It wasn’t that she believed she
would physically lose her life, but she felt certain a part of her spirit
would shrivel up if she could not go to London and be trained in all
of the state-of-the-art procedures of midwifery. The area in which she lived was in great need of trained professionals who could help women
through the process of safely delivering their children into the world.
And Irene wanted to be able to do that. She wanted it every bit as much
as she wanted to be a good mother to her children. A nagging voice
in the back of her mind tempted her to believe that she could not be
a good midwife and a good mother at the same time. But Irene knew
the source of that voice as well, and she knew better than to listen to it.
God had created women to do great things, and Irene was determined
to heed His call, wherever it might take her!
It was completely dark when Irene finally went inside to find
Walter sound asleep. She sat in the parlor near a lamp to read from
the Book of Mormon, according to a lifelong habit. The book was
undoubtedly her most priceless possession. It had been the source of
peace and answers for her more times than she could count. She didn’t
read long, but set the book aside feeling more determined than ever
to follow her heart. As she quietly got ready for bed, trying not to
disturb Walter, she kept hearing in her mind the words of Nephi—a
great prophet and an amazing man—echoing through her mind. I
will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know
that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he
shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he
Irene knelt to pray and silently poured out her heart to her Father
in Heaven, speaking to Him as candidly as if He were there at her
side, listening with perfect compassion to her pleas. She expressed a
sincere desire to do His will, whatever it might be, and she asked for
guidance in being able to know beyond any doubt the correct course
for her life. She prayed for the hearts of her loved ones to be softened,
and she concluded her prayer with the knowledge that if it was meant
to be it would work out. At this point she couldn’t even imagine how
she would come up with the money to go, or how she would possibly
arrange for the care of her children in her absence. She only knew that
the need to go felt all consuming and it couldn’t be denied.
Irene slept well in spite of her churning thoughts. The exhaustion
of a busy life overruled her busy mind. She woke early, got dressed, and
smoothed her dark, wavy hair. She had breakfast nearly ready before Walter
and the children were up and about. Irene found great joy in helping the children get dressed, intermixing some play and teasing with the
necessary tasks. Little Walter was getting old enough to start dressing
himself with only a little occasional assistance. Roene was beginning
to say some words here and there, but she was still in diapers, as was
the littlest, Mack, who was crawling everywhere and quickly figuring
out how to get into everything.
At breakfast Walter was polite but subtly aloof, and Irene knew
only too well that his mood was focused on their conversation of the
previous night and his resistance to her leaving the family in order
to receive medical training. She could understand his reluctance, and
she’d told him so. But she also needed him to understand how strongly
she believed this was right for her. For all her efforts to communicate
her feelings to him, he didn’t understand. And that was the problem.
Irene was praying very hard for his heart to be softened, but a part
of her knew that she couldn’t take away his agency any more than he
could take away hers. He was entitled to his opinions, and as his wife
she needed to prayerfully consider his wishes. But she had been taught
all her life that her most important relationship was between herself
and God. She had to honor God’s will for her above all else if she
wanted to be at peace with herself.
By the time breakfast was over, Irene had become decidedly discouraged.
She wondered if she’d been overtaken by some kind of insanity to believe
that such an endeavor might be possible. Needing some sound advice
and a listening ear, she gathered up the children and paid a visit to her
parents’ home. She’d been hoping to have a good conversation with her
mother, but considered it a great blessing to find her father at home as
well. Now she could speak with them both, and if she was indeed losing
her mind, they would kindly put her straight.
Levi and Alice Colvin were some of the finest people that Irene
knew, and she counted herself very blessed to be their oldest daughter.
Her father had served as a bishop for nearly two decades. In fact, it was
difficult to remember when he hadn’t been a bishop. He was kind and
wise, as was his wife, and Irene knew she could speak candidly to them
about the deepest feelings of her heart.
“Oh, how good to see you, dear,” Alice said when Irene came through
the back door with Mack in her arms and Roene and little Walter running
in ahead of her.
“Hello, Mother,” Irene said, and they exchanged a tight hug, with Mack
getting caught in the middle. As the hug ended, Irene transferred Mack to
his grandmother’s arms, and Alice laughed as she kissed her little grandson.
“Oh, he gets cuter every day,” Alice said.
“He does indeed,” Irene said and turned to receive an embrace from
“What brings you out for a visit?” Levi asked with a smile. “Not that
I’m complaining, but I know how busy you are.”
“I confess that I could use a listening ear,” Irene said. Her tone
must have come across more gravely than she’d intended by the way her
parents’ expressions both clouded over at the same time.
