Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan - A Book Review

One of the positive things about the pandemic is being able to attend virtual book events that have been developed in lieu of an author’s in-person book tour. One of my favourite events is the weekly Friends & Fiction livestreams on Facebook Live and Youtube. The show is hosted by five bestselling female authors who are long time friends who identified a need for authors and their readers to connect. It was during one of these events that I learned of a new book coming out from one of the group’s authors, Patti Callahan. This book is historical fiction and based on the true events of the steamship Pulaski (frequently dubbed as the Titanic of the South) which sank in 1838.

Plot Summary

Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to curate a collection of artifacts being recovered from the recently discovered Pulaski. While researching the disaster, she comes to learn of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together including two women - Augusta Longstreet and her niece Lilly Forsyth. Both of these aristocratic women were part of the Savannah society and each was faced with heartbreaking decisions to be made in the wake of the disaster.

Book Review

I really enjoyed the book and was captivated throughout. The themes of the book are the role of fate and the challenges of survivor’s guilt not only by those on the ship, but by Everly herself. Indeed the author has noted that fate has also had a role in her experience in learning about the Pulaski, researching the passengers and artifacts found, and finding the drive to see the book to its completion. The level of research that went into the writing of this book is evident. The characters are well developed and likeable. The flow of the parallel stories, each holding my interest, was excellent. I appreciated the inclusion of diversity of the characters which felt respectful to the original passengers of the Pulaski.

Audiobook Review

I listened to the audiobook version of this book which was performed by Brittany Pressley and Catherine Taber. These women gave an impressive performance, which was articulate and expressive. I found their voices to be believable and easy to listen to. Additionally, I appreciated listening to the author’s notes at the end of the book in her own voice which provided some interesting facts about the inspiration to write this book. I would not hesitate to recommend the audiobook version of this book to those that enjoy this format.

What I Liked About Surviving Savannah:
  • The character development with strong female protagonists
  • The obvious research in describing the ship, its passengers and artifacts recovered
  • The discussion about the challenges of surviving after tragedy

I Recommend This Book To:

Those readers that enjoy 19th century historical fiction.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5.

Add Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan to your Goodreads shelf

Similar Books I've Reviewed:

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick

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  1. Great review, Jodie! I too love the fact that I can join in on virtual events. I love in person events too but I definitely feel more drained that more I attend. I'm glad you enjoyed this book. Thank you for sharing x

    Lynn |

  2. Enjoyed the review. The story itself sounds intriguing. Thank you for sharing :0)

  3. You have written a very detailed review. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book. It reminds me I need to read more.

  4. Oh this sounds interesting! I've really tried to broaden my genres during lockdown so I'll add this to my wishlist! X

    1. That’s wonderful Alice Anne! I hope that you enjoy it!

  5. Oooh this sounds like an interesting read, I'm definitely going to add this to my list!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

  6. Oh I never heard of the Pulaski before, but I love reading historical fiction! Thank you for your great review, I will add it to my list x

  7. I have heard some amazing things about this book in several book reviews I have read in the past few months, but I LOVEd getting your thoughts on it as well! Surviving Savannah sounds like a story with the strength and courage I need. Bonus that it is historical. <3
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Fascinating story and a great review! I always enjoy novels set in historical periods and with interesting g heroines. Adding this to my to buy list.

  9. Wow! This sounds really interesting. I love a well-done historical fiction book.

  10. This sounds like a really nice book tho this is the first time I am hearing about it. I love the idea of attending a virtual event. You always give such detailed book reviews and I love that.

  11. Great review! I'm always looking out for good historical fiction novels and this sounds like a really interesting read.

  12. It's not easy to write about disaster stories, and the narration of the writer in her audio version is the best approach.

    I am glad that you are enjoying the virtual promotions of the books. As always, you picked another great read.

  13. This doesn't sound like a book I would usually have a go at reading, but the summary has intrigued me. I will have to have a look for it. Great review, and love that you include the audiobook part...something I haven't really listend to either!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  14. This definitely sounds like a book I'd enjoy. I'm adding it to my TBR! Thank you for sharing! x

  15. What a great review! I love parallel stories in novels. I'm pretty picky with historical fiction, but you've really caught my interest with this one!