by Terri Bey
In my last blog, "My Special Dining Experience at the 2021 Titanic Conference," I discussed eating food from the First Class Menu on the last night of the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. At the same conference, during the free time between speakers and the Thursday night get-together, I met Peggy Wirgau and her husband. Matt. I started talking to them and they were both very nice people. I saw that she had her book, "The Stars in April." I asked her what the book was about, as I had heard of it, but had forgotten the subject of the book. Mrs. Wirgau said that it was a novel about Titanic Second Class passenger and survivor Ruth Becker Blanchard when she was a 12-year-old girl traveling with her mother, little sister, and baby brother on the Titanic to America.
I told Mrs. Wirgau that I might pick up the book. Well, at the end of the conference, I got myself a signed copy.
I found "The Stars in April" by Peggy Wirgau to be a fantastic book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a Titanic enthusiast. The main character is 12-year-old Ruth Becker, who has to leave India for the United States with her mother, Nellie, and her sister, Marion because her baby brother, Richard became ill and would get better treatment. The reader discovers that Ruth is not happy about it, as she misses out on her chance to play her violin at an event that she was looking forward to playing and she has to leave her beloved father, Allen, and her friend, Sajni back in Indian where the family lived, as her father was a Lutheran minister.
Wirgau deftly tells this story of this 12-year-old girl who is just mad at the world. Wirgau takes the reader into Becker's mindset throughout Becker's trip. Becker is mad that her brother got sick. She is mad that she won't be able to play at the festival. Becker is mad that she has to take Marion everywhere. During the large part of this trip, Becker has a pity party.
However, Wirgau shows us how Becker's mindset begins to change when Becker meets all these different people. Becker meets a young boy and his father on the train. She meets the young boy again on another ship that takes them to Southampton, and the two get into a bit of mischief. Becker meets several people on the RMS Titanic. She runs into Second Officer Charles Lightoller. She walks the Pekingese dog, owned by Henry Sleeper Harper. Becker meets several Third Class Passengers. The reader learns that she is in Lifeboat 13, which also held the Caldwells. Becker goes from someone who feels sorry for herself to someone who starts to understand what is important in life.
While this book is a fictional novel, Peggy Wirgau tells a great story about a young girl who goes through a transformation. You watch Ruth Becker grow up before your eyes. What I really liked about the book was at the end of each chapter, the reader sees Becker's observation of the stars each night. I found that so interesting, as the night of the collision, there was no moon, just a night full of stars.
"The Stars in April" by Peggy Wirgau is also a great page-turner, as I wanted to know what was going to happen. I highly recommend it.
To purchase "The Stars in April" by Peggy Wirgau:
Peggy Wirgau's Website: The Stars In April — Peggy Wirgau