“Is something wrong?” Alice asked.
“No, everything is fine,” Irene assured them. “I just . . . need some advice.”
Alice said she just needed a few minutes to finish up something in
the kitchen, and then she could sit to visit. Levi helped find some toys
to occupy the children, then the adults all sat down around the kitchen
table, where they could keep an eye on the children as they played
nearby. Irene dove right into the conversation with words she’d been
memorizing through the last hour. She got to the point very quickly, and
wasn’t surprised to hear her father say, “London?”
“As far as that?” Alice asked. “It’s most of a continent and an entire
“Yes, I know,” Irene said, “but the General Lying-In Hospital in
London is absolutely the best place at this time to learn midwifery.
They are pioneering the way in using antiseptic techniques that lower
the risks of infection related to childbirth. Think of all the good I could
do with such training!”
Irene could see that her parents were a little startled with her idea,
or perhaps with the intensity of her enthusiasm. They only stared at her,
eyes and mouths wide for a long moment, so she went on with the details
she had learned.
“They have nurses’ housing adjacent to the hospital, and I would
be able to live right there while I receive my training, which would take
about six months. I would leave in the fall and return in the spring.
It’s not so very long when you think about the span of a lifetime and
all the good that I could do with such training!” She realized she’d said
that twice now, but it was the most prominent thought on her mind.
“How would you afford it?” Levi asked.
“I have no idea,” Irene said, feeling a deep chagrin settle into her heart.
“What would you do with the children?” Alice asked. “Walter could
never care for them if you were gone.”
“Again, I have no idea,” Irene said and looked down at where she
was wringing her hands on her lap. She looked up again, attempting to
convey in her expression the conviction she felt. “I only know that it feels
like I’m supposed to do it. I feel like I must do it!” She put a fist to her
heart. “I don’t know how it’s possible, or how to go about it, but I have
to at least try.”
“I shouldn’t have to ask if you’ve prayed about this,” Levi said, “but
I need to anyway.”
“I have prayed about it,” Irene said. “I’ve prayed very much. At first
I felt sure that praying about it would quickly bring the answer that it
was out of the question, and that I would find peace with letting it go.
But the opposite has happened. I can’t let it go—even though Walter is
opposed to it. I know I need to honor my husband, but I also need to
honor my heart, and he has trouble understanding that.”
“You do need to honor your husband,” Levi said, “but it’s not news
to any of us that Walter has difficulty with the idea of women doing
anything outside of caring for the family.”
“Yes, and so does his mother,” Alice pointed out in a tone that
expressed what Irene also knew. Her mother-in-law would be outraged
by such a decision, but Irene had learned long ago that it was more
important to be right with God than it was to concern herself with
anyone else’s opinion—especially that of her mother-in-law. Mrs. Corbett
was a good woman who meant well. She simply had a very different
personality from Irene, and she had been raised with very differing views.
For all that they shared the same religion and its corresponding values,
their different interpretations of a woman’s place and a woman’s purpose
had come between them many times. Since Walter had been raised by
this woman, his views naturally leaned toward her beliefs on the topic.
But Irene had been raised to follow her heart and honor her God-given
gifts. Her beliefs were being put to the test, but she had to regularly
remind herself that her desires were not wicked or rebellious. In fact, her
desires were entirely righteous, even if people around her couldn’t see or
understand that. She wanted to serve God with the gifts and talents He’d given her. She wanted to help build His kingdom and aid His children
in their suffering.
“But you shouldn’t mind that,” Levi said. “You must follow your
heart, so long as it’s in alignment with God’s will.”
“Yes, I know,” Irene said, feeling so deeply validated that she wanted
“It’s a mighty big undertaking you’re talking about,” Levi added in
his most fatherly tone.
“I don’t know if I can make it work,” Irene said, “but I feel like I
have to try. I’ve not only prayed, I’ve fasted as well. I pondered it a great
deal before I even brought it up with Walter, but . . .”
“I take it he’s not pleased with the idea,” Alice said.
“Is that a surprise?” Irene asked. “I can’t blame him for wishing
his wife would be more conventional, but hedid choose to marry me.
I’m afraid if he loves me, he’s going to have to love me the way I am. I
certainly love him the way he is, even though I don’t necessarily agree
with all of his attitudes on certain topics.”
“Marriage is full of give and take,” Alice said. “If this is truly the
right course, you’ll know what to do.”
“Maybe I’m just dreaming,” Irene said.
