That Fatal Night

The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton

Scholastic Canada
Hardcover | 176 Pages
ISBN: 0545980739
Reading age from 9 to 12

It is May 1912, one month after the horrific sinking of the Titanic, and twelve-year-old survivor Dorothy Wilton is sent home from school in disgrace when she strikes another student. Although she’s expelled, her sympathetic teacher encourages Dorothy to write an account of her experience on the ship, with the hopes that it will help Dorothy come to terms with her trauma.

And so begins a truly remarkable story, which reads like a time capsule of the era: Dorothy writes about visiting her bohemian grandparents in England before setting sail back home, the luxurious rooms and cabins on board, a new friend she makes, and the intriguing people they observe. However, amidst all of this storytelling, a shadow lurks, a secret Dorothy is too traumatized to acknowledge – a secret about her own actions on that fatal night, which may have had deadly consequences.

Through young Dorothy’s eyes, award-winning writer Sarah Ellis expertly takes a unique perspective on the Titanic tragedy, exploring the concept of survivor’s guilt with devastating honesty.

What do readers think?

'A story original, witty, playful, moving and rich with insight—wisdom, even. Dorothy's a girl with a very full mind, her observations piquant and memorable...Her sense of guilt is all the more potent for being woven so subtly into her story. Excellent fare.
-Toronto Star

Readers will be likely to devour the fact-filled, fascinating historical note Ellis provides at the end of her novel, with 12 pages of archival photos.

-The Montreal Gazette

Sarah Ellis is adept at getting into the minds of young girls, especially young girls with gumption, courage, and initiative...Dorothy is a memorable heroine and a gutsy girl learning how to cope with the unthinkable...That Fatal Night is a really good book—definitely better than the Hollywood movie! Highly Recommended.

-Canadian Review of Materials