“No harm in that,” Levi commented with a warm smile toward his
daughter, “as long as you don’t have your head in the clouds.” He glanced
toward the children. “You’re a good mother, and you do a great deal of good
elsewhere too.” He looked back at Irene. “I couldn’t be more proud of my
daughter. Just take care that you don’t get too headstrong. Be considerate
of your husband and continue to be prayerful. If it’s right, it’ll work out.”
They talked a long while about the possibilities of how such an
endeavor might come together, and Irene and the children stayed for
lunch. When she left to take the children home so that the younger
ones could take a nap, Irene felt validated and comforted by her parents’
advice and support, but she also felt discouraged. Perhaps this was just
some kind of test, and in the end it would simply not come to pass.
Over the next few days, Irene didn’t bring the topic up again with
Walter. She kept pondering and praying, and she fasted again with the
same question prominent in her mind and heart. Her feelings didn’t
change, but she knew that Walter was likely hoping that the idea had
been forgotten, and she dreaded bringing it up again. She finally did bring it up, and wasn’t surprised by his aversion to talking about it at
all. She assured him that her desire to do this was not a reflection of her
feelings for him or her place with him as his wife and the mother of his
children. But she wasn’t certain he believed her.
“What will people think?” he asked. “If you run off to a foreign
country to do something . . . so rash, people are sure to believe that there’s
something wrong between us.”
“It shouldn’t matter at all what people think as long as we know in
our hearts—and between us—what the truth is.”
Walter just shook his head. “I just don’t see how it’s possible. Even
if it’s what you want to do, there’s no way we could ever afford it.” He
left the room as if that should conclude the conversation—and the very
idea. Irene cried once she was alone, but she couldn’t let go of the belief
that somehow this would work out.
Several more days passed while Irene tried not to think about her
dilemma, but it preoccupied her thoughts continually, nevertheless.
She continued to pray that it would either work out or that she could
feel peace over letting it go. But her feelings didn’t change, and she knew
that Walter was likely praying that she would let go of this ridiculous
notion and just be content with the life she had. She sincerely wished
that she could be more the wife that Walter wanted, but she couldn’t
deny who and what she was—who God had created her to be.
The following Sunday, early in the evening, Irene was pleasantly
surprised to have her parents stop by for a visit. She realized within a
few minutes that while they were glad to see Walter and Irene and the
children, they had come with something specific in mind.
“Might we sit down and talk?” Levi asked Walter, then he glanced
at Irene. “The four of us?”
“Of course,” Irene said. Walter didn’t comment. He just took a seat
Irene’s heart pounded as she waited for what she believed would be
some gentle guidance from her parents in believing that she should let
go of the idea of traveling thousands of miles to engage in something
that was full of uncertainty and so utterly impractical. She saw her father
reach for her mother’s hand, which implied that they were completely
united in whatever they had to say. But it had always been that way. Even
when they had disagreed, eventually they would come to an agreeable compromise, because they were both willing to go to the Lord, and
that meant they would be able to know the Lord’s will when it came to
important matters. She wished that Walter could understand the true
source of her desires, but looking into her parents’ faces, she felt certain
that her dream of going to England was about to come to an end.
“We’ve been thinking about what you came to talk to us about,”
“What would that be?” Walter asked.
“About going to England to study medicine,” Irene said.
Walter let out an annoyed sigh and turned his attention back to his
“We’ve both prayed about this,” Levi continued, “and we’ve discussed
it a great deal, if you must know. We didn’t want to support you in
something if it wasn’t right. On the other hand, we didn’t want to not
support you if it is right. The thing is . . . we’re both in strong agreement
that you should do this, and we want to help make it happen.”
Irene sucked in her breath and couldn’t let it out. She felt sure
she had heard them wrong. She’d wanted so badly to hear the words
that they would be supportive that she had surely misconstrued her
father’s meaning. Or perhaps he’d transposed words and he’d said it
differently than he’d meant it. She was still holding her breath when
Levi said, “We’ve made the decision to mortgage our home to give you
the necessary funds to pay for the trip and whatever you’ll need to get
your training and care for yourself while you’re away.”
Irene’s breath came out in a sharp gasp that turned to a sob before
she slapped her hand over her mouth. Alice smiled at her daughter
with a sparkle of tears in her eyes, as if she fully understood how Irene
was feeling. She then said, “We would also like to care for the children
while you’re away. That way Walter won’t be burdened with having to
concern himself with them, and he can come to see them as much as
he’d like. Knowing how much we love them, you’ll be able to focus on
your studies and not worry.”
Irene was only vaguely aware of Walter’s silence that implied his
displeasure. She was more focused on the reality that all of her prayer
and fasting and pondering and desires had just come neatly together
in a beautifully wrapped package, a gift from God as surely as if it had
come wrapped in shiny paper with a big red bow. She sprang out of her chair and hugged her parents ferociously, laughing and crying at the
same time, muttering her gratitude over and over. Alice and Levi both
laughed as well, sharing in their daughter’s joy. Walter just sat there, his
aura of displeasure growing more visible by the moment.
When Irene had calmed down and returned to her chair, she saw
her father lean his forearms on his thighs and look firmly at Walter. “I
know this is hard for you, Walter,” Levi said. “As your father-in-law I
have no right to meddle, and I would never do so. But as a father to
both of you, I would ask that you make an effort to understand Irene’s
need to do this. I know she loves you, and she needs your support. I
earnestly believe that her desires are righteous, and her purpose in this
is to honor God’s will in regard to her mission in this world. If I didn’t
believe that, I wouldn’t be offering my support in this way.”
“I guess it’s all settled, then,” Walter said in a tone that sounded more
like his pride had been wounded than anything else. He got up and left
A wake of silence followed his departure, until Alice said gently,
“You must be patient with him. Your disagreeing with him does not
merit discord in the marriage.”
“I understand, Mother. I’ve truly tried to help him understand why
this is so important to me.”
“A year from now,” Alice said, “this will all be behind you, and you
can work on putting things right.”
“In the meantime,” Levi said, “I would say you’ve got to take this to
the Lord once again and be absolutely certain you’re making the right
choice. If you can know with confidence that you’re right with Him,
then you have to leave Walter in His hands and go forward.”
“Yes, of course,” Irene said and hugged her parents again, so grateful
and happy she felt as if she would burst.
That evening Irene tried again to talk to Walter about her feelings
regarding this endeavor, but he was too focused on being without his wife
and children for several months, and he kept bringing up the problem
of what people would think. For all of Irene’s efforts to reason with him,
she had to accept that he was never going to be happy about this. She
assured him that she loved him, and that she would follow her father’s
advice to pray about it again and be absolutely certain it was the right
thing. He made no comment on that, and once he’d gone to sleep Irene cried silent tears. She felt torn in wondering how she could honor her
relationship with God and follow her heart, and at the same time have
it come between her and her husband. She simply had to remind herself
that for all that Walter was a good man in many ways, he was human
and fallible. As she was. She couldn’t stand up for her own feelings on the
matter without respecting his. All she could do was continue to reassure
him and move forward.
Following more prayer and fasting, Irene knew what she had to do.
Once she had made her decision, she put her focus on making all of
the arrangements, grateful for the modern means of travel available to
her that made it possible to get to London within a couple of weeks.
She thought of her pioneer ancestors, just a few generations back, who
had come by wagon train to this valley, enduring great hardship to
establish new communities and create the way of life they now enjoyed.
A decade into the twentieth century, Irene had the luxury of riding in
an automobile to the train station, and then going by rail to the East
Coast, where she would board a steamer in order to cross the Atlantic.
A part of her felt deeply nervous to be going so far on her own, but in
her innermost self she knew it was the right thing to do. She’d made her
decision for all of the right reasons, and she was prepared to stand by it.
Exquisite Renition of TheTragic Sinking
by Teri - reviewed on March 20, 2012
When I read through a newsletter from Anita a few weeks ago that her newest novel would soon be released and that it was about the Titanic, I knew I had to get it and get it quickly, as I'm a HUGE Titanic fan and have read a lot of books on this subject. Since Anita usually writes a series of books when she writes, I was hoping there would be a sequel, but at this point, I'm not sure. We'll just have to wait and see. The story starts out with the sinking of the ship, with the main characters Ella Brown, who is a fictional character and with incorporating a real-life character into the story. This person happens to be Irene Corbett, an LDS woman from Utah, who strongly feels she needs to further her nursing skills in London in midwifery. She prays about this important undertaking, as she'll need to leave her husband and three young children for 6 months or more. Ella, a young English girl, loses both of her parents, so is forced to live an impoverished life on the streets of London, winding up in the hospital in a life-threatening state, the same hospital Irene is working in. Irene feels a strong connection with Ella and they bond quickly. Irene finds a place for Ella to live, where in time, she finds work as a nanny. When Irene has finished her schooling, she books passage on this new ship that has been touted as being unsinkable. Ella is totally surprised when the family she works for also books passage on the Titanic for a vacation in America. Both women find the ship wonderful, especially with knowing the Titanic has many pianos onboard. When both ladies hear and feel the ship hitting the iceberg, they begin to gather a few things together. Ella loses sight of Irene when Irene puts her in a lifeboat. The next morning, when the ship Carpathia arrives where they expected the Titanic to be, they see nothing but lifeboats with survivors in them. Deeply shaken by this catastropic event, Ella finds comfort and healing in the care of rescue crewman Jonathan Moreau and his loving family. Can Ella ever find peace and happiness with the constant nightmares over this devastating event? This powerful novel evokes compassion, redemption, hope and survival as never before, as this really happened.
A must read for Anita and Titanic fans alike.
by Rhonda - reviewed on March 08, 2012
I loved reading this book. It was an interesting way to become acquainted with some of the people who sailed on Titanic. I love the story of Irene and the courage it took to leave her family to go to England. I also liked that we were able to see a little of what life might have been like for some of the survivors of this horrific event.
by Donna - reviewed on July 01, 2012
This is the second or third book I have read by Anita Stansfield and I must say, it was a great read. It took me two weeks to get started but once I did, I could not put it down. I consider her to be my favorite LDS author and I will be reading more of her books.
Tender, Compelling, and Haunting!
by Dina - reviewed on January 27, 2012
This love story transcends one of the most horrific events in the world’s history. Although, we all know what the outcome was, in regard to the Titanic, you will have a new view of the raw emotions that were experienced by its survivors. Anita Stansfield demonstrates her gift for storytelling in “Passage on the Titanic”. She allows us to fall in love with Irene and Ella; Two friends brought together by a higher power. She weaves a story of heartache and loss and then brings us full circle to healing and living the life we’re meant to live. I love the lesson of learning to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. It resonates continually throughout this book and it allowed me to see beyond the normal examples of daily life. And YES! There is a romance in store for Ella so hold on tight and get ready to be sucked in to the world of “Passage on the Titanic”. Go to http://anitastansfield.blogspot.com to read more and enter give aways!
Another great read from Anita!
by Terry - reviewed on March 08, 2012
I too loved this book! Anita gives us insight into what it must have felt like to not only endure this tragedy from the passengers point of view, but from the on-lookers (rescuers and those waiting on land for family & friends to arrive)perspective as well! I have quite a different mindset about the whole devastatingly horrific disaster! Thank you Anita!
Another great read!
by Terry - reviewed on March 08, 2012
I loved this book! Anita gives you a look at the world not only through a passenger's view point and experience, but anyone who was living at that time in history when they were either involved in, or helped with, the rescue efforts not to mention those on land waiting for the passengers arrival ! I received a different view point of the whole horrific tragedy.
Passage on Titanic is lacking
by Lu Ann - reviewed on March 03, 2012
I am a fan of Anita Stansfield's writing but this new "Passage on the Titanic" would have been more interesting in short story form, in my opinion. She seemed to be 'reaching' to stretch this out. The story line was good, it just seemed to be lacking interesting events.
I loved the way Anita entwined fact with fiction in her new book about the LDS midwife who died on the Titanic. Could not put it down.
by Judy - reviewed on March 08, 2012
It was so timely for Anita's book to come out recently about the LDS woman who died on the Titanic. I had just heard the talk in conference referring to this woman. I knew the story of the two missionaries but not about Irene. When Elder Cook mentioned her story I wanted to know more. It was just recently that I met Anita and heard of her book. I had read previous fiction books by Anita so I wanted to see how she would entwine fact with fiction. I feel that Anita did capture the feelings that Irene would have felt. The courageous decisions she made to go to Engalnd. I could not put the book down. I would recommend this book to everyone.
I wanted it to go on.
by Darla - reviewed on March 08, 2012
I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to find out a few facts about the passengers on the Titanic. Irene's story although sad touched me to know that she lived the gospel and loved so thoroughly. It also showed how God's hand is in all things as seen in the missionary's story. The fictional part, Ella's story, was typical of Anita's ability to capture realistic struggles of man/woman. I just wish it hadn't ended so soon.
by Darlene Anderson - reviewed on March 08, 2012
Anita does an amazing job of weaving fact & fiction into a beautiful story I couldn't put down! I was afraid I might not like this one since I'm not a big fan of all-things Titanic but I should have known better! It is a must read!
Touching to the heart, and a sweet romance.
by Bonnie - reviewed on March 10, 2012
Passage on the Titanic is a story of two very courageous women, who both make decisions that lead them to life changing experiences. I was very touched to read this book. Anita did a fantastic job of bringing you into the tragedy, and you truly feel the pain of what those survivors had to see and go through. It's also an example of how horrible things can lead to truly beautiful endings. Amazing story, and well written - one of Anita's best, in my opinion.